Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Penguins, Fleury push Flyers to the brink of elimination

(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
The NHL playoffs are all about goaltending. The team that has the hottest goaltender always wins, no matter how well the other teams plays. Such was the case tonight as the Flyers completely outplayed the Penguins, yet lost 3-1 because Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stood on his head all night. The loss pushes the Flyers to a 3-1 series hole and puts them in a near impossible uphill climb.

The Flyers out shot the Penguins 46-26 and had 8 power play chances but just couldn't get anything past Fleury. After a scoreless first period, Pittsburgh scored two goals (one of them a very questionable goal by Sidney Crosby) in the second and then sat back and let the Flyers attack. The Flyers were finally able to solve Fleury midway through the third period when Dan Carcillo notched a rare goal which brought the fans out of their seats for the remainder of the game. The Flyers had chance after chance as time ticked away but couldn't get anything past Fleury and eventually gave up an empty net goal that iced the game.

This loss likely signals the end of the Flyers season. There is little chance the Flyers can win three straight games against a Penguins team that is so evenly matched with Philly. On top of that, two of the last three games are in Pittsburgh, so the Flyers are basically toast. It will be a disappointing quick exit out of the playoffs for the Flyers, especially after the run they made last season. I will write more later in the offseason about what changes the Flyers should make, but it's clear that they need to do something to shake up this inconsistent group.

For today, however, tip your cap to Marc-Andre Fleury. As much as we all hate him, he had a tremendous game for the Penguins. There really wasn't anything the Flyers could have done to change the outcome of Game Four.

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