Last spring, a couple of broads who had too much to drink decided it would be more convenient to walk through my patio screen door rather than open it--same night, isolated incidents. The resulting quick fixes performed in the dark of night never quite got the sliding door back on its tracks, and within a day or two, the entire house was infested with flies. I chased the flies around the house for a few days, swatting wildly at every one I saw, but it was a losing battle. It always seemed like there were more.
Until finally I stumbled upon their lair. When the sun was out, those nasty buggers would congregate behind a tapestry that hung in front of the glass patio doors, perhaps to keep warm from the cruel central air. Well from that point on, every morning when I woke up, or whenever I returned home from work, I would grab the nearest copy of Wine & Spirits Quarterly, carefully peel away the tapestry, and begin gleefully smashing flies. It was gruesome, but I hate flies, and eventually the entire population was eradicated.
Roughly one year later, the Bruins are exorcising some demons of their own, gleefully smashing the Flyers with their bodies and swatting pucks by their goaltenders with the same level of ease.
Trying to recap this game seriously or in any amount of detail is about as pointless as that rambling lede. If you witnessed it, you don't really want to talk about it. If you didn't... lucky you. Most likely, you can look at the 5-1 final, and the fact that the Flyers have fallen behind 3-0 in a series with Boston for the second post-season in a row, and determine things went decidedly poor on Wednesday night.
Before a minute could even tick off the clock in the first period, Philly was already behind 2-0. Well before the second frame concluded, the lead was four, and Brian Boucher was heading to the bench once again. Sergei Bobrovsky settled things down somewhat, not allowing another score until the final minutes, while Andrej Meszaros tacked on a goal in the second, but it was all so very little, so very, very late.
The story of the game wasn't just in net though, despite that being the sixth goaltender change mid-game during the post-season. Matt broke it down plain enough in the game preview.
Boosh let up a goal he should have had. There were forward lapses on coverages and bad decisions with the puck on defense. Any on their own can be accepted if all else goes well. But on Monday, in a 1-goal OT loss, the single mistakes become amplified. We should expect just as close a game tonight. If not, it isn't safe to assume we'll be on the winning end of a lopsided game.
Tonight, all three occurred once again, and the the home team wound up on the wrong side of a crooked number.
Of course, it doesn't help the Flyers appear to have run into the proverbial hot goalie. If they hope to have any shot at defying the odds with another historical run in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, they will first have to solve Tim Thomas. Thomas didn't put on quite the show he did in Game 2--and didn't have to--but he's made it look far more simple than it actually is thus far.
As if that weren't enough, Boston won in practically every other aspect of this contest, not just in the final score column, or netminder confidence. They were clearly the more physical of the two clubs. The Flyers are hitting, but the Bruins were flat out steamrolling them tonight. They also destroyed the orange and black in the faceoff dot by an astounding 43-12, making the B's control on the pace of the game that much tighter. Again, that's 43-12. Might as well have been 100-0.
Honestly, looking at what happened tonight, what has gone down this entire series, it's hard to imagine the Flyers can pull four consecutive wins on this club again. And that, I'm afraid, is being kind. What more can we say?