It's not about heart. It's not about effort. It's not about determination. It's not about any of these intangibles that we so often cite when complaining about the 2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers.
No, over the last few weeks, and really, since Peter Laviolette has been coach of this team, the Flyers have displayed plenty of heart. They've fought through plenty of adversity. They've put forth more effort than any of us could ever ask for. Try telling Ian Laperriere that the Flyers don't have any heart.
That hasn't been the problem over the last several months, it hasn't been the problem in this series with the Boston Bruins, and it wasn't the problem in Game 3, either. Instead, the Flyers are plagued by a lack of depth. They're playing a team that frustrates the hell out of you by trapping and getting in the passing lanes.
The orange and black aren't doing a good enough job of getting traffic in front of Tuukka Rask, but besides that, there's really not much more they can do. The Bruins are just absolutely stifling on defense and they capitalize on every single bounce in the other direction.
All four of their goals tonight were the result of lucky bounces, in fact. They don't generate a ton of offense themselves -- attempted shots were 71-31 in favor of the Flyers, while shots on goal were 35-20 in favor of Philadelphia -- but the Bruins just limit those chances so well that not many of them are quality. It's tough to counter that, and more importantly, it's this aspect of their game that makes them so frustrating to play against from behind. It's a cycle...
- The Flyers control the play in the Bruins end.
- Boston keeps the Flyers to the outside while clogging the middle and blocking shots from the point, eliminating any quality scoring chances.
- They gobble the puck up in the box and push out from there. When the Flyers make a mistake in transition, they're there to capitalize and score.
- The Flyers get frustrated, try to press to hard, and thus make even more mistakes.
- Lather, rinse, repeat.
Couple this with the fact that the Flyers are without three big time players and it's a recipe for disaster. But is there hope for the Flyers? Well, the last team to win a series after being down 0-3 were the 1975 New York Islanders, so don't look there. But David Krejci left the game tonight and didn't return as did Adam McQuaid (I always want to call him Dennis). Marco Sturm, Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart are also out for Boston. They're hurting, too.
If the Flyers can get a lead and bear down a little bit on defense (re: not make mistakes and hold onto the puck), the Bruins aren't a team that can run and gun and come back on you. If you get the lead, the Bruins suddenly won't look so stifling.
Is it far fetched that the Flyers will come back? Of course it is. But that doesn't mean we should be giving up. The season isn't over yet, so let's get behind the team and root for them until it is, whether that's Friday, next week, or next month. After the jump, questions with answers and the comment of the night.
Questions with Answers
- The Flyers need to score first. They need to control play from the start. Do they? They did, but two quick mistakes led to a quick Bruins surge, allowing Boston to run things from then on.
- Does Peter Laviolette overuse his top guys again tonight? He did, but he really doesn't have much of a choice.
- How much does having the last change help the Flyers? It didn't.
- Can the power play improve tonight? Nope.
- Can the Flyers win a few faceoffs tonight? Lost 'em 33-21 tonight.
- Any blow back from the Savard-Carcillo crap in Game 2? Not even a mention.
Comment of the Night
All those fans leaving is embarrassing.
>> Ben Feldman