Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 1 -- Boston leads series, 1-0
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PHILADELPHIA -- Peter Laviolette is a very good hockey coach. Without him, the Flyers do not make the Stanley Cup Final last year and they're likely not the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference this season. Hell, without him, there's a very good chance that the Flyers could be a completely different team -- broken up by management after a horrible 2009-10 season.
At the same time, some of the moves Laviolette has made in this postseason have been questionable at best, mind-numbing and liable to induce mass balcony-jumping at worst. They started with some of the reactionary goaltending switches in the Conference Quarterfinals against Buffalo, and they've continued into the Conference Semifinals against Boston with odd match-up decisions.
For most of the game, if not all of it, Laviolette opted to match the Flyers best scoring line up with the Bruins top scoring line. That might sound like it makes sense, but considering Ville Leino, Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell are generally terrible at defense, it left plenty of room for the David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic to do substantial damage without having to go against their toughest defensive trio -- Mike Richards, Kris Versteeg and Dan Carcillo.
Add that to the fact that the Bruins top defensive pairing of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg -- the only truly dominate defensive pairing Claude Julien has at his disposal -- was able to match-up with the Briere line and it just adds to the confusion. Oh, and as a cherry on top, Zac Rinaldo played today. He was on the ice for a defensive zone face off with Blair Betts and Darroll Powe. Guess how long it took the Bruins to score off that face off.
There's no excuse for matchup issues on home ice. It's a huge part of the home ice advantage that you play all year for, which the Flyers quickly pissed away in just a few hours here today. Let's not place all the blame on Laviolette, of course. The players deserve a lot of it for, frankly, playing like utter crap.
From Brian Boucher to just about every defenseman (okay, they were all atrocious) to most of the forwards to the coaching staff to the pathetic fans who seemed more interested in the gum on the floor than actually cheering on their team, it was a day to forget at Wells Fargo Center.
The Bruins lead the series, 1-0, and we'd better hope a different Flyers team shows up on Monday night for Game 2.
- Sergei Bobrovsky played today. Don't try to analyze his play because by the time he was involved, the game was all but over.
- Actually, the Flyers had a glimpse of hope when Mike Richards scored on the power play at the 13:02 mark of the third, cutting the Boston lead to 5-3. But a little less than two minutes later, a crazy bounce wound up hitting the stick of Brad Marchand. Back of the net, ball game over.
- The game wasn't really Boucher's fault, despite the fact that every single pundit on the face of the hockey planet will be making HAHA FLYERS GOALTENDING jokes tonight, tomorrow and for the rest of time. The third goal was probably his fault, but his defense was freakin' atrocious at clearing rebounds, picking up Bruins in front of the net and doing all the other things that defensemen are supposed to do.
- There are a million reasons the Flyers lost today, and picking out one player is not constructive. The entire team was absolutely horrible. No other way to put it.
- That said, Rinaldo needs to never play a game in these playoffs again. He's completely useless.
- The Bruins power play lived up to the hype. It's unbelievably bad. Then again, the Flyers aren't much better in that department.
- The Flyers are 0-6 all time in Game 1's vs. Boston. This is just par for the course. The Flyers have won three of the previous five series, including last year's comeback and the 1974 Stanley Cup Final.
Post-Game Video: Mike Richards
Post-Game Video: Brian Boucher
Post-Game Video: Kimmo Timonen
Post-Game Video: Claude Giroux
Post-Game Video: Peter Laviolette
Questions with Answers
- The Flyers flew out of the gate in Game 7 on Tuesday after slow starts in many of the other games in the ECQF. Can they get out to a strong start in Game 1? Shut up with your stupid questions.
- The Bruins top line of Lucic, Krejci and Horton was atrocious in the first round, save two OT goals from Horton. Can the Flyers successfully keep them down and out to start this series? lol
- Brian Boucher was solid for all but about three minutes against the Sabres in Round 1. More of the same? Nope.
- Both teams have had horrible power plays in the playoffs so far. Are there any signs to the contrary today? Nah, they're both still complete jokes.
- Can the Flyers get to Tim Thomas successfully, or does he look just as scary (or scarier) as Ryan Miller did for Buffalo? Thomas was beatable. Brilliant on a few saves, but he looked closer to Drew Carey than Jesus.
Comment of the Night
Silver lining: We got 3 pucks past Tim Thomas
>> Justin F.