Flyers Edge Devils, Take 1-0 Series Lead

April 15th, 2010 No Comments

The Flyers were fortunate to escape the first period unscathed, as Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher— who has been the subject of much criticism— played well throughout the first period, stopping all nine shots he faced.

Heaven only knows what Flyers coach Laviolette said to his troops during the first intermission; whatever he said seemed to work wonders as the Flyers played a spirited second period notching two goals from defenseman Chris Pronger and Captain Mike Richards— who launched a beautiful slap shot that eluded Brodeur en route to the glove hand side top corner. The Flyers emerged from the second period with a 2-0 lead— sometimes you gotta be lucky to be good, on this occassion the Flyers were lucky!

New Jersey forward Travis Zajac blasted a slap shot past Brian Boucher at 17:17 of the third period, giving the Devils some hope down the stretch that they could tie the game.

In the end Zajac’s goal was not enough as the Devils succumbed to the Flyers by a 2-1 margin, this despite the Devils excellent defensive effort.

For everything the Flyers did right—mainly timely goals and good goaltending from Boucher— there was plenty of wrong doings. The Devils limited the Flyers to just two shots in the third period, which, when combined with the Orange and Blacks four shot effort in the first, is alarming.

It’s tough to argue with the results, but one has to believe if the Flyers are going to win this series they will have to apply more pressure to the Devils and get a lot more traffic in front of Marty Brodeur— who was adequate, but not dominating in between the pipes.

The Devils big guns didn’t score, but they did apply plenty of pressure on Boucher. Zach Parise led the Devils with five shots, followed by Ilya Kovalchuk and Zajac with four apiece.

Comparatively, the Flyers were led by two defensemen, Kimmo Timonen and Oskars Bartulis, who registered four shots each. The Flyers had four forwards with two shots apiece, including Mike Richards, Simon Gagne— collectively the forwards will need to be better.

The Flyers easily handled the Devils during the regular season posting a 5-1 record, clearly they will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the series, even if I did doubt them coming into tonight’s game.

In other Eastern Conference Playoff action the Pittsburgh Penguins were upset by the Ottawa Senators by a score of 5-4.

Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby had three assists in the contest while fellow superstar Evgeni Malkin scored two goals. In the end, it was the mediocre play of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury that was the biggest difference, giving up five goals on just 26 shots.

The Senators got huge contributions from Chris Kelly (one goal, two assists), Erik Karlsson and Chris Neil (one goal, one assist), with pesky forward Jarkko Ruutu netting the winning goal at 9:40 of the third period.

For more NHL news and notes check out my website at www.theslapshot.com

Until next time,

Peace!

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