Flyers Battle Back

May 16, 2008 by Tyler  
Filed under Hockey Columns

In typical Philadelphia hard-nosed hockey style, the Flyers managed to claw out a win at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Philadelphia Flyers avoided elimination, scoring three times in the first period in a 4-2 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final at the Wachovia Center.

Pittsburgh spotted Philly a 3-0 lead that lasted until the third period when Jordan Staal and his Easton Stealth S17 took over! Staal managed to pot two goals in the final frame, both assisted by linemates Tyler Kennedy and Max Talbot, but it was too little too late for the Penguins. This was a gutsy performance turned in by Staal, who just returned from Thunder Bay after attending funeral services for his grandfather.

Where Were Crosby and Malkin?

Evgeni Malkin was a dominate force early in the series, but if you watched game four with your television muted, you would swear Malkin was in the press box with Gary Roberts and his flu bug!

Sidney Crosby had a decent game, but was mentally beaten by Mike Richards, who was successful in agitating Crosby almost from the drop of the puck. It was clear that Sid had lost his focus and was unable to dominate the play as he had in game three. A prudent fan will also notice that Crosby tends to whine to the officials more often and will get involved in unnecessary shoving matches after the whistle when he is mentally off of his game. There is no better evidence of this fact than watching the tape of last night’s game four.

Here is what Sidney had to say following the game:

“We really believed we’d come back here tonight,” said Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who was held pointless. “We came up a little short. But you never want to put yourself behind the eight ball like that.

Richards Plays Both Sides

I have been extremely impressed with the play adn the character of Mike Richards throughout these playoffs. He has had some very clutch performances offensively and game four proves that he can play just as well in a defensive role. What a great all around player!

Here is what fuels the fire for Richards:

“It is frustrating to hear Pittsburgh this and Pittsburgh that,” said Flyers captain Mike Richards. “We have a good team in here and we wanted to come out and prove it tonight.”

A class act and a great player.

Looking to Game Five

It will be interesting to see if the young Penguins can find their killer instinct and finish off the Flyers in game five, or if this was just the momentum boost that the Flyers needed to start a rally in this series.

Comments

3 Comments on "Flyers Battle Back"

  1. Scott on Fri, 16th May 2008 1:18 pm 

    My god this is frustrating. I have to listen to the Versus team fawn over the Flyers like they’re some bullied group that’s the NHL feel-good story of the year. Now I have to endure your “Richards is a class act” because of his superior frustration skills. Yes, he’s talented, but do you really have to paint Sid in such a poor light (just like the Versus team paints the Penguins as the bad guys)? If Richards was single-handedly going man to man with Sid, that would be different, but Sid is a marked man whereever he is on the ice. You’d get frustrated too. We’ve all complained about being taken out of our game – from pee wee to college, but that’s not the sign of a baby, it’s the sign of a fierce competitor who cares about winning. Philly doesn’t have a franchise on grit – give Pittsburgh a bit more due for its toughness and give Crosby a bit of a break!

  2. Tyler on Sat, 17th May 2008 10:22 am 

    Scott,
    I would agree with you to a point, but Richards did take Crosby out of the game mentally. That was his job in Game #4 and he was successful at it. It’s not painting Crosby in a bad light, but actaully a very good light because that is the only way that the Flyers can beat the Penguins. The Penguins are a far better team and the Flyers realize that unless they can take Crosby and Malkin out og the games mentally, they have no chance at winning. The Flyers are doing everything possible to accomplish this and if it means giving one other best players a defensive/pest” role to win then they have obviously resigned to that.
    Yes, we have all been victim of this type of strategy from Pee-wee up, but nobody should no how to deal with it better than Sidney Crosby…and he didn’t deal with it well at all in Game #4. If he can re-coup for Game #5 and stay focused, then the flyers will feel the wrath of an awakened giant!
    Thank you for the comment, you have excellent insight on the game and I hope that you will contribute your thoughts here on a regular basis.
    Enjoy the series!
    -Tyler

  3. Penguins To Play For Stanley Cup | NHL Digest- Hockey News and Equipment Reviews on Mon, 19th May 2008 10:36 am 

    [...] Game 4, in which Sidney Crosby was clearly frustrated by the likes of Mike Richards and the Flyers obvious “rough and tumble” game plan, many questioned whether the [...]

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