"Win Today, and Walk Together Forever"
When I think about Monday's game leading up to tonight's, I picture a slow motion highlight reel in my head. It's all black and white as the camera focuses in slow motion on the faces of our soldiers in orange while they stand ready for the game to begin. A steady beat of drums and bass guitar of a rock song build up in the background. It fades to black as the instruments pause. A heart beat sound effect grows louder and louder then....BOOM! The color explodes. The action is packed, and the Flyers go up on the Bruins in Game 5, 1 - 0; the first goal scored by Philadelphia's forward, Ville Leino, which ultimately ended up being the GWG.
As I sat on my couch watching Monday night's match up I could not lay back or stop biting my fingernails. Ever since last Wednesday's loss, it's been do-or-die for the Flyers -- and I think I speak for all Flyers fans when I say since then, gametime has never been turned on the television before a moment of silence and prayer.
Even now, as I write this article....this very moment today, 11.5 hours before Game 6, my lungs are taking short gasps of air and my thoughts are imprisoned -- unable to focus on anything else.
If you are a Flyers fan who has been fortunate to live and experience the Bullies throughout the '70s then you can really appreciate this Philadelphia/Boston hockey rivalry. And no one is more pumped than you are.....(well, maybe the players, but still)
The Philadelphia Flyers managed to silence the Beantown crowd two nights ago defeating the Bruins, 4 goals to none. A shutout.
Philly goals came from Ville Leino, Scott Hartnell, and 2 goals by beloved Flyer Simon Gagne.
Now, you may of just had to read that sentence twice;
"Wait! Scott Hartnell????"
Indeed. The Neanderthal-looking cold cut dug himself out of a 21 game scoreless hole by whacking a mid-flight floating puck out of the air in the slot and right past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. In fact, Scott Hartnell played a line with Danny Briere centering, and Leino taking the other wing position, and that line was the hottest all night.
When the puck was in his possession, Ville Leino seemed more untouchable than Jimmy Hoffa's body. He zigged, he zagged, he frustrated the living hell out of Boston's defense all game long while he was on the ice and the Bruins paid for it.
I believe I've mentioned something like this before, but -- with every victory there comes a taste of tragedy.
Brian Boucher went down early in the 2nd period when teammate Ryan Parent and Bruins right wing Miroslav Satan crumbled ontop of Boosh's legs as he was butterflied and trying to stop a play made on goal by Marc Savard. Brian's knees took the most of the blow and he underwent an MRI yesterday. It's safe to assume Boucher will be missing the next few weeks injured.
It was Michael Leighton's first day back from his high ankle sprain when he took the Flyers net in place for Boosh. From the get go he looked solid. He was loose and seemed to go right back into his hot streak as if he hadn't missed a single game, stopping 14 of 14 shots the rest of the night.
*Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton split the shutout.
But I tell ya, it wasn't watching the Flyers go down 3 games to 0 against the Conference rival. It was watching the games and every other minute or so the camera cut to Bruins head coach, Claude Julien. That man is just offensive looking. He resembles an uncircumsised male genetalia. Then when the Bruins are called on a penalty and he doesn't agree, he shrugs his neck back exposing even more surface area of that gobbling turkey neck that makes him look like even more of an un-snipped chode in Yukon winter weather.
I just absolutely despise that man simply because of the way he looks, and the way he looks when he reacts in disagreement with the officials.
It almost reminds me of how much I can't stand looking at New York Giants head coach, Tom Coughlin. The facial features that spawn on that creep's face when he can't believe a bad/no-call is astounding. It's always the same expression that says, "WHO THE F*CK JUST FARTED!?!?"
Point is, stop showing me the coaches. I simply could not give a damn.
Now, as Monday night's game got further and further out of Boston's reach they became unruly and lost their discipline. It began when Bruins forward Steve Begin boarded Claude Giroux in the 2nd period, putting Giroux out of the game with what some thought to be a possible concussion.
Giroux had cleared the puck from against the boards and two seconds later (much more than enough time to halt any aggressive checking) Begin extended his arms and hands on Claude's upper back and drove his head and face into the glass.
With Leino's ability to keep the puck away from every Boston stick, Leighton stopping every shot, Gagne putting on a clinic, and Flyers defense poke-checking and intercepting every pass, the golden & black bears got more and more frustrated.
There were dirty hits, but nothing pissed me off more than when late in the 3rd period (when the game was practically a Philly W in the win column), Marc Savard and another Bruin ganged up on Flyers captain, Mike Richards, behind the net and behind the play like a couple of cowards. Frustration had taken its toll.
If you shut the Bruins down, they have shown they become a bunch of pissy children who just got their Barbie stolen. I believe there was intent to injure behind the Giroux boarding, but Begin only got 2 minutes. And you would think that after Marc Savard got his jaw shat out his ass by a cheap shot he took later in the regular season by Penguins "tough guy" Matt Cooke -- he would have had some sense knocked into him!
Apparently he didn't. And to think...I felt sorry for Savard after Cooke laid him out when he wasn't looking.
Now? Well....now I just want Richards to do the same thing. If it was a dispute between the two themselves then so be it. But the fact that Savard instigated it AND ganged up on Mike with another teammate? That pig doesn't fly, in my book.
The Flyers did get lucky with a few extremely sloppy passes and plays from the Bruins in Game 5. Going into tonight's Game 6, we must assume they will not make the same mistake. Philadelphia needs to ride this momentum, keep a level head defensively, and score first quickly.
The Bruins may have gotten this far, but this season's history has taught us that they play like crap when they're choke-collared. Easiest way to put the pressure on them is to take the first goal advantage, get better chances on the power play, and poke-check the shit out of their play(s) in our defensive zone.
Tonight's game begins @ 8:00pm in Philadelphia on CSN, and Versus channels.
***editor's note: Monday night's shutout performance by Leighton and Boucher was the first shutout in NHL history to be shared by two goalies in a single game.