Saturday, April 25, 2009

Flyers blow three goal lead, get eliminated by Penguins

(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Talk about a game with a roller coaster of emotions. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period of Game 6, it looked like a given that the Flyers would be forcing a Game 7 against the Penguins back in Pittsburgh. But, from the moment the Flyers got that three goal lead, the Penguins took over the game, scoring five unanswered goals to earn a 5-3 victory that eliminated the Flyers from the playoffs.

The entire game seemed to turned shortly after Daniel Carcillo fought Maxime Talbot in the second period. The fight happened just 15 seconds after the Flyers scored their third goal and it worked like a charm to fire up the Penguins, who scored 14 seconds after the scrap. From that point on, it was all Penguins, who attacked the Flyers relentlessly, getting several power play chances and eventually tying up the game before the second period was over.

The Penguins had all the momentum in the third period and got an early goal to break the tie and never looked back. The Flyers tried to rally back into the game and had several good opportunities but the Marc-Andre Fleury from Game Four showed up and stood on his head to keep the Flyers at bay. Philly threw everything they could at Fleury but he remained calm and turned aside every attack.

The Flyers looked to have the game won when they jumped out to a 3-0 lead after goals by Mike Knuble, Joffrey Lupul and Danny Briere. The big lead had the stadium jumping and the Flyers buzzing, but the Penguins kicked things into another gear from that point forward. It's difficult to say if the Flyers let up at all with the lead but they certainly weren't playing with as much desperation as they were at the beginning of the game.

So ends another Flyers season at the hand of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I will have more to say about what possible changes they should make in the offseason at a later time, but it is safe to say that this season was a disappointment. When you have a young team like the Flyers who went to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, you expect them to build on that and go at least as far in the playoffs and maybe get to the Stanley Cup Finals. Instead, the Flyers were up and down all year, completely lacking consistency, and that cost them a higher seed in the playoffs and therefore an easier first round opponent. The Flyers also blew it in the last game of the season when they failed to wrap up home-ice advantage over these Penguins.

Another year, another disappointment for Flyers fans. Philly still has a tremendous nucleus of players, so if they can just add another defenseman and figure out what to do in goal, they will still have an opportunity to contend for the Cup for the next few years. Not a bad season by the Flyers, but it's fair to expect much more in the future.

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