Not Too Good
Well, that surely wasn’t very good.
For their recent two home ice victories, the Flyers formula has been to forget about consistently having the better of the five players on the ice, but to have the best player out there- i.e. Pronger against the Blackhawks top scoring options.
It sure did not look like a formula for a road victory though. Breaking up their top line, Chicago scattered enough offensive talent to generate good chances every shift seemingly.
Add in Leighton’s tough night and you got troubles. To upset a better hockey team, you need something north of journeyman competence- which is mostly what Leighton has provided. Then, last night, he was just bad.
Clearly, the Flyers were dominated in the first session. But they probably deserved to only be down a pair- and play “north of journeyman competence” might have let them steal even closer, maybe a mere goal. Get that lift a road team gets from having survived.
From there it was untidy. I’m dismissive of anything after the first period- play within a three goal deficit tells you nothing about the two teams. Hockey allows you to force chances, create more goals overall- but only at the expense of a huge swing in the ratio toward goals allowed versus goals for. Plus, we already know from the first game that trading chances is not going to be a successful approach for Philadelphia- particularly starting in a three goal hole.
It is worrisome, but Philadelphia was not going to beat this crew four in a row- and even Chicago is going to find some character playing at home. It was a desperate, probable figurative “must win”- and Chicago found the moxie to get it. All the Flyers have to do is hold serve one more time and they get what all they wanted two weeks ago: one game for the Cup as a huge underdog.
It was always hard to see Philadelphia winning a best-of-seven hockey series. But the Flyers are one win away, a game where they’ll be a slight Vegas fave, from successfully turning this from a hockey series to sixty minutes of hoping for a few good bounces.