Stanley Cup Playoffs: Devils Even Series Vs. Flyers at 1-1

April 17th, 2010 1 Comment

Entering last night’s tilt between the Philadelphia Flyers the New Jersey Devils must have been aware of the fact that the Flyers were 16-0 all-time when leading a series by a 2-0 margin. If history means anything in the playoffs a loss against the Orange and Black would have meant doom and gloom for the Devils and their fans.

Fortunately, the Devils and their fans won’t have to worry about such statistics as the Devils were able to parlay their physical play and skill into a win, downing the Flyers by a 5-3 margin, evening the series at 1-1  in the process.

The Devils would emerge with the win and all three star selections with Zanius Zubrus emerging with first star honors, followed by Patrick Elias (who had three assists on the night) and Zach Parise (who was a player to be reckoned with all night).

Now, let’s not get carried away here. Last night’s 5-3 score is hardly representative of how the game went, in fact, the match was extremely close. In fact,  the Flyers almost pulled out the win as tghey benefited by some horrible refereeing which saw the Devils take a total of nine penalties in the game, including five second period trips to the box, many of which were questionable calls at best.

The Devils played a spirited game against the Flyers; highlighted by New Jersey Devils star forward Ilya Kovalchuk practically begging rugged Flyers forward Mike Richards to a fight after Kovalchuk retaliated on a harmless slash he received from Richards.

To his credit, Richards declined, opting to take the power play opportunity that had presented itself. The Flyers failed to score on the ensuing power play, that said, Kovalchuk’s actions were an act of stupidity and could have cost his team large.

Kovalchuk, who put the final dagger in the Flyers hearts when he scored an empty net goal at 19:27 of the third period, will need to find a way to keep his emotions in check if he is to be successful in the series. I mean, since when is Kovalchuk a tough guy anyways?

Devils leading scorer Zach Parise had a spirited game, opening the scoring on a short handed goal on the Flyers first power play opportunity of the game at 02:45 of the first period and adding a key assist on Danius Zubrus’ game winner at 15:56 of the third period, a goal which was a direct result of the Devils incredible cycling of the puck, of which, Parise was a key contributor.

For their part, the Flyers took full advantage of their power play opportunities, scoring twice, including defenseman Chris Pronger’s power play marker, which knotted the teams at three goals apiece late in the second period.

That said, the Orange and Black left five opportunities on the table and the short handed goal was a killer. Overall, much like the Devils, the Flyers played a physical game and were the better of the two teams in respect to staying disciplined. Who’d a thunk that?

In between the pipes Devils netminder Martin Brodeur played well enough to win the match, coming up with some key saves on the penalty kill, but he didn’t steal the game for the Devils and seems to be off his game a bit. Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher was a mixed bag, stopping 14 of 16 second period shots, but coming up short on a few occasions.

Given their game one win, the Flyers got the split they needed, which puts them in a good position heading home to the Wachovia Center Sunday. For the Devils, their game two win sent a couple of messages to the Flyers: the Devils will not be pushed around and the Devils will not roll over for the Flyers. Fact is, if either one of these teams wants this series they will have to earn it, which means my prediction that the Flyers were going to get “fisted” by the Devils was a bit premature.

The Flyers took full advantage of their power play opportunities, scoring twice, including defenseman Chris Pronger’s power play marker, which knotted the teams at three goals apiece late in the second period.

I think it’s safe to say that this series is looking more and more like a seven game marathon, that is unless Marty Brodeur shows up, which is looking more and more doubtful by the minute.

Strap yourselves in Devils and Flyers fans; this is going to be one heck of a series!

Until next time,


1 Comment

  1. For all winning hockey picks

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