ast year's playoffs, the Flyers shocked the entire sporting world when they did the unthinkable.
Trailing in a best of seven series by three games to none, the Flyers made a historic comeback to knock the Boston Bruins out of the NHL playoffs. This was only the third time in NHL history that this feat had been accomplished and there are several reasons why.
This season is a different season and these teams are different teams; not necessarily different in terms of players, but in effort. Let’s throw the odds of another comeback out of the window and allow me to explain why the Flyers will fall to the Bruins this year.
Last season, the Bruins had a young and relatively unproven goaltender.
Tuukka Rask had an impressive season but was a rookie and had no professional playoff experience outside of the AHL.
After an impressive Game 3, the Flyers lit up Rask for five goals and that's all it took. In the following three games, the young Bruins netminder only allowed fewer than four goals in Game 6, in a game that saw his team score a total of one.
This year, American goaltender Tim Thomas has regained the starting job in the net and has been absolutely stellar in this series. Thomas is more experienced than Rask and a complete meltdown is simply not going to happen.
In the 2010 playoffs, the Flyers played good hockey. Even in the three losses to the Bruins, they still managed seven goals.
This season, the team just hasn't been the same. They've been dominated in every facet of the game. This is not the effort we saw in Game 1, Game 2 or Game 3 of last season.
Last season, the Flyers received solid goaltending from Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton.
In fact, the two goalies shared a shutout in Game 5 after Boucher suffered an injury.
In Game 1, “Boosh” allowed five goals but still managed to make 41 saves.
This season, things are different. The Flyers have been forced to use three goaltenders and other than in a couple of games, all have been pretty poor in net.
In the first three games in this series, the Flyers have been able to muster a total of six goals, allowing 15 in the process.
The Bruins are essentially controlling the Flyers in front of the net. This is an area that Chris Pronger usually comes in handy, but he's only been able to play in three games this playoff season and, even then, his presence could hardly be noticed.
Defensively, the Flyers just aren’t clamping down on the Bruins like they did last season.
The Flyers are also struggling to put up a consistent offensive attack.
Jeff Carter has missed all but five games this playoff season and has managed a disappointing two points. Mike Richards has been non-existent against the Bruins and has only been able to muster one power-play goal.
Scott Hartnell, Kris Versteeg and Nikolay Zherdev have only one assist between the three of them. Briere is having a quality playoff year, on nine points, but only two have come against the Bruins and he has been on the ice for seven of the Bruins' 15 goals.
Outside of Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk, few Flyers forwards are producing. They are getting a ton of shots (over 120 in the series), but the Flyers just can’t seem to beat Tim Thomas.
If you consider all of these factors, there just doesn't seem to be a legitimate chance of another Flyers comeback.
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