Saturday, May 1, 2010

Flyers fall to Bruins in OT after comeback

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
If only that first period never happened there would have been a totally different outcome to Game One of the Flyers/Bruins series. As it was, Marc Savard of the Bruins, in his first game since early March, scored the game winning goal in overtime to knock off the Flyers, 5-4, and give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the series. Those facts don't nearly tell the story of the game, however.

Whether it was being rusty from the long layoff or simply that the Bruins outworked them, the first period was an ugly one for the Flyers as Boston controlled the puck and the pace of the play for the first 20 minutes. It was pretty clear from the beginning that the Bruins were much better than the Devils and the Flyers were pretty fortunate to emerge from the first period only down 2-0.

From that point forward, however, the Flyers were the better team as they fought their way back to a one goal deficit late in the third period. Not only did they figure out how to get the puck past Tuukka Rask, the Flyers also solved the Bruins penalty kill, which had been perfect in the playoffs, by scoring a pair of power play goals. Then, late in the third period, Danny Briere had one of the biggest goals of his career as went coast to coast, splitting two defensemen and firing his own rebound past Rask to tie the game late in the third period and complete the Flyers comeback:

The game then went on to a very entertaining overtime as the teams traded chances and Brian Boucher and Rask traded big saves. Eventually, Savard won the game for the Bruins after a lengthy attack in the offensive zone. After a few mishandles and several failed attempts at clearing the puck, you knew that the Bruins were going to get the game winner and there was nothing Boucher or the tired Flyers players on the ice could do.

While the loss may have been initially deflating for the Flyers and their fans, it's important to look at the bigger picture. After clearing out the cobwebs in the first period, the Flyers played their game, getting physical with the Bruins and slowing down the pace of play. They really should be commended for even making this one a game after it looked like Boston was going to blow them out of the building in the first period. The fact that the Flyers also had answers for the two biggest strengths of the Bruins, their goaltending and their penalty kill, should bode well for the Flyers chances of winning the series.

After an entertaining Game One, there is reason to be excited about this series. These are two physical, evenly matched teams that can score a variety of different ways. If this game was just the appetizer, I can't wait to see what's in store for the remaining games. The Flyers just have to make sure they don't play another stretch like the first period in this one and they should be in excellent shape.

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