January 14, 2011 |
BOSTON - Since his arrival in Philadelphia prior to last season, Chris Pronger has helped no one on the Flyers' roster more than partner Matt Carle. And at the same time, Pronger has hurt no one more than Carle. Pronger, who has missed the last 10 games with a foot injury but will join the Flyers today in Atlanta for practice, has helped Carle become a more poised, well-rounded player as well as post his best all-around statistical season. Carle went from 24 points and a plus-2 rating in 2008-09, his first with the Flyers, to 35 points and a plus-19 rating last season alongside Pronger.
May 8, 2010 |
BEFORE LAST NIGHT, you could almost see their knuckles whiten through their gloves when the bounces went the other way. And a lot of bounces went the Bruins' way en route to the Flyers' 3-0 deficit in the Eastern Conference semifinal series. Pucks bounced off Flyers players' shoulders and onto the tape of the opponent. They flew from behind the goal, over three Flyers and to the feet of a Boston shooter. The bounces continued to favor Boston last night . . . but the knuckles didn't whiten.
May 25, 2010 |
Montreal won't soon forget the second-period road scorchings it endured at the hands of the new Broad Street Bullies. The Canadiens, in a win-or-pack-up-for-good predicament, sent an early message Monday night to the Flyers, with forward Brian Gionta beating red-hot netminder Michael Leighton just 59 seconds into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. By early in the second period, after the hosts had notched a pair of goals in head-spinning fashion, things were back to normal at the Wachovia Center.
June 3, 2010 |
THE FLYERS wanted to get in Antti Niemi's kitchen. They wanted to harass the Chicago goaltender, make him more uncomfortable than a stranded motorist on the Schuylkill on a steamy summer day. They sent everybody at the net. Even the guy sounding the horn at the Wachovia Center got involved. The ploy eventually worked. Claude Giroux redirected a Matt Carle slap pass at 5:59 into overtime that found its way past Niemi and gave the Flyers a 4-3 win. All of a sudden, we have a series; a very strange and already memorable series.
April 17, 2010 |
Maybe it was a case of a player reaching a certain age and feeling he no longer had to be as cautious with his words, but plenty of eyebrows were raised when Arron Asham said on the eve of the Flyers-Devils first-round playoff series that there was a flaw in Martin Brodeur's game. "He has some trouble with his footwork, so you shoot the puck low and from bad angles," the Flyers' 32-year-old winger said. "It seems, this year, that's how we got the majority of our goals. " In a sport in which the culture is to take special care not to light a match under the opponent, it was a surprising comment, especially since it was an earnest role player taking aim at a future Hall of Famer.
April 16, 2010 |
It has been a dizzying three weeks for Brian Boucher, the Flyers' revived goalie. Boucher was benched because of his poor play and replaced by an untested rookie, Johan Backlund, in Pittsburgh on March 27. If Backlund had played well, there were indications he would have been the Flyers' goalie down the stretch. Instead, Backlund aggravated a groin injury after playing two solid periods in his NHL debut. Back in came the player they call Boosh. And cue the Rocky theme song, please.
April 21, 2010 |
If the Flyers get to the second round of the playoffs, coach Peter Laviolette may have a tough goalie decision. Michael Leighton, who rescued the Flyers' season after he was claimed from Carolina on reentry waivers Dec. 15, continues to make progress from a severe high-ankle sprain, and there is a chance he could be ready to play in two or three weeks. Without Leighton, Brian Boucher has played solidly in the net. Entering Tuesday, Boucher had a 1.87 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage in his last eight games.
March 20, 2010 |
Much to the chagrin of Flyers Nation, general manager Paul Holmgren did not add any scoring punch at the March 3 trade deadline. Yet, the Flyers' offense has received a considerable jolt that started around the time that the deadline passed. Simon Gagne's resurgence is the reason. The veteran left winger has scored eight goals in his last 10 games and has resembled the player who netted 34 goals last season. Getting back into game shape after such a long layoff, Gagne said, is the main reason for his revival.
May 13, 2010 |
Unlike the previous game, the Boston Bruins were not passive in Game 6 Wednesday night at the Wachovia Center. But the Flyers took the Bruins' best shots, literally, and turned them aside as they defeated Boston, 2-1, and evened their made-for-theater Eastern Conference semifinals at three games apiece. Boston fired 79 shots (31 on goal) compared to the Flyers' 43 (27 on goal). But the Flyers blocked a staggering 30 shots - 20 more than the Bruins. "The last couple games, we've done a lot better job of just getting out in shooting lanes, forcing them either to shoot it wide or dump it back in behind," defenseman Chris Pronger said.
May 20, 2010 |
For the first time in the franchise's 42-season history, the Flyers have started a playoff series with consecutive shutouts. Goalie Michael Leighton has done the honors, but he has received lots of support from defensemen Chris Pronger, Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Lukas Krajicek, and Ryan Parent, along with the backchecking forwards. "It's kind of twofold," Pronger said. "One, it's goaltending. Obviously, [Leighton is] doing a great job of making the first save.