31 December 2009

Winter Classic Preview and Predictions

The day has finally come: the 2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins at Fenway Park will take place tomorrow at 1:00 PM EST.

Feel free to smile.

Now, for BTP's preview and predictions for tomorrow's game. While the Flyers were practicing for the Classic last night in New York, the Bruins were working over the Atlanta Thrashers, outscoring them 4-0 on three first period goals.

Even Bill Clement could tell you that tomorrow features a big game for both teams. The Flyers and the Bruins both need those two points, and will make sure that the majesty of the Classic does not overshadow the importance of this regular season matchup.

Enough for the obvious, time for some bold predictions.

Gagne nets hat trick as Leighton blanks Rangers 6-0

Michael Leighton takes a drink while waiting for play to resume during the Philadelphia Flyers' win over the New York Rangers.

Tonight the Philadelphia Flyers won their fourth straight game, crushing the New York Rangers 6-0.  In what was arguably the most convincing win of the four, Simon Gagne scored the last three for the boys in orange, earning himself a natural hat trick.

Setting the tone early was crucial tonight for the Flyers.  In their last matchup against the Rangers, New York scored five minutes into the game, forcing Flyers Coach Peter Laviolette to call a timeout and turn his team around.

The Flyers accomplished this, with Blair Betts scoring less than a minute into the first period.  After a turnover, Ian Laperriere brought the puck in and put it on net quickly, allowing Betts to capitalize on the rebound.

28 December 2009

Carter's Big Weekend Helps Lift Flyers to Wins in Carolina and New York

When teams are slumping, coaches and general managers call on their star players to rejuvenate their lineup. Jeff Carter answered the call, tallying two goals and an assist in back-to-back wins against the Hurricanes and Islanders.
Carter seems to have rediscovered his form, scoring on two beautiful goals reminscent of last year’s 46-goal season. Carter had five shots in each of this weekend’s games, converting on two of them when he beat Carolina’s Cam Ward on a snapshot upstairs on Saturday, and then powered a wrist shot nine-hole on New York’s Martin Biron on Sunday.
Moreover, Carter’s determined play the last couple of weeks has been an inspiration to the whole team. Regardless of the Flyers’ struggles, Carts has been buzzing all over the ice, getting to loose pucks and creating scoring chances.

26 December 2009

Flyers Weekend Preview: Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders

Not to worry, Between the Pipes is back from their holiday hiatus and stronger than ever!
Tonight’s toilet bowl matchup between the flailing Philadelphia Flyers and NHL-worst Carolina Hurricanes is sure to be...well, interesting if nothing else. The Flyers are coming off of their third win in fourteen games, and the Hurricanes’ defense is still more porous than Spongebob Squarepants.
The Flyers battled in Tampa Bay on Wednesday, picking apart Mike Smith for two first-period goals, before giving up two goals of their own in the second to tie the game at 2-2. Blair Betts added his second goal of the game at the midpoint of the third period, deflecting an Oskars Bartulis shot past Smith to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead.
Mike Richards also cashed in for his second goal on a beautiful shot on a 2-1 break with Darroll Powe to extend the Flyers lead to 4-2 with less than three minutes to play in regulation. Simon Gagne added an empty-netter to secure the win for the boys in orange. Michael Leighton made 31 saves on 33 shots in the Flyers 5-2 win.

21 December 2009

Flyers Forget to Show Up, Panthers Cruise to Decisive 4-1 Victory

Just when it seemed like the Flyers were taking steps in the right direction, Monday night’s spanking by the Florida Panthers reminded fans that the Flyers are Jesse Owens strides away from success.
In a game that resembled Tuesday’s 6-1 beating at the freshly-manicured hands of Sidney Crosby and company, the Flyers failed to do just about anything right tonight. And since generalizations of incompetence are about as constructive as a John Stevens timeout, I took notes throughout tonight’s game that outline exactly where the Flyers went wrong. (Bear with the length, it was an ugly game.)

19 December 2009

NHL Saturday Showcase: Live Blog 12/19/2009

Live Blog Updates on NHL Games Today

With almost every team in the league seeing some action today, I will be posting my thoughts and reactions to the games throughout the day. We'll start off with the 1 PM Rangers vs. Flyers matinee, and will follow every game possible for the rest of the day. Check back all day for updates!

Hank "The King" Lundqvist stood strong against the Flyers, making 36 saves in the win.

18 December 2009

Following Pittsburgh Massacre, Flyers Earn a Point at Home

Following Tuesday night's crushing defeat, I can't say that many of us were expecting the Philadelphia Flyers to fair much better last night.

And yet, they did.

Instead of the embarrassing six goals scored against them, the Flyers held the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins to a manageable two goals, and even managed to strike first.  Scoring 1:15 into the game was Jeff Carter, as his rebound deflected off defenseman Sergei Gonchar and past netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.

15 December 2009

Timonen, Boucher Shine in Winter Classic Preview

Last night, Chelsea and I were lucky enough to witness the Flyers’ third-period shallacking of the Boston Bruins in person at TD Banknorth Garden.

The first period was fast and furious, with plenty of chances for both teams. Ultimately, the Flyers were unable to capitalize on 1:12 of a two-man advantage, and the Winter Classic preview was scoreless at the end of twenty minutes.

For most of the second period, both teams matched the intensity of the first, combining for 22 shots. Flyers’ goalie Brian Boucher stood on his head all game, but was unable to stop a late-period deflection from right on the door step by Vladimir Sobotka. Shawn Thornton took a sharp angle shot which Sobotka deflected wide, but the rolling puck hit Jon Kalinski’s stick before crossing the goal line and giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead.

Flyers' coach Peter Laviolette rallied the troops in the dressing room between periods and the Flyers came out buzzing in the third, outshooting the Boston 15-7 in the final stanza.

14 December 2009

From the Headlines...

Tollefsen, Giroux, Powe, Kalinski and van Riemsdyk posing during their tour of Fenway.

Members of the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins took a tour of Fenway Park this weekend, and were able to get a look at the ice construction and their locker rooms.  The legendary Green Monster was a large topic of conversation for the boys, as they wondered about 'getting one out of it.'  "I don't know, that looks pretty tough," James van Riemsdyk said. "We might have to get a shooting gallery out here and try to bomb some pucks out there and see what happens."  NHL.com has posted a webcam where you can watch the progress of the construction as it happens.

Former Detriot Red Wing, Slava Fetisov, played this weekend for CSKA Moscow.  The 51-year-old defenseman hadn't played in a competitive game in 11 years, and after the game, said this would be his last.  Now a member of the Russian Parliament, Fetisov expressed doubts about his abilities before the game.  "I skate fairly often, but this is a different game," he said. "It's not a show, it's a real game, so naturally I have worries."  Fetisov played on the Soviet team that lost to the U.S. in the semifinals of the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.

11 December 2009

No Re-Wards for Gleason and the Canes

This is what Rotowire.com had to say on Cam Ward’s return to the Canes’ lineup going into tonight’s game in Washington:
“[Ward’s success] may be more a question of how good the team in front of him is playing.”
Good call, Rotowire. Not that it took Nostradamus to make this prediction, but considering Carolina’s abysmal 19 points this season, Ward’s status as an elite goaltender is in danger of being scrapped quickly if the Canes’ can’t start playing better team hockey.
Want more proof? Carolina is dead last in both goals scored per game and goals allowed per game at a respective 2.30 for and 3.53 against.
Watching tonight’s game, I couldn’t help but sigh as Ward stood on his head for three periods (and 1:16 of overtime) before the Caps’ Mike Green netted the game winner.