April 13, 2012
Philly great at playing catch-up
By DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
Peter Laviolette may have to work on his pre-game pep talk.
While some coaches feel players should motivate themselves, an inspirational speech every now and then goes a long way.
Has Laviolette not seen Any Given Sunday?
Unfortunately for the Philadelphia Flyers head coach, whatever he’s telling his troops before heading out on the ice is not working. They fell behind early to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal. Just like in Game 1, the Flyers were forced to play catch-up, which they seem to do very well.
On Friday, it took all of 15 seconds for Sidney Crosby to give the Penguins the lead, scoring on the opening shot of the game on a setup by Steve Sullivan.
The Penguins extended their lead later in the period through Chris Kunitz, forcing Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette to call a timeout in order to calm his team for the second consecutive game.
Heading into the contest, the Flyers had fallen behind in 12 of their previous 14 games, including going down 3-0 in the series opener.
The Flyers were eventually able to claw their way back into the game Friday and overcame a 3-1 deficit to tie the contest in the second. They went on to come from behind on two more occasions before Jaromir Jagr scored to give the Flyers their first lead in regulation en route to an 8-5 win.
The Florida Panthers dropped the puck in their playoff series against the New Jersey Devils 12 years to the day of their previous post-season opener.
Unfortunately for Panthers, they seem to have an early case of stage fright. They gave up three goals in the first period as they were overrun and out-shot 26-8 in the frame.
The Panthers found themselves in a similar situation during the regular season, spotting the Devils a three-goal first-period lead before battling back to win 4-3, in what was their biggest comeback in franchise history.
On this occasion, however, their comeback came up short as they were only able to get a pair past goaltender Martin Brodeur, who collected his 100th career playoff victory.
A SAVE FEW WILL REMEMBER
Ilya Bryzgalov has taken a lot of heat this season for making a lot of money but struggling to stop the puck.
The Flyers goaltender, however, came up with perhaps the save of the playoffs so far in the first period Friday, sliding across to snag a shot from the Penguins defenceman Kris Letang on a set up by Crosby.
The save proved to be vital as just over 20 seconds later, Maxim Talbot went on to score a shorthanded marker to cut the Penguins lead to 2-1.
From then on, neither Bryzgalov nor counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury were able to stop much as the teams started trading goals like they were stocks.
LOOKING FOR RETRIBUTION
Detroit's Todd Bertuzzi stood up for his teammate Friday, dropping the gloves with Nashville's Shea Weber early in the first period of Game 2 between the Red Wings and Predators.
Weber had been fined $2,500 the day before for slamming Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the glass after the final buzzer in the opening game of the series Wednesday.
Not exactly the intimidating physical force he once was, Bertuzzi showed he was still capable of throwing down when necessary in going after the Predators captain.
The fight seemed to inspire the Red Wings, who went on to take a 2-0 lead in the contest they eventually won 3-2.
FILLING IN NICELY
Cory Emmerton helped the Red Wings momentarily forget the loss of Darren Helm.
Emmerton, who was inserted into the lineup for Helm and was playing just his second career playoff game, scored the Red Wings' second goal of the contest Friday.
Helm was lost to the Red Wings for the remainder of the playoffs after being cut in the forearm by the skate of Preds forward Alexander Radulov in the opening game of the series.
Helm had to undergo surgery in Nashville to repair lacerated tendons in his right forearm.
Emmerton had six goals and four assists in 71 games this season.
PAIN IN THE GLASS
David Krejci did not practice on Friday after having a pane of glass fall on him following the Boston Bruins' overtime victory over the Washington Capitals the night before.
The glass fell on the Bruins forward after fans pounded on it celebrating Chris Kelly’s overtime winner.
According to the manufacturer, the pane of glass weighs roughly 120 pounds.
Krejci told reporters in Boston his neck was a little sore, but other than that he felt fine. He is expected to be back in the lineup for Game 2 on Saturday.
There was no word as to whether NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan will impose a suspension for the headshot, or at the very least, issue a $2,500 fine.
Power plays are always vital at playoff time, but on Friday it wasn’t all about scoring with the man advantage.
While there were six power-play goals scored on the night, there were also four shorthanded markers tallied.
Maxim Talbot and Claude Giroux each scored shorthanded goals in the Flyers' wild 8-5 win over the Penguins, while Dustin Brown netted a pair of shorties for the Los Angeles Kings against the Vancouver Canucks.
Brown was the first player to score a pair of shorthanded goals in a game since John Madden did it for the Devils against the New York Rangers in 2006.
In total, only 13 players have ever have scored two shorthanded goals in a playoff contest.