Saturday, May 07, 2011
Sweep, sweep revenge for Bruins!
What a difference a year makes, this time last year there was much to review in Boston, the Bruins having had a stranglehold on the Philadelphia Flyers, allowed Philly to not only get back into that series but to win it in a fascinating game seven.
With the same match up haunting the Bruins in round two, they made quick work of what seemed to be a rather listless Flyers team.
For the majority of the series, short as it was with but 4 games, the Bruins out hit, out positioned and of course out scored the Flyers, the latter by a total of 20-7.
Granted the Flyers had injuries, something which did have an impact on their play, but when you're in the playoffs you do still have to play the games and in this series, far too often it appeared that only the Bruins had the prospect of further games in this playoff year on their mind.
Tim Thomas was the anchor for the Bruins in their own end, while Philadelphia tried pretty well everyone they could think of to tend to the goal at theirs, a revolving door that seemed to only emphasize what little confidence the players and management had in their own chances in this series.
Once you install a turnstile at the goaltenders end of the players' bench, the message seems clear, "we really have no answers this time around".
It was a surprising end to a series that one had hoped would provide a fairly entertaining run of hockey in this second round, instead it was a Boston Beatdown, as dominating a performance as the B's have had in many a year.
While the Montreal/Boston series at times threatened to break out into war, this was as close to a Boy Scout camp out as one could find in pro sports. The Bruins took all the good spots, while the Flyers were setting up tents in the puddles and as far as possible away from the glow of campfire.
The Flyers will now spend the summer regrouping and rethinking their approach to the 2011-12 season, job one it seems is to find a goal tender that everyone will have confidence in, from Ed Snider down to the guy that hands out orange slices in the dressing room.
Some attention should also be paid to the back end of the rink as well, defensively the Flyers shortcomings were exposed rather badly in this series, with Pronger out of the line up most nights there didn't seem to be anyone willing to step up and reinforce the message that camping in front of goalie A, B, C now serving up D, just wasn't a good idea.
20 goals reflects badly on the goaltender yes, but there's more than enough blame to go around one would think among the Defence and forwards who allowed that kind of shooting gallery to exist in the first place.
And in the end, when the Flyers needed goals the most, they came up empty. Thomas was good in the Bruins net, but championship teams need to find ways to sneak things by a hot goaltender, the Flyers this year weren't up to that challenge.
For the Bruins there's a bit of rest ahead and then the Tampa Bay Lightning. An interesting match up for sure, though with little of the animosity of the Montreal and Philadelphia games to keep the fires burning red hot.
Add on the frustrating defensive schemes that the Bolts have used so far in these playoffs and it may be a different kind of series this Eastern Conference final.
Still for the Bruins who last year saw their chance for Stanley Cup glory dashed by an improbable meltdown, just making it to the Eastern Final could be the incentive to make that final push towards a Stanley Cup Final berth.
With the handy evisceration of the Flyers in four straight, the Bruins will be considered the favourite to move forward towards that Stanley Cup final, for their sake however, perhaps no one should mention that.
Best to let the games with Tampa play out, lest they get another surprise, but just one round later.
Boston Globe-- The Avengers
Boston Globe-- Bruins shed Flyers - and a burden
Boston Globe-- Welcome surge on power play
Boston Globe-- Lucic reacquainted with net
Boston Globe-- Boychuk shot a slap to face
Boston Globe-- Trading places not a fun swap
Boston Globe-- Source: Patrice Bergeron has concussion
Boston Globe-- No collapse as Bruins sweep Flyers with 5-1 win
Boston Herald-- Bruins get back at Flyers
Boston Herald-- Milan Lucic flying high again
Boston Herald-- Concern for Patrice Bergeron injury
Boston Herald-- Johnny Boychuk boomer
Boston Herald-- Hub's hot for hockey once again
Boston Herald-- Bruins' play impresses Linseman
Boston Herald-- B's sweep Philly
Philadelphia Daily News-- Flyers now face numerous questions
Philadelphia Daily News-- Goalie issues aside, Flyers needed goals more
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Goalies not the only reason for Flyers playoff demise
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Swept Away
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Everything went wrong for Flyers
Globe and Mail-- Bruins sweep away Flyers
**Photo above from the Boston Herald website