Defense Optional, Flyers Drop Game 1, 7-3

Defense Optional, Flyers Drop Game 1, 7-3

Well, if there was any question as to whether the Bruins were capable of banging home five-footers all day we now know the answer. The Bruins walked into the Wells Fargo Center and showed off their short game en route to a convincing 7-3 win over the Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

If you simply looked at the boxscore you'd think that yet another Flyers starting goalie blew a game. You'd be wrong. Giving up a seven spot in a playoff game is a total team effort. Other than a deflected shot from the point, which beat Boucher, the Bruins simply beat the Flyers to the puck and scored garbage goals from within close.

The Bruins were first to every puck. They got their forwards in deep and pressured the Flyers defense into some awful turnovers all afternoon. Give the Bruins full marks, they came in and dictated the tempo. Tim Thomas was solid, but beyond an early save on James Van Riemsdyk wasn't really called on to make the spectacular save.

The Flyers never got their forecheck going, never maintained sustained pressure on the B's defense, and never recovered from giving up the first goal less than two minutes into the game. Bottom line, Boston outplayed them in every which way.

David Krejci put the Bruins ahead after picking a shot from the point out of mid-air and beating Boucher. Danny Briere tied it at one, showing incredible hands in close as he won a puck just outside the crease to put the Flyers on the board.

In a game full of egregious Flyers mistakes perhaps the most egregious  was conceding a goal in the final minute of the first period.

The game-changer was a Nathan Horton goal with just 36 seconds left in the first period. Former Flyer Dennis Seidenberg did the heavy lifting as he pinched from the point and made a neat move in the corner to elude Braydon Coburn. Seidenberg threw the puck in front, where Krejci fanned on the shot, but not before the puck found its way to Nathan Horton, who redirected a shot on net. Boosh had a chance with his glove-hand, but was unable to catch it clean before deflecting it into the net (the puck was likely over the line at that point, but Boosh removed any doubt when he batted it in).

From there the Bruins simply poured it on. At one point they went ahead 5-1, before JVR pulled the Flyers to within 5-2 at the end of the second. Mike Richards picked up his first goal of the playoffs (a powerplay tally), giving the Flyers a false sense of hope at 5-3, before Boston closed out the scoring with two unanswered goals, which provided the final margin of victory.

If you're looking for the good news it's that the Flyers problems are easily correctable. They need to do a better of job of closing out Bruins forwards charging to the net. They need to limit turnovers. They need to get pucks deep and get into their cycle game. Finally, they need to play with greater urgency and win pucks.

Call me crazy, but I am not too distraught over dropping Game 1. Amazing how on the heels of their best game of the postseason (Game 7 against Buffalo) they played their worst game this afternoon. Lord knows they can't play much worse in their own zone then they did today.

Game 2 at the WFC on Monday.

Joel Embiid really looking forward to facing Nerlens Noel

Joel Embiid really looking forward to facing Nerlens Noel

In case you haven’t heard, the Sixers traded big man Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks before Thursday's deadline (see story).

While Noel's former teammates were saddened by the trade, including Joel Embiid, the rookie big man is already looking forward to squaring off against his friend.

The Sixers face Noel and the Mavericks on March 17 at the Wells Fargo Center. 

Drexel falls to James Madison in potential CAA Tournament preview

Drexel falls to James Madison in potential CAA Tournament preview

BOX SCORE

Jackson Kent and Tom Vodanovich combined to score 31 points and James Madison held off Drexel late to secure a 70-64 victory Thursday night.

The game could be a preview of a first-round match-up in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. With one game left in the regular season, James Madison (9-21, 7-10) is the No. 7 seed and Drexel (9-21, 3-14) has locked up the No. 10 seed. Those seeds meet in the first round, with the winner facing the No. 2 seed in the second round.

Sammy Mojica hit a 3-pointer with :32 left to get the Dragons within four, 66-62, but Shakir Brown and Joey McLean each hit a pair of free throws to seal the victory.

Kent hit 6 of 11 from the floor and tallied 16 points with eight rebounds to lead the Dukes. Vodanovich added 15 points.

Kurk Lee and Mojica both scored 18 points off the Dragons' bench.