Jerry and the Boys - 1971 at the Palladium
and you know that notion
just crossed my mind...
Ugh. The notion that crossed my mind with about 11 minutes left in the 3rd period of last nights' Flyers/Leafs tussle in Toronto was...trouble. Trouble ahead and trouble behind.
Flyers up 3-0 and losing the territorial and individual battles in every phase of the game. Only the stellar goaltending of Marty Biron even kept them in the game. At about the 9 minute mark in the 3rd, the Flyers decided they were going to pull a page out of the Andy Reid Playbook and play "prevent defense." - which only prevents you from winning. The Flyers' version of prevent defense meant quite simply, no pressure in the offensive zone, try to clog up the middle and shoot the puck to center ice whenever you get it in your defensive zone. And so it went for nearly 11 minutes. Flyers dump it out; make no attempt to gain center ice, let alone the blue line, and watch in horror as the Leafs bring it back with speed and get quality scoring chances. Rinse and Repeat. Trouble.
During those 11 minutes the Flyers surrendered three goals in dramatic fashion - one by Leafs' Captain Matts Sundin and two by 2003 7th round right wing scoring sensation, Jeremy Williams (?). Yes, those would be his only goals and only points this year. In fact, they are career highs. Way to move those legs guys
Leafs' benchboss, Paul Maurice, knowing he needs to pick up two points and trying to deny Philadelphia any, pull his goalie with more than one minute remaining to make a Leafs powerplay a 6-4. Huge stones. Stalemate. The Leafs don't score and each team received a point.
Trouble with you is the trouble with me:
OK...on the plus side:
* The Flyers didn't deserve to be in the game and came away with a crucial point on the road.
* They went four points up on Buffalo.
* They went four points up on Buffalo and can leapfrog Boston tonight with a win at home against the Leafs.
* They blew ANOTHER three goal lead in the 3rd period
* Flyers barely crossed the red line from half way past the third period.
* They showed a severe lack of moxy and willingness to win - they lost mano a mano battles, they did not skate with Toronto, they allowed too many chances in close and relied solely on the brilliance of their goaltender to save their bacon.
Instead of winning the game and coming back to Philadelphia to play a shell of a Leafs team, now they have a dogfight on their hands. Toronto has nothing to lose and everything to gain and now the Flyers are in, almost
, a MUST WIN situation.
After the Leafs, the Flyers will play the Bruins - who always give them fits. Boston will be a motivated team, because if the Orange and Black beat Toronto - they will have just been passed by the Flyers in the playoff standings. The B's will be out for blood and they have been playing poorly recently - which also makes this a setup game for Philadelphia.
Switchman's sleeping, train hundred and two
is on the wrong track and headed for you.
The Flyers need
to come out on the first shift of the first period and dictate the play. They need
to do all of the things that Toronto did to them last night - move the puck with speed, get quality scoring chances, take the body, play sound defense and stay out of the box. The Flyers need
to give the home fans in attendence (of which I will be one) reasons to be that 7th man. Toronto was the more desperate hockey team last night - the Flyers need to have controlled desperation boiling in their veins. Anything
less than two points tonight HAS to be considered unacceptable to this team.
The Flyers need to channel the spirit of Casey Jones tonight and be that train traveling 102 mph right towards the Leafs. The Flyers control their own destiny and need to reach out and grab it with both hands. Tonight is the night. Make Jerry proud...
Come round the bend, you know its the end,
The fireman screams and the engine just gleams...