Philadelphia Flyers defy Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of Eastern Conference Finals 2008

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Philadelphia Flyers battling it out with the Pittsburgh PenguinsFeeling penned in, Philadelphia Flies the Coop to live another day…winning Conference Final Game 4 by 4-2

The Philadelphia Flyers have had a great 2008 season when all is said and done and, regardless of the outcome of game 5 in Pittsburgh (the chances of a comeback are truly nought in this series), any Flyers fan should be well satisfied with the Eastern Conference Finals appearance. This is for two main reasons:

1/ The Flyers went from a last place finish in the NHL last season to top FOUR (there is no third place playoff with Dallas)…along the way knocking off two higher seeds (including the top seed, Montreal). And getting into the playoffs was a performance by itself — considering the disastrous 10-game losing streak in the latter part of the season.

2/ There is hope yet that next season CAN be better as they got to this point without their best player (Simon Gagne who had played all of 7 games and then was out with a “mild” concussion) and they [will have] bowed out against the mighty Pens without their best defensive player, Kimmo Timonen (which hurts against the best NHL offensive player Evgneni Malkin). Moreover, there are several rookie or young Flyers who, with a solid playoff run and a good season under the belt, may come out to bloom…

Meanwhile, it is quite fun to observe the two Conference finals. The Penguins are dominating the Flyers in much the same way the Detroit Red Wings are dominating the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final. And, the two dominating teams both have led their Conference Finals series 3-0 and both lost the fourth game away against the “we have nothing to lose” mentality of the reeling opposition.

Now the Flyers must go to Pittsburgh and Dallas must go to Detroit to face the executioner. The home teams in both cases are ruthless: the Pens are 11-2 in the Playoffs, 7-0 at home. Detroit is 11-3 overall and also 7-0 at home. And, if a playoff game hinges on any one player, Marty Turco has managed to beat Detroit only once lifetime and is 0-9-2 at Detroit.

There is talk in Philadelphia that Braydon Coburn and Kimmo may return for Game 5 in their relative bruised conditions. Even the the consideration is inspiring. The “nothing to lose” mentality will go to Pittsburgh and we’ll see what happens; but come what may, it has been a great season for the Flyers and a great demonstration for any corporation that has been “down and out”: performance follows the quality of the team as a whole when the team knows how to stick together in the tough periods.

7 Comments, RSS

  1. Charlie

    Minter,

    We need to keep Cindy and Malkin on their asses for every minute they’re on the ice. They’re too dangerous to be allowed to roam. I don’t understand why we didn’t do that from the outset. The ESPN commentators here feel that the Pens should be concerned. Cindy and Malkin are superstars and need to deal with rough-house tactics, and they’re not dealing it very well. They may not like it, but it’s a gesture of respect. Expect more. But I agree, the Pens should win in Game 5.

    I went to the 3rd game in the Wachovia. It was wonderful – what an atmosphere. It’s light years away from our seasons tickets in ’67-68 and 68-69, in the Arena, when they stunk the place out.

  2. c'est moi

    The pens are being hit with a flu and pretty pedantic officiating. Still, I’m glad that the flyers weren’t humiliated in their barn but it is wishful thinking that they can come back against the pens. They very nearly lost it in the dying minutes of the third.

  3. Dr Liam

    I was wondering how you were keeping up with the series. Sadly for your broad street bullies, I think that the penguins are a team of destiny. Sid the kid and co. get to win the cup against hockeytown, usa. If dallas were still in Minnesota, perhaps things would be different, but I see a 4-2 series for p’burgh over Detroit.

  4. Minter

    @c’est moi: yes I’m glad the salvaged a bit of pride in Game 4. If the prior games had been a little closer and the end of Game 4 had been a momentum builder (as opposed to being a nailbiter), then one could start to dream of a comeback. But, that has clearly not been the case.

    @charlie: haven’t been able to see the games over here in Paris, but, if the Flyers haven’t imposed their physical presence (without being overly penalized), then what’s the game plan?

    @dr liam: I am going to go for Detroit. More experience. Unless of course game 5 leads to game 6 in either case…

    @grandpa: wish I were there, too.

  5. Minter

    Absolutely.. and the Flyers might have built a good base to do well next year… but then, who knows … it is all topsy turvy in the NHL with the salary cap.

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