Blog Entry

Flyers deserved better

Posted on: April 24, 2008 11:46 pm

They don't get a point for taking a game into overtime because it's the playoffs, but maybe there's a moral victory in there somewhere for the Philadelphia Flyers.

They should take something away from losing 4-3 in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens tonight because they were the better team for the most part. If nothing else, the Flyers made it pretty clear that despite losing all four regular season games to Montreal by a combined 15-6 score, they won't be pushovers in the playoffs.

The Flyers actually looked pretty spunky for a team playing its third playoff game in four nights. They were physical as expected, but they showed they have the speed up front to keep pressure on the Canadiens, and goalie Martin Biron continued his impressive postseason by outplaying counterpart Carey Price.

Those are good signs especially since the Flyers handled themselves well opening the series in a tough building. Philadelphia played well on the road against Washington in the first round and it did a good job taking the crowd out in Montreal with a fast start and stretches of control throughout the night.

The Flyers had a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, but Montreal found its legs in the second period and tied the game. Philadephia regained the lead with a power play goal seconds into the third period and then shut down the Canadiens. The Flyers would have won had Mike Richards not taking a questionable penalty with 69 seconds remaining, because Alex Kovalev scored the tying goal on the power play and Tom Kostopolous won it for Montreal 48 seconds into overtime.

So the Canadiens drew first blood in the series, but they were fortunate. And that should be some consolation to the Flyers.

Category: NHL

Since: Apr 25, 2007
Posted on: April 25, 2008 5:25 am

Flyers deserved better

Wow.  Ummm... I certainly agree that the Flyers deserved better. Maybe much better. But I cannot agree the the Richards play was so clearly not a penalty. Replays from several different angles reveal Richards sticking out his knee. And clearly sticking it out at that. The timing was certainly unfortunate. But I'm pretty sure that if the jerseys were reversed, Philly fans would have expected a call.

Since: Jul 11, 2007
Posted on: April 25, 2008 3:08 am

Flyers deserved better

I would agree with your assessment of the game, Wes, except for one minor detail. I, and many others, don't think Mike Richards did anything wrong on his penalty call late in the game. It did not look like a "trip", a "knee", interference, roughing, or any other call you can come up with. He clearly used his shoulder on the check, and last I heard, that was legal. Apparently the ref saw something that was either not there, or he just assumed Richards did something by the result after the fact. Either way, to call something like that to give a team a power play with just over a minute to go in the game, when they are trailing by a single goal, is questionable in itself. He should be 100% sure of his call, and I can't see how he could have been on that one.

On another note, something you didn't mention, was the first Kovalev goal that he batted in with a high stick, and the replays I saw surely verified that, and yet they go to review and rule it as a goal. I saw one angle from ice level behind the goal where Kovalev's stick is above the crossbar, it's coming straight down, and his blade makes contact just above crossbar level, and then his blade hits the crossbar on the follow-through. If someone makes contact with a puck below the crossbar (as was apparently ruled), then how does their stick hit the crossbar afterwards, while it is still on it's downward motion? That's one I think even Physics majors would like to know. The ironic part is that there was a chance the puck could have bounced into the goal on it's own, with no help whatsoever from Kovalev, and by hitting it himself at the time he did, he jeopardized having a goal taken away from his team. Luckily for him, it turned out in his favor.

But as you said, the way the Flyers handled themselves in this game is a good sign for things to come. Hopefully, the Flyers can take one game in Montreal, and then handle things on their own home ice (and maybe get a few hometown calls of their own), and take a hold on this series before having to go back up North. Regardless, if every game turns out like this one (in terms of the actual play, not the calls), then it should be an entertaining, and long, series.

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