Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flyers On Thin Ice?

It seems as though of late that Philadelphia sports has come out on the short end of the stick in what otherwise are great games.  On Sunday night the Phillies were in an epic extra inning pitchers duel with the Mets, in witch Patriotic chants of “U-S-A...U-S-A” rang out for two innings after the news of Osama Bin Laden’s demise spread throughout the stadium.  An overall great game for baseball fans and American Patriots that would’ve been even better if the end result was a Phillies win instead of a 14th inning loss.  For some reason the unpredictable bounces and funny things that happen in sports just don’t seem to be going Philadelphia’s way right now. 

Monday night's 3-2 overtime Flyers loss to the Bruins was a great game for hockey fans and especially Bruins fans but again the Flyers came out on the wrong side.  After a goose bump causing rendition of God Bless America the Flyers came out in the first period like a team on a mission.  James van Riemsdyk got the Flyers on the board with a goal just 29 seconds into the game.  He later scored again about half way through the first giving the Flyers an early 2-0 lead. 

It seemed as though the Flyers were going to return the favor of the game one trouncing by the Bruins but the wheels soon fell off.  Buffalo answered right back with goals from Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand to tie the game at 2 a piece after the 1st.  Things calmed down after that and the next goal scored would not come until overtime.

The Flyers had their chances, 54 of them to be exact.  While the Flyers goalies in game one never got the memo about stopping shots, the Bruins Tim Thomas put on a clinic that Flyers goalies should be studying today.  The Flyers must have felt as though they were shooting at a tea cup being covered by an ogre because Thomas stopped 52 of the 54 shots and had a little bit of luck on his side. 

The bounces’ not going Philly’s way was never more obvious then at the very end of the third period.  With 4.2 seconds to go the Flyers had a faceoff in Boston’s zone.  They won the faceoff and a shot was quickly fired that bounced off of Thomas and landed right in front of Danny Briere.  Instead of a wide open game winning goal for the history books, Briere looked like Raul Ibanez trying to hit a pitch…any pitch.  The puck went under the stick of Briere and Thomas was knocked over by the stiff breeze of the missed shot as the horn sounded.  At that point all of the energy left the building and after a Flyers playoff record 22 shots on goal in the third, the game was headed to overtime.

In overtime the Flyers continued to pound at the great wall of Tim to no avail.  They fired 10 shots at Thomas in the period but the Bruins only needed 5 to end the game.  David Krejci fired a shot over the right shoulder of Brian Boucher that must have been so good that the referees didn’t even know it had gone into the net.  Boucher knew it right away and at the next whistle a great hockey game came to a very uneventful end.

The Flyers have been down this road before, but this is not last year.  They are not the underdogs with little expectations of a year ago.  They are the two seed and were the best team in hockey for most of the season.  Maybe the expectations are taking their toll or maybe lady luck just hasn’t been on their side.  Either way they better figure it out and find an answer fast.  Maybe a rabbit’s foot or a horseshoe would be of some assistance heading to Boston, if not this series will end quickly, just not the way we all thought it would. 

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