Talk about worst case scenario.
With Kimmo Timonen already out, the last thing the Philadelphia Flyers needed was to lose Braydon Coburn, their last defenseman with a hint of an offensive upside standing. Coburn departed after his second shift ended prematurely when a deflected shot hit him in the face.
And when he left the ice, so did the Flyers chances in Game 2.
To their credit, the Flyers hung tight; made a game of it. The only problem is, without a puck-moving defenseman, the Flyers were unable to mount anything resembling an attack. They could barely get the puck out of their end
On this night, the young, emerging Penguins looked very much like the older, more seasoned Detroit Red Wings in the way they controlled the puck.
And now the Penguins are two wins away from a berth in the Stanley Cup final. The way they are playing, coupled with the way the Flyers are dropping, it’s hard to imagine the Pens not making it. Pittsburgh is just the eighth team in NHL history to win 10 of its first 11 playoff games.
Even after the Flyers lost Coburn, they stuck with their game plan of trying to physically intimidate Pittsburgh young guns Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
It didn’t work.
Crosby was the game’s best player, scoring one and adding an assist (not to mention a disallowed goal that probably was in, but there was no conclusive video evidence) and while Malkin had no points, he competed.
With both Pittsburgh and Detroit moon-walking through their conference final series, could we have the second coming of the New York Islanders-Edmonton Oilers clash of the early ‘80s lying just ahead of us?
That wouldn’t be too bad, would it?
THN.com’s Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.
Mike Brophy, the co-author of the book Walking with Legends, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and his column, Double OT, appears Wednesday.
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