There are a lot of players to blame for the current 0-3 series hole the Flyers face in this postseason, but in my eyes, one player who has escaped a lot of the blame has been defenseman Matt Carle.
He's, quite simply, made a ton of defensive mistakes in this series, and with Chris Pronger out of the lineup, he's one guy that absolutely needs to step up.Let's quickly scan through the goals against in the Boston series. Two minutes into Game 1, David Krejci got rid of his first-round woes by escaping his defender, Carle, right in front of the crease.
From that point, the Bruins never looked back and cruised to a 7-3 victory. It wasn't really over, though, once Mike Richards brought the lead down to two with over 10 minutes remaining in the third. Well, until Brad Marchand scored just a few minutes after Richards.
Carle has the puck on his stick in the circle after Chris Pronger taps it out of danger and to his teammate, but he allowed Patrice Bergeron to pick it off and toss it down low to Marchand, who scores a relatively easy goal.
It should've been a simple clear, but it turned into the dagger in Game 1 for the Flyers.
In Game 2, it's hard to blame Carle directly for any of the three Bruins goals scored, but really, that's a game where just about every Flyer played well enough to win. Nobody was really at fault for the loss in that one except for Tim Thomas.
But Game 3. Yes, Game 3 was a nightmare. And Carle was right in the center of it. The first goal, Chara's giant blast from what seemed like four feet away, was all Kris Versteeg's fault if you ask me. He floated down low and left Chara wide open for the shot, and once he tees up from that close, nobody is going to stop it.
The second goal, just 63 seconds after Chara's, was extremely similar to the Krejci goal in Game 1. Carle just gets owned in front of the goal.
We know all about Game 3's third goal. The Flyers had been pressing for a while, and a bad decision in the offensive zone by Danny Syvret led to a three-on-two rush. The Bruins capitalized and crushed the Flyers chances in the process. And the fourth one... well, all Brian Boucher, really.
These are three extremely big goals. Sure, maybe it's unfair to pick just three goals out of 15 scored against in the series and say YOU NEED TO BE BETTER. But look at when they happened. The first one is two minutes into the series, and given that it was Krejci, who had a horrible first round, it really seemed to set the tone, didn't it?
The second one we highlighted came at a horrible time in that third period. The Flyers were still down by two in the at that point, but after Richards scored that goal on the power play, there was a feeling of optimism in the crowd and on the team. You could sense it in the building. And then Carle makes a mental error and it's all gone.
And the Game 3 goal... well, we don't even need to say why that one was big. The second goal against in 63 seconds? Not the time to let a guy beat you so badly right in front of the crease.
I don't do this to pick on Matt Carle or anything, especially since it's been a completely horrible defensive effort from the entire unit, including the goaltenders, that have led to this hole in the series.
But Carle's stuck out to me a ton in this series (and in the Buffalo series, too), and with Pronger out, he's really the one guy the Flyers need to step up and put in solid, mistake-free minutes. In my opinion, at least.
He needs a big game in Game 4.