Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In Control; Hawks take 2-0 Series Lead

As expected, Game 2 was a much tighter game with both teams clamping down on defense and elevating the amount of physical play. A 22-second meltdown by the Flyers in the 2nd period resulted in a 2-0 hole after 40 minutes of play. In a failed attempt to clear the zone, Duncan Keith shot the puck toward the net and into traffic where Marian Hossa found the loose puck to notch his first of the series. The Flyers’ mishap had them reeling in their own zone and failed to tie up Hossa who probably wants to win the Cup more than any other player on the ice after the past two seasons of heartbreaking finals losses.
Again, stressing the importance of shifts after goals, the Flyers’ Arron Asham made an errant cross-ice pass in the neutral zone that was intercepted by Dustin Byfuglien. Byfuglien hit a buzzing Ben Eager who gained the zone and let a ripper go through a screening Matt Carle that beat Leighton on the glove side. Though the play occurred in transition, Carle cannot relinquish that shot to Eager so easily.
A power play goal a little more than 5 minutes into the 3rd for the Flyers cut the Hawks’ lead in half. The poor ice conditions favored a deflected Simon Gagne shot that took a couple of hops before beating Antii Niemi. For the remainder of the game, the Flyers played in high-pressure full desperation mode peppering Niemi with 33 shots total. Niemi answered the call putting on a show with his rebound control and ability to find pucks through traffic leading his team to victory.
Dan Carcillo did his job mixing it up and playing physical – although his best hit on the night was against his own teammate, Jeff Carter. I think we will see Carcillo in the line-up again tonight in place of James Van Riemsdyk.
Tonight’s Game 3 is a “must win” for Philly. If the Flyers can keep pace with the offensive pressure exhibited in periods two and three in Game 2 along with feeding off of the energy that will be present in the Wachovia Center, they have a chance for a win and to jump back into this series.
Coverage in the U.S can be found on Versus.

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