Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On to the second round! Flyers dominate Sabres in Game 7

Two things plagued the Flyers in their first round series against the Sabres: goaltending and the power play. Flyers fans have argued throughout the course of the series as to which has been more at fault as the team struggled against a scrappy but ultimately inferior Sabres team. Was it the rotating mess of goaltenders that seemed to be following each good performance with a terrible one? Or, was it the power play, which was scoring at a 9.7% clip in the first six games of the series? Fortunately, in Game 7, neither was an issue as the Flyers dominated the Sabres, 5-2, and have now moved on to the second round of the playoffs.

The Flyers jumped on the Sabres early, thoroughly controlling the play throughout the entire first period and outshot Buffalo 16-2. Ryan Miller looked solid in net for Buffalo, however, and turned aside everything the Flyers tossed his way until Braydon Coburn scored with just under 20 seconds left in the first. The second period was more of the same for the Flyers as they continued to dominate play and even managed to score a pair of power play goals to bust the lead wide open. While the Sabres did manage to rob the Flyers of their first shutout of the season with two 3rd period goals, Philly was in complete control the whole time and finally showed why they were one of the best teams in hockey for most of the regular season.

Of course, it helped that the Flyers got some steady goaltending for once, with Brian Boucher playing above average in net. While Boosh didn't have a particularly busy night, he did make the necessary saves to keep the Sabres from making a comeback and finished with 26 saves. The defense, aided by Chris Pronger playing full-time, also was much stronger in front of him, minimizing the need for Boucher to have to stand on his head. There is no question that Boucher will be the goaltender for the Flyers going forward, let's just hope he doesn't have another meltdown like he did in Game 5. Even if he does, I would expect Peter Laviolette to give him a longer leash rather than play goaltender roulette again.

For the second year in a row, the Flyers have moved on to the second round. They now must wait to find out their opponent, which could be either the Bruins if they beat the Canadiens in their series or the Lightning/Penguins series winner if the Canadiens win. No matter who they face, the Flyers have to feel confident that they can beat anyone if they play like they did in Game 7 against the Sabres. Based on their play in Game 7, all the Flyers really need is solid goaltending and a power play goal or two and they should do just fine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gotta Love the Flyers!! Way to go guys!!