The Bruins were better on offense, on defense, in goal, and behind the bench. They jumped out to a 5-1 lead near the end of the second, and while the Flyers did eventually make it 5-3 with a little under 7 minutes to play, the outcome was never really in doubt.
Brian Boucher did not play well, but he did not play poorly either. Of the five goals he gave up, two came while the Bruins’ first line was out against the Danny Briere line. Another came against the Flyers 4th line. There were defensive breakdowns and deflections, and while Boucher cannot give up 5 goals, he could only be blamed for one, if that.
As alluded to above, the two biggest culprits in today’s defeat was the Flyers’ play in their own end and Peter Laviolette getting out-coached by Claude Julien. Throughout two periods, Julien was consistently able to keep his best line – of Nathan Horton, David Krejci, and Milan Lucic – away from the Flyers’ best defensive forwards, Mike Richards and Kris Versteeg. But Peter Laviolette played into it, allowing his fourth line to take a defensive zone faceoff against that line after a TV timeout, and he was burned for it. This after getting burned twice by putting the Briere line out against Krejci’s line.
On defense, there were missed assignments, turnovers, failed clears, and bad penalties. For a team that is relying on their six defensemen to win games for them, today was a miserable performance.
While the forwards had a relatively good game, their three goals weren’t enough. On most nights, it should be, but it wasn’t today. Most impressive today was the line of Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk – again – and Nikolay Zherdev. The NBC broadcast called them the "X-factor" in the series, but it wasn’t enough today.
A Few Notes:
- Zac Rinaldo dressed again today, which is still inexplicable. He played a total of 3:50 and racked up a goalie interference minor and a 10 minute misconduct. But he did have two hits, so... Peter Laviolette may dress him again. And it still won't make sense.
- Of Mike Richards' 8:42 of even-strength time on ice, only 3:30 came against the Bruins' top line. And that didn't come until the third period. With the Briere line and the JVR-Zherdev line, Peter Laviolette can't afford to use anybody but Richards and Versteeg against Krejci and Lucic. That number has to go way up, or the Flyers will continue to be out-matched.
- Along similar lines, of Danny Briere's 13:36 of even-strength ice time, 7:24 came against Zdeno Chara. If this were a game in Boston, that would be understandable. But Peter Laviolette was unable to get the diminutive forward away from the gargantuan, punishing defender and it cost them.
- In case you couldn't tell, Peter Laviolette was severely out-coached today. Okay, that's seriously the last time I say that here.
- Of the Flyers' 34 shots on goal today, 16 came from Richards and van Riemsdyk (eight each). That's just not good enough, as more people need to get involved in the offense. Looking at you, Scott Hartnell (0 shots) and Nikolay Zherdev (0 shots).
- Even with a friendly home-scorer, Andrej Meszaros had 3 giveaways today. The rest of the team had 4. Not singling him out - because everybody was bad today - but... that's impressively bad.
Game Two is Monday at 7:30 p.m. on Versus