Saturday, April 16, 2011
Posted: 9:43 p.m.
By Tim Panaccio and Sarah Baicker
How tough is it to keep your composure when, for almost half of the game, your special team units are on the ice?
The Flyers took 11 penalties in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series.
And still beat the Buffalo Sabres, 5-4.
Maybe thats because the Sabres took 13.
You lose energy, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. Obviously it is tough. We had some power plays go our way in the first period and they had some in the second. You could tell at the end that both teams were pretty tired teams. There was a lot put into special teams tonight.
Too much. Emotions were high. Then again, the officials were out of control, too, determined to control the game rather than letting the players play it.
Well thats one of the tests you have to do, Sean ODonnell said. You go up there and whether it was a good trip or a bad trip you just have to keep moving forward and know what you have to do next.
I guess that first period six penalties got away from us for a bit. It seemed like we would work hard, get a goal, do something to give them the power play, and theyd score. Then wed work hard, get a goal, and theyd score.
Hopefully well learn from that and stay a little more composed at times. You know, you want to have enthusiasm but it was just nice to get that split, go to Buffalo and see what happens.
There were 24 penalties in the game.
I dont think they were bad calls, said Ville Leino. We know its going to be like that. We have a lot of skill so it should be good for us. We just have to be smart and not take penalties ourselves.
Buffalos Jason Pominville said it ruined the game for everyone.
Its definitely tough, in the playoffs, it takes rhythm out of everybody and the penalty killers had a lot of stop and starts and the guys that arent on the penalty kill are sitting on the bench and not really doing much, he said.
So, its definitely tough on everybody but I thought our penalty kill did a good job, kept us in there and limited there opportunities. Its been two games in a row where our penalty kill isnt to blame.
Pronger out for Game 3
Sources said Chris Pronger, who has missed both games thus far, wont play in Game 3, either. Pronger did report his right hand was feeling better after skating on Saturday. The Flyers are hoping to see him in Game 4 but there is no guarantee. Officially, he remains day-to-day.
Ending the slump(s)
Going scoreless in five power-play chances was bad enough in Game 1. But when the Flyers man advantage seemed to be heading in the same direction Saturday, everyone in the Wells Fargo Center in the ice, in the stands, in the press box began to get extremely frustrated.
On their 10th power play of the series, though, the Flyers finally found the back of the net thanks to a somewhat surprising source: Leino.
Leinos power-play goal at 13:36 of the second period finally ended an extremely discouraging start to the playoffs for the Flyers special teams. And it was even better for Leino given his recent slump he had just two goals in his last 15 games, since scoring his first career hat trick March 12.
I felt a lot better after that, a lot calmer and cooler out there, Leino said. It put me in the right place and I was a lot more confident. It was good for me.
And it was good for the team as a whole.
Any time you get a goal like that when the power play is struggling, when the whole team is working hard and drawing penalties and your power play is not really scoring its disappointing and frustrating, Claude Giroux said. We were able to get some 5-on-5 goals, and that gave us the win.
JVRs second season
The biggest surprise for the Flyers this postseason (as far as positives, that is) has been James van Riemsdyk. The Flyers sophomore winger has been one of the best players on the ice for his team in the first two games of the series.
JVR, I thought hes been awesome now for two games, Laviolette said. Just the speed and the power and the confidence that he has. It reminds me a little bit of what Claude Giroux did in the playoffs last year. You get this experience and the maturity that grows JVR seems to have catapulted himself into the playoffs as well.
So how much did last years playoff run help van Riemsdyk?
I think a huge amount, he said. I mean going through last year what we went through and kind of seeing what guys did that had success and how they played and how I needed to play to have success. Kind of just help me build that confidence going into this year.
Buffalo defenseman Shaone Morrisonn did not dress for the game with what is believed to be a concussion. Buffalo is listing him as day-to-day. Andrej Sekera replaced him in the lineup even though the club called up Dennis Persson from Portland.
Lots of goals
According to Elias, the six combined goals in the first period was the most in a period of a Flyers playoff game since May 20, 1997 at the NY Rangers in Game 3 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals. The Flyers scored four and the Rangers scored two in the third period as the Flyers won, 6-3.
Funny fight in the opening period with Paul Gaustad pulling the jersey over Scott Hartnells head and punching a headless, helpless and sightless Hartnell. Like the Headless Horseman. Flyers are 36-29 all-time in Games 2 and are now 19-16 in Game 2 when trailing 1-0 in a series. The Flyers are 16-15 all-time when tied 1-1 in a series. They are 14-17 all-time in Game 3 of a series that is tied 1-1 after two games. ... Now, looking ahead in the series, the Flyers are 18-3 all-time when leading a series 2-1 after Game 3, and are 7-19 all-time when trailing 2-1 after three games. ... Girouxs line with van Riemsdyk and Jeff Carter included a goal and an assist, a plus-2 rating, four shots, five hits, two blocked shots and 11 for 22 (50 percent) on faceoffs. Not a bad outing. JVR has been awesome now for two games, coach Peter Laviolette said. His speed, his power, his confidence. Andreas Nodl suffered an upper body injury in Game 2 and his status for Game 3 is unknown.
Related: Flyers top Sabres in wild Game 2, tie series at 1-1 Boucher has calming effect on Flyers in Game 2 win