Bryzy is great

This game recap format has been stolen by yours truly from our good friends at The Footy Blog and will be deployed as often as I can humanly do it in what is sure to be a ridiculous postseason.

Game in a sentence

The Bryzgalov haters were quick to jump on the Flyers ‘tender but were quickly sent back to their caves as he stymied the Penguins after the first period and gave Philly a chance to come back and win this game despite being outplayed early.

Observations
- The teams’ very different approaches to this series were readily apparent from the get-go as the Penguins came into this game with plenty of pace and looked to generate chances down low while the Flyers were keen to lay the body.

- The Pens had great possession early and really had their way with the Flyers below the red line. Their point men did solid work to hold the zone and generate chances – Crosby’s goal being a prime example. Cycling the puck gets it back to the point and a shot on goal where #87 had the chance to lift it over Bryzgalov’s shoulder.

- The Flyers rebounded alright after the first Pens tally but got caught deep on bad pinches a couple times which led to scoring chances for Pittsburgh. Tyler Kennedy’s goal came as the result of four Flyers getting caught, a lucky Letang outlet pass up the middle – NEVER UP THE MIDDLE – and Jordan Staal with the perfect saucer pass. Bryzgalov didn’t have much of a chance on this one, says I.

- I pointed the third goal out in the earlier game thread… “Dupuis wraps up the period with a tally and Bryzgalov looks bad on this one.”  … That was bad on Bryzgalov.  Not good at all.

- All in all the first was dominant for Pittsburgh, they really showed off all of the elements that make them such a scary team. However, I was reluctant to pin much of the deficit on Bryzgalov. Sure, he gave up three goals but the Flyers looked flat footed and were chasing the body instead of playing good defence. There was a “deer in the headlights” culprit on every single first period goal they Penguins scored.

- On the Giroux boarding penalty: I didn’t think it was that bad. Yes, it could have been a dangerous play but there wasn’t any apparent intent, he was just trying to shoulder Orpik off the puck and caught him at a bad angle. Two minutes was fair, though I’d be hard-pressed to call it boarding. Straight hit from behind would have been fine.

- Literally everything went horribly for the Pens on the Briere goal. A bad lead pass exposed flat footed defencemen and found its way to a wide open Daniel Briere who was well offside and behind the rearguards. I’m also not entirely clear on what Fleury was trying to accomplish on that pad stack.

- I can’t really state this enough: Bryzgalov stole the game for the Flyers. Several key saves over the course of the second and third period – including one in particular that sticks out in my mind on a wide open Steve Sullivan in the slot – kept the Flyers in the game and gave them a chance to keep pushing. What happens as a result? Briere scores off of a crazy bounce to make it 3-2 and Brayden Schenn ties the game to put it into OT.

- The Flyers showed their resiliency in overtime as some hard work got pucks to the net and a rebound found its way to Jakub Voracek who buried it. Pretty great that the GTG and GWG both came to the Flyers as a result of the trades which shipped Mike Richards and Jeff Carter out of town.

- Not as much physicality as I expected but that’s not necessarily a surprise given the fact that every player knows what’s on the line in the playoffs. Both teams were clearly trying to avoid retaliation penalties and the refs let them play. Either way, a little weird to see these teams play a relatively clean game.

- Definitely interested to see how each goaltender responds in game two. Fleury was steady but far from spectacular while Bryzgalov was slow out of the gate and ultimately led his team to a win. Will it be more of the same or will someone establish themselves as the stronger netminder?

My Three Stars:

1) Daniel Briere

2) Sidney Crosby

3) Brayden Schenn

Comments (7)

  1. Am I only one who feels that something is terribly badly wrong with Pens’ game at the moment?

    I’m not smart enough to spesify what/which causes it, but it can be felt when watching. Has been there for a while now. It’s the “okay, there they go, it’s happening again, better close my eyes right now” -feeling?

    Not proud of this because I so much hoped it wouldn’t become true, but I predicted the result right. Appears my dad made a bet and won, something that has happened earlier too. (I never have been, still are not and never will be able to make bet against “my” team myself).

    • Hey MT,

      Thanks for the comment. I get what you’re saying and right now I think they just lack that killer instinct. Even once the Flyers started to claw back into things, the Pens were still largely in control of the game, dominating possession – they just haven’t found that edge late in games yet where they step on the throat. They’re leaving teams in games by dilly dallying and it’s coming back to bite them. As I see it they need to start driving the net harder and really forcing the issue with that cycle late if they’re going to get over it and I think that’s only a matter of time.

      I’m sure there are people who think that is total BS however and they’re welcome to offer their own ideas

      • Totally agree, Chris. Admittedly biased as something of a Flyers fan, but I like to think I can look outside of that. The Pens were just scary in the 1st period, and several of the Flyers admitted in interviews that they were just run over. Had they kept that up, no way that 3-goal buffer was getting touched. But there must be some sort of psychology at work there that lets you think you can coast, because it happens all the time in sports. So I agree–they need that killer instinct to get over that obstacle, and I’m not sure where it comes from. Kudos to the Flyers, though, for just getting to work and feeding off the momentum from Briere’s goals, because there can also be a psychological block against working to overcome what looks like an impossible lead. I’d also say that I thought we were going to have another Bryz-aster in the first, but he very admirably pulled himself together. Have to think the team fed off that as well. Maybe I’m making too much of the mental game, but there did seem to be a momentum shift in the 2nd, and I don’t think the Flyers just suddenly got better at hockey.

  2. I was sayin the exact same thing last night..pens just dont have the killer attitude. Been apparent for the past few years now. I can’t think of many games outside of the Carolina series and Caps Game 7 where the Pens blew away their opponent in the playoffs, and the times they do impose any sense of killer attitude in teh reg season is (i believe) always against a much lesser foe (not sayin much, in other words).

    all they needed was to score one goal in 2 periods to put that game away, and they let the flyers climb back. then gave the game away rather quickly.

    as for your comments about Bryz, he wasn’t spectacular, and I believe Fluery was playing out of his mind for most of that game outside of the first goal (no idea what he was thinking). Bryz wasn’t getting any difficult shots after that first period.

    That cross crease save by Fleury, maybe the save of the series.

    • Sean, I have to disagree, respectfully of course. Bryz held the pens to 0-3 on the PP she made a couple big saves to keep them in striking distance. Fleury made some huge saves but came up small on the second goal and that break away was not his best moment. Bryz made some pretty tough saves when he had to

  3. I think that despite everyone being so reluctant to give Philly the credit they deseve, these two teams are much closer than people want to give the Flyers credit for. They are very talented up front, and despite what seems to be popular opinion, much deeper with secondary scoring potential. The Flyers top line hasn’t even gotten going yet!
    If the Flyers D can start making a few more crisp efficient passes from their own end on the breakout instead of wrapping the puck on the boards to the Penguins D, Pittsburgh could be in trouble.
    This series is one game old and I have already grown tired of everyone talking as if Pittsburgh can just play good and win. Philly is a great hockey team, who finished just behind the Pens, and also experienced devasting injuries throughout the year.
    Should be a great series!

  4. While Fleury looked pretty bad on that Briere goal, he did play a pretty good game. There were more than a couple great scoring chances that he stopped. If he played “alright”, the Flyers wouldn’t have needed overtime to win.

    Being a Rangers fan, I’m happy with the outcome though.

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