Flyers' new approach fails
Two games. Two different styles. And neither has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers as they find themselves down, 2-0, to the Penguins in the Eastern Conference final.
After using a run-and-gun style against the Penguins to no avail in Game 1, the Flyers attempted to be the more physical team in Game 2. All that did was lead to nine minor penalties that gave the Penguins six power-play opportunities against their depleted defense.
Not surprising, the Penguins scored a pair of power-play goals -- and gave up a shorthanded tally to Mike Richards -- on their way to a 4-2 victory at Mellon Arena.
"We were shorthanded most of the first period, and you know that's how it's going to be against this team," Flyers forward Joffrey Lupul said. "They're going to get more power plays than us. That's just the way it is. They're the Pittsburgh Penguins, and we're just going to have to find a way to kill these penalties and get our chances."
Not only were the Flyers taking penalties in the first period -- five, including a fighting major to Scottie Upshall for a middleweight bout with Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy -- but they also lost defenseman Braydon Coburn at 1:51 when he was struck just above the left eye with a puck and left the game.
"My left eye is swollen shut right now," Coburn said. "I will keep the ice on it and get the swelling down and see what happens (today)."
Coburn could play in Game 3 Tuesday at Wachovia Center, but losing him so early was a logistical nightmare, as the Flyers were down to five defensemen, all of whom were averaging at least three fewer minutes a game.
"It's tough," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "Coby's an all-situations player for us. I thought we got big contributions from all of them. I thought we got better play tonight than we did the game before. I thought they stepped up and played (well)."
Coburn was only the latest casualty to an already banged-up defensive corps. Philadelphia learned Thursday, the day before Game 1 of the series, that it would be without its top blue-liner, Kimmo Timonen, because of a blood clot in his foot.
Minus Timonen, the Flyers knew they would struggle at times without his ability to shut down the opponent's best forwards and his skill on the power play. Losing him also took away a player who logged a team-high 24 minutes, 55 seconds per game.
Philadelphia redistributed much of that time throughout the lineup and was successful in Game 1, as three defensemen were on the ice for more than 20 minutes.
What became a problem for the Flyers in Game 2 was that Coburn left the game after only two shifts and 1:07 on the ice. Coburn came in averaging 24:03 per game - second only to Timonen - and led the team with 25:09 in Game 1.
"I thought our defense did a great job," Lupul said. "The rest of the guys really stepped up and they played well. Some of the guys came from out of the lineup and did an excellent job, and other guys have gotten their minutes bumped up and they're doing well, too."
When Timonen went down, Jaroslav Modry took his place in the lineup and admirably filled Timonen's spot on the man-advantage, assisting on Jeff Carter's second period power-play goal. Now, with the possibility of being without Timonen and Coburn, the Flyers are running out of defensive options ... and game plans.
"That's the game of hockey, and it's a game of opportunities," Modry said. "Someone else needs to step up. We've got lots of leaders in this room and we've got to find a way to win games."
Click here to launch.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Johnston must reach Malkin in Moscow
- Rising number of health care workers have less than 4-year degree, study shows
- Steelers are in familiar territory going into training camp in Latrobe
- Air Algerie plane with 116 disappears from radar in Africa
- Liriano, Snider lift Pirates to a victory over Dodgers at PNC Park
- Pirates notebook: Recovering Cole exceeds expectations in simulated game
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Hookah bar on tap for Greensburg
- Summer camp program a hit at Scottdale’s Geyer center
- Interest high for Heinz Field soccer match between top Euro teams
- Fitzgerald stacks legislative wins as Allegheny council members struggle