Orange & Black Breakdown
by Marc Siciliano on 04/21/12 at 09:52 PM ET
Through the first three games of the series, the Flyers played like a team possessed. Up and down the lineup, the players all seemed to maintain the perfect underdog demeanor. They played like a team confident in their ability to come out on top when they executed, and even more confident in their ability overcome and deficit that might lie before them. But up 3-0 in the series, that demeanor changed.
The Flyers went from being confident underdogs to the team that didn’t look confident with a lead. At the worst possible time, it would seem the Flyers are starting to succumb to the intimidation that comes with being matched up against the cup favorites, and it has reflected in their play.
Game 6 has become a must win, and the Flyers will need everything they’ve got to win. At the very least, they have history on their side.
G Was frustrated in Game 5
The good news is they showed signs of waking up at the end of Game 5. The frustrations displayed by Giroux at the end of the game are a good thing, because they only need 60 minutes of fired up, all out hockey to advance to the next round. The Flyers spent the last 10 minutes dominating the flow of the game by using their board play to control the puck. They need to continue to work the boards in Game 6 to open up the passing lanes that were present in the first three contests.
More importantly, the Flyers just need to keep moving their feet. They won those first three games because they were winning all the individual battles and leaving all their energy on the ice. Even in shorthanded situations, the Flyers could be found aggressively pursuing the puck on every possible opportunity. In these last few contests, the effort has waned and the results show it. Forwards need to stay focused on their point men and not give them so much room. Upping the pressure would do a lot in disrupting the patterns of solid play that Pittsburgh is prone to fall into.
On defense, the Flyers need to watch when they pinch. Many times the defenseman would be caught out of position by a quick chip out of the zone from Pittsburgh; they need to time their pinches better. Kubina and Lilja have been asked to do a lot and unfortunately their play is coming up a bit short. Those guys in particular will need to focus on putting in a solid 60-minute effort if the Flyers wish to break through.
Additionally, the Flyers need to be wary of the breakout from Pittsburgh. The Penguins found themselves getting into the Flyers end with ease due to a simple deflected outlet pass off the boards. Lavi needs to make an adjustment to figure out a way to disrupt the Penguins in the neutral zone.
The Flyers need to end this series tomorrow; Game 7 in Pittsburgh is not an option. When the Flyers did this against Boston, the Bruins had the weight of the fans in the arena on their shoulders as well. If this goes back to Pittsburgh, the fans will be providing the complete opposite type of energy for the already lethal Penguins to feed off of.
The Flyers would be wise to get this over with early, much like they did against the Leafs at home 9 years ago to the day 2003. The easiest way to guarantee yourselves a victory is to simply go out there and take it, doing so without any regard for your opponents or their style of play. That April 22nd, the Flyers offered Toronto no chance for victory, outshooting the opponent 36-19 and dominating the Game 7 en route to a 6-1 victory. Mark Recchi was the man with the cape then - who is going to be the hero tomorrow?
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About Orange & Black Breakdown
The Orange & Black Breakdown looks to be the ultimate, around the clock source for news and information on the Philadelphia Flyers organization and it’s ever-present quest for the Stanley Cup. Focusing on what the team can do to achieve success is the ultimate goal.
The OBB is written and maintained by myself - Marc Siciliano. I’m a college graduate and media production professional in the sports industry with credits on projects like Hard Knocks: Bengals and 24/7 Penguins vs. Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic. A man of many hobbies, I always seem to find a way to spend a disproportionate amount of my daily routine with two things: Flyers hockey and social media (much to the dismay of my hockey impartial friends on twitter).
So what does this mean for you? The plan is to combine these
time-wasting habits passions with my love for writing to provide you with complete coverage of the Flyers from both my head and around the web, 24/7.
This is my second writing stint focusing on the Flyers, but for a much larger audience - so do be gentle. Different perspectives and opinions on the organization are welcome and encouraged. Just because I see it one way doesn’t mean I’m beyond seeing it your way as well, so speak up!
I’m always interested in interacting with readers, so find me on twitter (@marcs797) or email me (email@example.com) and let’s talk hockey.
Thanks for reading; Lets go Flyers!