Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Penguins have brought the Flyers to the brink

They pulled out all the stops in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, a live/video duet with Lauren Hart and Kate Smith with God Bless America and they revved up the always excitable Flyer faithful prior to the game, always good for an intimidating introduction to hockey Philly style.

But they couldn’t slow down the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first period and with two quick goals the crowd was quiet and the anthem was but a distant memory.

The Penguins grabbed a stranglehold on the Eastern Conference final on Tuesday with a convincing 4-1 victory and a 3-0 lead in the best of seven series.

Pittsburgh counted the two quick markers minutes apart from Marian Hossa and Ryan Whitney as the perfect solution to the wild scene that the Wachovia Centre offered up, with the crowd stunned by the sudden outburst of Penguin pucks the Flyers seemed to take the cue and let the Pens control the flow of the play for the bulk of the game.

Philadelphia was held to 18 shots on the night, only R.J. Umberger was able to sneak a puck by Marc Andre Fleury, who had a pretty easy night of it thanks to the defensive prowess exhibited by his team mates. From the defensive units to the back checking forwards it was a textbook display of how to secure the lead and shut down a team.

The Flyers seemed unable to come up with a solution to the Penguins smothering approach in their own end, incapable of generating much offense and leaving themselves open for repeated Penguin rushes towards Marty Biron.
Unlike game two, which seemed to find the Pens knocked off their game by the physical nature of the play, Tuesday's contest didn't provide for the same amount of intimidation. Only Steve Downie seemed to be inclined to take the role of troublemaker for the Flyers, and for the most part the Penguins just ignored his attempts and answered the best way that you can in those situations, but putting goals in the net.

Pittsburgh can wrap the series up on Thursday with yet another sweep of an opponent and send them on to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1992.

Judging by the overwhelming display of control shown on Tuesday, the Flyers are going to need much more than Kate Smith to pull them out of the fire this time around.
If you read between the lines of the reports from Philadelphia, the white flag is almost ready to be run up the flag pole, the prospect of a four game in a row Flayer comeback is not considered likely this year.
The next duet we hear may be Madams Smith and Hart with a cover of the old Vera Lynn standard"We'll meet again"

National Post-- Simply no small parts in this play
National Post-- Penguins a win away
New York Times-- Even at Home, Flyers Are Unable to Stop Penguins
Globe and Mail-- Orange Crushed
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Pens beat Flyers to go up three games to none
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Three in the hole
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Team knows how far it has come and how far it still has to go
Philadelphia Daily News-- Penguins sweep of Flyers an extinct possibility
Philadelphia Daily News-- Flyers' goal: Don't get swept by Penguins
Pittsburgh Times Review-- Pens push Flyers to brink
Pittsburgh Times Review-- Flyers never had a chance
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Hossa scores two goals as Penguins top Flyers
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- It's sinking in -- Penguins are for real
Pittsburgh Post Gazetee-- Shocked, and still with no answers
. Stats pack

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