Orange & Black Breakdown
by Marc Siciliano on 04/15/12 at 02:57 PM ET
Before the series began, you likely would have been hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t have been satisfied with splitting the first two games in Pittsburgh. But after taking a 2-0 lead in this round 1 matchup in a rather dominating fashion, the Flyers are taking advantage of a slow start by the Phillies to become the toast of the town, christening the new Xfinitiy Live Center and NBC Sports Arena with comebacks (on backs on backs).
Though the Flyers are admittedly in great shape having never lost a series after being up 2-0, there are many aspects of their game they need to focus on improving if they want to turn this two-game winning streak into something of actual meaning.
Lets see more of this, just earlier.
For starters, they should be starters. I quipped with a buddy that hopefully Pittsburgh will look to change things up by spotting us a lead early, because by merit of these comebacks the Flyers have yet to squander a lead in this series versus Pittsburgh. Scoring early (and often) could be the mental backbreaker that ends the Penguins season, especially if they are able to do it in bunches. The Flyers number one goal tonight before the puck drop should be to score first.
If you play from behind often it is tough to establish your defensive presence. The Flyers have played a rather suffocating brand of defense since the trade deadline, and with the matchups in their favor on home ice a lead would allow this trend to possibly continue. The offensive prowess of Pittsburgh is unavoidable, but even good teams can be shut down with good team defense.
Another merit of scoring first could actually be found on the complete opposite end of the ice. I wonder if Bryzgalov even remembers what it’s like to play with a lead at his disposal for more than a period of hockey, because I’m sure it’s a good feeling for a goalie. If the Flyers can spot him a few early, it could go a long way in allowing him to ease into one of those zones that he showed us as the season progressed.
Bryz has made some stellar saves thus far, but getting him on a tear could be the thing that puts this Flyers team over the top. It is well documented that successful goaltending in the playoffs – regardless of what form it takes: rookie, veteran, etc – is ultimately just a guy getting in the groove at the right time. You can find a ‘born to be a playoff performer’ story in every newspaper, but most goalies are just riding the wave and letting the puck find them. Bryz would have a prime opportunity to find his stride if he has a nice lead to work with.
(Orange) Crush them today - please and thanks.
Last but certainly not least, I’m excited to see the Wells Fargo Center Orange Crush in action today for some playoff hockey, especially after the way the series has started. A lot has been said about the lack of enthusiasm by the crowds this year by both myself and others, but I get the feeling that all goes by the wayside here.
Broad Street Hockey posted this picture above in a post yesterday and it perfectly encapsulates the attitude this team seems to have right now. I find myself hoping the fan base feels the same way I do – that is, wanting to be on the end of that bench arm-in-arm with the team. Instead, I’ll be screaming at my TV; but I hope the fans in attendance will feel the need to be just as loud and want to make their presence felt.
Until this season’s Stanley Cup dream is dead, I will maintain that this team is something special. Luckily for me, with a 2-0 start to this series, the Flyers couldn’t be more alive.
Lets Go Flyers!
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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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s talk hockey.
Thanks for reading; Lets go Flyers!