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2011 NHL Playoffs: 5 Reasons the Philadelphia Flyers Look Different Now

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2011

2011 NHL Playoffs: 5 Reasons the Philadelphia Flyers Look Different Now

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The 2011 NHL Playoffs are at hand and the Philadelphia Flyers are not exactly playing at 100 percent.

    While many picked them to be a contender for the Stanley Cup, the Flyers are playing more like they backed into the playoffs then won the second seed.

    The Flyers are still one of the deepest teams in the NHL and that will start to come into play as the postseason drags on.

    If the Flyers can manage through the first round against the Sabres, they could make a real splash when depth and fresh legs come into play.

    This list is how the Flyers look different from the team we knew earlier this season. Enjoy!

5. Penalty Killers Coming Up Big

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    Lou Capozzola/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Flyers are one of the more aggressive teams in the league and it sometimes causes penalties.

    One of the most underrated parts of the Flyers teams is the penalty kill and even with the absence of monster penalty killer Chris Pronger, they have kept the ship afloat.

    The city of Philadelphia can thank them for saving the game in the third period when the Sabres had a two-man advantage for over a minute and the penalty kill unit shut the door on the Sabres.

4. Ville Leino Wants to Shoot

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Coming into the series against the Sabres, the line of Ville Leino, Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere had been playing below expectations.

    In the first game, no one could get their offense going, but in the second game Leino took the preverbal bull by the horns.

    Leino had three shots on net and a goal and has been the driving force on that line. 

    With Briere playing behind the net while both Hartnell and Leino are driving the net, Briere has been able to clean up rebounds left around the crease.

3. The Powerplay Has Disappeared Completely

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    While the Flyers knew coming into the first-round series that the powerplay hadn’t been great all season, but they didn’t know the well would go completely dry.

    The Flyers are currently 1-for-15 on the powerplay in their series against the Sabres and that is in just in the first two games.

    The Sabres are putting the Flyers in a position to succeed, but the team is not pulling the trigger.

    Leaving a team like Buffalo to hang around on the scoreboard can bite you.

2. Brian Boucher Is Stepping Up

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    The fans in Philadelphia have pulled for veteran journeyman Brian Boucher since his first stint here in the early 2000’s.

    Boucher was at the helm when the Flyers squeezed into the playoffs last season and took out the second seeded New Jersey Devils last season during the playoffs.

    With the success of rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, Boucher has quietly remained positive and now is being rewarded.

    I believe he has what it takes to be a solid enough starter to bring home a cup.

1. Chris Pronger Still out

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The Flyers key on defense has been Pronger over the last two years and while the rest of the defense has been solid, the team misses Pronger’s presence.

    The struggle on the powerplay has a lot to deal with the absence of Pronger, but the Flyers can’t use that as an excuse.

    While it still appears that Pronger is a few games away from returning from his wrist injury, it is important for the other defenders to step up and pick the slack up while he is still recovering.

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