I’m sorry if this title misled you; but earlier today I’m told the Boston Bruins smoked the Philadelphia Flyers 7-3 in Game 1 of their series, which opened in Philadelphia. The reason the title of this post takes the point of view of the loser is because I am of the opinion that these two teams find ways to lose to inferior opponents in spite of their own quality as hockey teams.
Based on the highlights I watched, Brian Boucher looks to have had a rough day finding the puck. He was eventually pulled after allowing a 5th goal, and the Bruins tacked on 2 more on Sergei Bobrovsky before it was all over. As I admit, I was not able to watch the game, but I don’t think this loss is devastating to the Flyers. Sure, home ice advantage is on Boston’s side, for now anyway. But these Flyers of the last two years have found ways to win games when necessary, and after losing Game 1 at home, the wins will become increasingly necessary again. I expect Philly to come out in Game 2 with something more to prove, and try to establish their physical presence in the series. The Flyers know they cannot rely on coming back from another 0-3 deficit. And usually good home teams win Game 3s. Therefore, it cannot be overstated how important Game 2 is for Philadelphia to ensure that no 0-3 comeback is necessary this time around.
As for the Bruins, it seems like they got as positive of an outcome as a team can hope for in a road Game 1, and they should feel free to go for it all in Game 2 and try to really grab a stranglehold on this series. The same stranglehold that the Bruins faced in round 1 against Montreal, which of course they were able to come back from. Boston will be keen to get as big a lead as they can in this series, since they know from experience that even the biggest series lead is not safe. The one big advantage that they have is between the pipes, where they roll out a guy who is less than two months from scoring his second Vezina Trophy, which separates him from every active NHL goalie besides Marty Brodeur, who has 4 Vezinas. Philadelphia, on the other hand, still seems to not have a dependable starting goaltender who can give the team a good shot to win consistently. How much longer can the Flyers survive by trying to get winning performances from the guy with the least recent cold hand? They certainly have the skaters to win hockey games, and I do think Boucher and Bobrovsky are good enough to turn in good games about half the time, but it’s going to be a lot to ask of these skaters to win four games in four series, when they are only given a realistic chance to win three games in that series. Confusing? My point is, either the goaltending has to give the Flyers more opportunities to win games, or the Flyers are going to fall short of their organizational goals this season.
Game 2 is Monday night, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. eastern time on Versus.