Monday, May 31, 2010

Niemi turns Flyers aside in Game 2

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Sometimes you can do just about everything right in hockey and simply get beat by a red-hot goaltender. While the Flyers weren't perfet in Game 2, they showed quite an improvement over their play Game 1 yet it wasn't enough to beat Antii Niemi and the Blackhawks, who won 2-1. The loss puts the Flyers in a 2-0 hole in the Stanley Cup Finals, a disappointing circumstance but nothing the Flyers aren't equipped to fight their way out of (see: Round 2 vs. Boston).

Niemi was the story in Game 2, stopping 33 of the 34 shots he faced. While he was solid all game long, Niemi came up huge in the third period as he stopped 15 shots when the Flyers kicked things into high gear in an attempt to tie the game. When a goaltender is seeing the puck as well as Niemi was tonight, it usually takes some kind of funny bounce or crazy play to get a goal, something the Flyers only managed once on the power play when Simon Gagne buried a bouncing puck.

The Flyers now come home to Philly staring a two game deficit in the face. Many of the same things that were said in the Boston series apply here as well: nothing is done yet, the Flyers just have to protect their home ice, Game 3 becomes a must win, etc. While we can all point to the Bruins series as evidence that the Flyers are never out of it until they actually lose 4 games in a series, it's easier said than done for them to come back against this very solid Blackhawks team. Not to take anything away from their amazing comeback but Boston didn't have the firepower or the defensive prowess that the Blackhawks possess, making getting back into this series an extremely difficult task.

Not that it can't be done. The Flyers have shown us time and time again that they will not go down easily. Given how close the first two games have been, there is no reason anyone should lose faith in the Flyers. All they need is a few good bounces and the best fans in hockey to get behind them in Game 3 to turn the momentum of the series back in their favor. Winning 4 out of the next 5 sounds daunting when you look at the big picture but you can bet the Flyers will be taking it one game at a time. Besides, when you've overcome an 0-3 deficit, an 0-2 deficit is almost laughable.

Keep the faith, Flyers fans. I guarantee you this team isn't even close to giving up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Carcillo hit on Carter will be the definition of this series.