Michael DeNicola

12/15/10

 

SHHH! Everyone...quiet for a moment....

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Ya hear that? That's the sound of every Pittsburgh Penguins-loving fanatic crying cause the FLYERS ARE #1!!!!!

That's right. Ya either gotta be dead or bat shit crazy to not know the Philadelphia Flyers took on - and defeated - a white-hot Penguins squad, 3 - 2, last night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Pens came into Philly on a 12-game winning streak, and off the stick of Flyers forward Scott Hartnell came the game-winning goal halfway through the 3rd period. The other two potted Flyers pucks came from Claude Giroux and Nikolay Zherdev.

Philly took the lead three times during a very exciting Battle Of The Keystone State match up. And for the third contest in a row the Flyers played outstanding defense holding Pittsburgh to only 23-shots and stopping 21 of them....and get this....Sidney Crosby made none of those shots. That's right, Sid The Kid had zero shots on Boucher all evening. He did, however, finish the night with two assists (2-pts) which continues HIS points tenor to nineteen consecutive games. 

With Boucher riding a hot streak, he managed to end the evening with another 0.900+ save percentage at 0.913.

 

Was I nervous? Sure. Of course I was nervous. Despite the Flyers going into last night's game up 2-games to 1 so far in our regular season series against the Penguins, they're still an outstanding opponent. One that was on a historical 12-game winning run! What Bully fan wasn't a bit nervous?

But this defense of ours looked sharp, played smart, and (most importantly) played a full 60-minutes. And I'm not just talking about the blue lines.

Players such as Jeff Carter who has been known to noticeably play less defensively came out strong last night in our zone. In one play during the 2nd, Jeff forced Crosby into the boards, behind Boucher's net and forked the rubber away from the golden child. On paper that seems just fine, but I was actually very impressed with Carter. 

Every player dressed in Philadelphia native Orange did their part last night to get that 'W'. Our forward lines responded the way we hoped, the blue lines continue to amaze, and the Bob-Boosh goaltender tandem has been very good.

The Power Play still remains an issue. After last night's game, the Flyers stand at 17th in the league (16.2%) on the PP.

If Philly's been this great up till now with a less than par outcome on the man advantage, there's no telling how unstoppable we could become once we get this PP situated and the chemistry flowing.

 

But let's be honest; you know the numbers. You watched the game. We're all friggin psyched that our boys went out there and won! I dunno about you, but I woke up this morning with a smile etched across my face and my middle finger facing due West.

That's right, we went right ahead and drop kicked the Penguins off the points leader board and took a seat at numero uno!

Chris Pronger knows how to put it in perspective though. In a post game interview, Pronger was asked how it felt to be #1 in points in the entire league. To that question he responded with a shrug, his banana hands through his hair and said, "I dunno. It's only December."

I love that man.

When I'm sittin' here more jolly than David Duchovny on a Vivid Entertainment film set, Pronger's straight faced and his mind clear, focused on winning one game at a time. 

If you ask me, last night was a major test to see what our team is. And they're for real. Impossible is nothing, and we proved that snapping the head off the Penguins winning streak.

 

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Tonight's an even bigger test. We not only just beat a major inner division rival in dramatic fashion less than 24 hours ago, but now our Fly Guys gotta cool down and focus on a tougher opponent they face tonight -- the Montreal Canadiens.

How do the Flyers respond after a tiresome battle? This season's records with back-to-back games isn't all that impressive. Only one way to tell.

 

Stay tuned tonight on TCN Philadelphia at 7:30, and let's crush some Habs!