Sunday, April 24, 2011

Flyers overcome shaky goaltending to force Game 7

Well that was on hell of an Easter. After wins earlier in the day by the Sixers and Phillies, the Flyers followed suit by overcoming a terrible start in Game 6 to beat the Sabres, 5-4, in overtime. The win keeps the Flyers alive and brings the series back to Philadelphia for a do-or-die Game 7.

The Flyers went with Michael Leighton in goal for Game 6 and it quickly proved to be the wrong decision as he allowed 3 goals on just 8 shots in the first period. While the Flyers did manage one goal in the first period, they still found themselves in a 3-1 hole and forced to turn to Brian Boucher, the goat of their Game 5 loss.

Luckily, Boucher was up to the task, bouncing back nicely as he stopped 24 of the 25 shots he saw, including several huge saves that would have given the Sabres a two goal lead in the third period. With Boucher locking things down, the Flyers offense proceeded to peck away at the Sabres lead until Scott Hartnell tied the game halfway through the 3rd period.

The hero in overtime for the Flyers was Ville Leino, who punched a rebound past Ryan Miller for the game winner. Thankfully, Leino's goal was early on in the period and it spared us from the heart attacks that come from a prolonged overtime game when elimination is on the line.

The Flyers proved, once again, that they are a resilient hockey team. No goaltending is too terrible and no deficit is too great for this team to overcome. Why they have to keep making things so difficult for themselves is beyond me but at least they have the ability to find another gear when the chips are down. With the series shifting back to Philly for Game 7, the Flyers have a chance to prove that they really are the better team in the series. With Peter Laviolette already announcing that Boucher will be the starter in Game 7, hopefully the Flyers get the goaltending that allows them to prove it.

Could you have asked for a better Easter, Philly Sports fans? Last year, Donovan McNabb was shipped out of town on Easter. This year, every team in the city won. I'd call it an Easter miracle.

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