May 3, 2011

Tim Thomas Spanks Flyers - No Comeback This Year

The Boston Bruins head home with a 2-0 series lead after a wild 3-2 win in overtime against the Philadelphia Flyers last night. The difference in the game was goaltending as Tim Thomas stole the show making 50 saves, many of them were great, game-saving chances.  People will point to the Bruins collapse of last season against the Flyers and say that the series is never over until it’s over. This year will be different!

The tide has turned from last year to this year. It was the Bruins that had injury problems last year. Now, it is the Flyers. David Krejci has been on fire in the first two games with 3 goals and 2 assists. After being knocked out of the playoffs by a Mike Richards hit last year, Krejci has come back with a vengeance to take down the Flyers. Philadelphia could not handle Krejci’s line with Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic at home when they had the ability to matchup against them. Going home to Boston will make that matchup much more difficult.
The loss of Chris Pronger cannot be understated. Pronger missed last night’s game, presumably due to the hand injury that cost him the first five game of round one. Pronger is a stabilizer, a physical force, an agitator, and a leader.  His playoff success cannot be disputed. Since the post lockout NHL, Pronger has been to the Stanley Cup Final three time (06,07, 10), winning in 2007 with Anaheim.
Jeff Carter seems to be a forgotten name. Carter left game 4 in the first round series against Buffalo with a knee injury. Pronger has been the focus but losing a 36 goal scorer has taken away a big threat and neutralized the Flyers biggest asset in having 3 lines that can score at any time. The difference between Dan Carcillo playing on a line vs. Jeff Carter cannot be dismissed. This once again shows the fault of GM Paul Holmgren. He is willing to a pay a forward like Carter $5.5 milllion, yet not have any stable goaltending. Forwards get hurt in the playoffs, goalies rarely do. If the other team gets better goaltending than you every round, it is incredibly difficult to win the Stanley Cup.
Tim Thomas has Philadelphia’s number as he ran his record to 8-0 in Philadelphia. He stopped 46 consecutive shots and gave his team the performance needed to win on the road. The Flyers do not have the goaltending to beat Thomas, in Boston two times on the road in order to win the series. Thomas was hurt last year and the Bruins melted down with a young Tuuka Rask in goal. Look for the Bruins to sweep the series. Cast aside the collapse of last year. The Bruins are on a roll, and with the way Thomas is playing, they will roll right into the Stanley Cup Final.

- Mark Chyz
Send questions or comments to me on twitter @Chyz1.

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