Kukla's Korner Hockey
Don Cherry says the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia series is over…
Watch ‘Grapes’ on ESPN below…
from Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
After beating the Penguins five times out of eight—and four of four at home—in the regular season, after getting past scoring machine Alex Ovechkin and Washington in the first round, after knocking off top-seeded Montreal in the second round, they have no answers against the Penguins.
At least that seemed to be the prevailing emotion after Philadelphia dug a hole that precedent suggests it will have a difficult time climbing out of.
“I don’t know if I completely have an explanation right now,” winger Joffrey Lupul said after the Penguins trapped, clogged the neutral zone and stifled the Flyers, 4-1.
“We didn’t get many chances, and when we did, we missed the net or they blocked shots. We’re working. We’re in there. We’re skating. But they’re just doing a good job defensively.”
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The Flyers asked the question 20,000 times on the 20,000 orange T-shirts they gave their fans last night.
The Pittsburgh Penguins answered it just once.
“Why not us?”
Because the Penguins are better.
The Flyers’ season is not over, of course. But after falling behind three games to none, the outcome of this best-of-seven series is no longer in doubt. Miracles happen. Four miracles in a row do not, at least not against these Penguins.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers were without their top two defencemen last night, but it was their offence that was missing in action.
The Flyers mustered only 18 shots on goal in a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that gave the Penguins a 3-0 lead in the NHL’s Eastern Conference final.
From the CP via TSN,
Much has been said and written about Evgeni Malkin’s superb play when Sidney Crosby went down with injury this season.
But it also should not be forgotten that the Pittsburgh Penguins, nearing a Stanley Cup final berth, may not even be here had it not been for how Ty Conklin stepped in for the injured Marc-Andre Fleury this season.
“Him and Gino, it was probably a coin flip to see who is our MVP this year,” defenceman Brooks Orpik said after Tuesday’s pre-game skate. “Without one of those two guys, we probably would have not made the playoffs. They were instrumental.”
An interview with Philadelphia Flyers coach John Stevens.
Q. What can you do to get Prospal going? Have you thought even of changing the wingers on Danny’s line?
COACH STEVENS: Well, I think as a coach, you look at all situations. But to me that line has had times this year where they’ve had a lot of success. The ingredients are there. To me, it’s just in the hands of the player right now. We need Vinny to step up and be a good player for us.
Stamford, CONN. (May 13, 2008)—VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the NHL and the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, garnered a 1.7 National HH rating for its telecast of the Flyers/Penguins Game 2 Conference Final round match-up on Sunday, May 11. It was the most-watched telecast ever in network history among total viewers (2,345,834) and the highest rated and the most-watched NHL telecast ever on the network.
Viewership for the May 11 telecast topped the previous record set during the 2008 Conference Semifinal round with Game 4 of the Rangers/Penguins series on May 1 (1,184,519 total viewers) and the rating surpassed the previous high (1.1) set during the 2006 Conference Final round with Game 7 of the Buffalo/Carolina series.
Maybe not, but according to this poll at Philly.com (via Pensblog) they’re certainly not feeling very optimistic, either:
Update 12:28pm ET: From CBC, the fans will be a factor…
We’re talking the 19,000-plus wacko Philly fans in the stands, considered by everyone the toughest in all of sports. If those folks can intimidate the 2-0 Penguins just a little, it might be enough to crawl back into this Eastern Conference final.
“I would say it’s a pretty tough place to play,” said Penguins star Sydney Crosby, after a light skate on Monday. “At the same time, in the playoffs it makes for a great atmosphere. They’re just a tough crowd. They’re not afraid to say anything.”
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Given the distain the locals here hold for young Sidney, the sight of his old man wandering through the stands during Game 3 tonight would provide easy fodder for the Philly Phanatics who already refer to Crosby as “Number Hatey-Seven.”
Yet while the majority of boos will be reserved for Crosby when the Pittsburgh captain shows up, count on there being a few aimed at Daniel Briere if he does not.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
It doesn’t make for as catchy a slogan as “Vengeance Now” - the Flyers’ declaration of war on an NHL that thumped them mercilessly last season. It just makes sense tonight.
The Flyers can busy themselves trying to get square with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin for his cheap-shot-from-behind elbow to Danny Briere’s head, or they can busy themselves trying to keep their hope alive by winning Game 3.
They can’t do both.
“We’re in no position to go after retribution,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. “We need to win games.”
added 7:17am, also from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
“We played better in Game 2 than Game 1, but we need to play better to have success against Pittsburgh,” Flyers coach John Stevens said yesterday. “Sometimes you have to work hard for your breaks. Things happen in a hockey game you’re not always going to agree with; you just have to deal with it.
“That’s what we have to get back to. The ‘Why not us?’ There’s a lot more we have to do to be the ‘us’ we want to be.”
For starters, the Flyers need to be more physical.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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