About 5pm PST
The Flyers and the Habs seem to have each other’s numbers today. Both have been knocked a little off balance and the 2nd period hasn’t started yet. The Habs scored in the first minute of play, preventing Leighton from adding to what must be, for the Habs, a tiresome number of shut-outs.
During one of the already many power plays the Habs have had, Halak made the wildly bold move of coming way out of his goal crease, I want to say half way to the blue line, to send a stray puck back in.. hm, I guess “the” would be more appropriate. Having more than one puck to choose from would be cheating. Anyway, he came roaring out after it, only to collide with another Hab, Hamrlik, who was chasing it back. Hamrlik was in a hurry because Flyers captain Richards was attentively keeping him company, perhaps even blazing the path for him. When the Habs collided, Richards went down too but was less tangled up in goalie gear. So he scrambled out of the pile of bodies and scored on an empty net. I think both teams are feeling a little skittish by now. This is unfamiliar territory for this series: neither team is running away with the game yet.
Both goalies are way too busy already, the Flyers are not their usual freakishly synchronized selves. As I finished that sentence, the pattern the orange points make on the ice coalesced and Asham scored, being left all alone to face Halak on the right. I don’t think Halak is feeling 100% confident, though at the end of the 1st he did make a few saves and one especially pretty one. I don’t think anyone has to tell the netminders to cowboy up today.
Before I could re-read that paragraph or figure out how to spell “coalesce”, Carter scored. I can see why it is so hard to stop them. It truly is like there are more Flyers on the ice than there should be. They usually find a way to cover all the bases, have someone open where needed, and yet be close enough together to pick up a dropped puck or interfere with a take away. The term “hive mind” keeps popping into my head. Now the score is 3-1.
Incidentally, Carter being back on the ice is, according to reports, even more surprising than Laperrière. His injury was less long term scary (broken foot, not cerebral contusion). But he had been out and completely unable to skate for even longer that Laperrière was.
Boy, if Lappy can play with that enormous plastic cage over his face he should have no problem adjusting to a regular visor. But I am not sure he should be using the face shield to block shots. It is a bad habit.
That has to be demoralizing for the Habs. Even the Flyers’ walking wounded are unaccountably resilient. So let’s see what I have now: a team of Tiggers tapped into a hive mind with Captain Ahab at the helm. Ok, Ahab was probably not a reassuring presence. Maybe a New Age Ahab, better at talking you through it than walking you off the plank. What a strange tableau I have imagined.
I don’t know why they had to change the rules to increase scoring. The audience out there gets plenty worked up over the subtler aspects of the game. You don’t have to know all the technical mumbo-jumbo to notice when the puck is getting close to the net, when everyone is hustling after it. Then again, I guess it doesn’t matter much to the players since they all use the same rule book. It’s just impressive to hear a crowd that in touch with what is going on in the game.
Oh boy, Flyers have a 5 on 3. Not sure what all those penalties were about but this looks scary for the Habs. I did mention that I don’t like lop-sided games. But the Habs are fighting them off. Now just a 5 on 4. Those guys have to be tired. But they did it, they killed the scary long penalty. I am glad for them.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan mentioned that killing the penalties the Sharks took in the 3rd period of Game 4 was a big factor in the loss. I’m gonna guess that fatigue is deadly in this game. The need for precision is not limited to short movements like hitting a ball with a stick, or throwing a ball to a designated spot. In hockey, it seems that precision is required for “carrying” the puck as well as shooting or passing. So a little fatigue can drag you down a long ways.
A little scramble at the end of the second period there, Leighton a little busy, but his team all over it too. Habs survive without letting the Flyers score again, but they still have a big orange foot planted on their necks.
Someone interviewing Hal Gill, Hab. Gill is all out of breath and clearly needs to be left alone to go take his break. Why does anyone want to bother them like that? I feel badly just watching, I can’t even listen to the question which is basically “is this tougher than the previous elimination games you’ve played this year?” What the? Really, we need to ask him THAT, NOW? How about we guess the answer and verify it later.
Sure, I have said celeb trivia is a good thing to circulate about players and coaches and such. I didn’t mean right now. We already have those weird microphones they plug into certain players so we can eavesdrop on what they are saying during the game. Whatever, that seems a lot less intrusive than stopping a player on the way to the locker room during intermission. Not to mention the during game quip-views. I am in awe of the composure needed for that. I could never do it. People think Sean Penn was a problem to bother. I know I would be worse if I was trying to coach a game and someone who wasn’t on my team was asking me questions.
Someone very almost scored for the Habs. Puck bounced over Flyer stick as he tried to move it away from the net, and it landed in Gomez’s lap. He was almost quick enough to beat Leighton, but not quite. Habs are looking rather féroce but the Flyers still seem to be in sync.
Apparently the Habs have a problem with the second period. Hm. The Sharks had that problem too.
The broadcasters just put up a little “hail the Flyers defense” box, showing the minutes played for the heavy hitters in the Flyers rear guard. They even suggested that these guys are so good that maybe Leighton doesn’t have to be Superman. Affirmation makes me feel clever.
Halak makes a fine save against another rush from the Flyers.
OMG. Hartnell just stole the puck off 2? 3? Habs in their own zone. Yet again, a Flyer alone with Halak. Boy, Halak must be thinking he would like a little more from his rear guard, or any guard. But he stopped it.
Speaking of crazy bounces and nice patterns, Gomez just scored for the Habs. That tips the scales. 12:25 left, and it’s a one goal game again. A bunch of Flyers all tangled up in the corner, Leighton left with a hand full of Habs on his right. At the last second an orange body sails in to help out. It is needed.
A scramble at the other end now, Halak says “no” to that. Or maybe it is “nie”.
Pronger in the box, a penalty that interrupted a very nice Flyer rush. So Habs back on the power play. Oh wow, that is a double penalty- 4 minutes. Tutt tutt Mr. Pronger. Look what you did to your team. They will be so tired! Short-handed rush by Richards, but Habs are all over him. At least it kills time.
Another pile up behind the net. The ref at center ice blew a whistle? Not sure what he saw. Oh, a Hab got knocked down and then tripped Lappy. So now it is all 4 on 4. Habs seem to like that, seems to give them some (more) speed. Or maybe they just haven’t been killing penalties for an age in hockey time.
Both goalies holding up. After a 30 second power play for the Flyers, everyone looks a little hasty. For a few seconds there it looks like everyone is making passes to the other team, one after the other. Boy, these guys do have each other’s numbers.
Halak is getting used to the Flyer breakaways. Stopped Richards just there. Leighton just got one too. Amazing back and forth.
Laviolette steps in, uses his time out. Yes, a settle down would be good for the Flyers. I wonder if the Habs get to benefit from that too. Obviously they get to stop, but do they get to chat? Can’t tell.
All abuzz around the Flyers net for a bit there.
Oh boy. Habs pull Halak and have the extra man, but a whistle there: a hand pass. Now the face off will be in the Flyers zone and the arena DJ plays Eye of the Tiger. Takes the Flyers a while to clear the puck, my connection starts freezing up. 30 seconds left. Argh. Icing. Another face off next to Leighton. Flyers clear it out fast, Richards charges after it toward the empty net. He isn’t alone. Two Habs and Carter are close with him. Carter taps it in. 16 seconds left but the Habs are done.
Oh my. It was well fought. Another 4-2 to end a conference final series. Interesting.
A lot of people mention golfing as the thing to do after losing your playoff series. I wonder how many of these guys actually play golf? I can’t believe they all do. How very tedious that would be.
Also apparently you are not supposed to touch the trophy unnecessarily. The Flyers have no such compunctions. Richards picks it up. Aha, now they explain. It is some kind of jinx thing. Touching it is supposed to bring bad luck. They say this did not hurt Crosby’s team last year. That is a small sampling to rely on but doing anything differently from the Hawks works for me.
Richards explains that he gave it some thought. Since his team has been “doing everything backwards in this playoffs,” picking up the trophy would be consistent. That makes sense to me.
Sad…..I thought they had one more in’em! I apologize in advance,I’ll be rooting for the Hawks now…..
Sorry about that. As for the finals, to each their own, or their second choice anyway, or third, or… wait, we’re both rooting against the team that beat our team. So I guess that makes sense!