Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 2
#5 Philadelphia Flyers at #4 Pittsburgh Penguins
Flyers trail best-of-seven series, 1-0
Mellon Arena - 7:00 PM EDT - Pittsburgh, PA
TV: CSN HD, Versus HD, CBC, RDS, FSN Pittsburgh
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 206
Behind Enemy Lines: Pensburgh
For the last 36 hours or so, we've talked nonstop about the Flyers failure to show up in Game 1. We know that they played like utter crap and we know that if they play like that again, we might not even get a Game 5 in this series. They seem to know that they sucked too, unlike down the stretch of the season where they thought they were playing well enough to win.
Well, at least they're talking like it. If they put show up to Mellon Arena tonight and put their money where their mouths are -- if they come out with intensity, if they cut back on the penalties, if they play Flyer hockey -- this is a series again. In fact, if they win tonight they eliminate the home ice edge the Pens currently hold and the face of this series is completely changed as we head home to Philadelphia on Sunday.
Those are a lot of ifs, though.
There is a lot of work to be done. They cannot flip a switch and take over the series. Pittsburgh still has the momentum that they have rightfully earned, and the Flyers need to earn the right to take control of it themselves. There won't be any favors, starting with the roster, which could be a bit short.
Kimmo Timonen will play. At least he better, it's the damn playoffs. He suffered in Game 1 from a charley horse he received in the games' first minutes and a rest day yesterday should help him, but he might not be at 100 percent. Also, tough guy Daniel Carcillo won't be in the lineup after the NHL suspended him for his actions in the final minute of Game 1. That doesn't really matter though, considering Carcillo in a Flyer uniform makes Ronald McDonald look like an offensive threat.
In fact, Carcillo's absence could bring a boost to the Flyers. Luca Sbisa will take his spot on the roster in Game 2, and given that Sbisa can play (well) both up front and, obviously, his natural position on the blueline, he could be a valuable tool in John Stevens' arsenal.
I'm going to repost a paragraph from the preview of Game 1 because it's still completely, 100 percent relevant.
If the Flyers want to win this game, and consequently the series, they cannot allow themselves to fall behind the eight ball right off the bat as they have done so many times this season.
That means attacking the Penguins for every puck. That means physically abusing every single player in black and gold. That means playing smart. That means playing relentless Flyer hockey wire-to-wire.
Do it, Flyers. It's time to execute. This is a must win game, no exceptions.
We're collaborating on the game thread again tonight with the folks over at Pensburgh. If you missed out on Wednesday night, just come by here at game time and we'll point you in the right direction.