Blogs > In The Room with Anthony SanFilippo

Daily Times beat writer Anthony J. SanFilippo takes you inside the locker rooms of the Philadelphia Flyers and the rest of the NHL.

Monday, April 25, 2011


What is it about Ville Leino and the playoffs?

Heck, what is it about this group of Flyers and the playoffs?

With the exception of Game 6 against Chicago in last year's final, the Flyers know how to cheat death.

"I think we've shown heart and character from the onset of the season," said Chris Pronger, who played just seven power play shifts in his return. "There's always a lot of ups and downs and different adversities that you go through in a season, and we happen to come through in clutch and we did again (in Game 6)."

Leino was the hero, scoring the biggest goal of his career in overtime to force a Game 7.

And it was on his odd shift apart from his normal line with Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell.

With the Flyers dressing seven defensemen to get Chirs Pronger on the ice for five minutes of power play time, they had to double shift forwards at times since there were only 11 of them to go around on four lines.

Mostly, what coach Peter Laviolette chose to do was mix and match a third forward onto the line with Mike Richards and Kris Versteeg.

All three of Briere, Hartnell and Leino took turns on the right wing of that line as did James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux and Dan Carcillo.

And it was that ever-changing look to that line that made them so effective in Game 6 as it often caused matchup problems for the Sabres' young defensive corps.

It's no surprise that was one of the key reasons the Flyers were able to get 49 shots on Ryan Miller whereas they struggled to do so well in the five previous games - they were able to get the matchup advantage in a road game - something that is awful difficult to do when the home team gets the last line change during stoppages.

And Leino, who has become a playoff cult hero, was the latest to conquer the Sabres in what has been a wildly entertaining series.

"We just didn't want to get frustrated," Leino said. "We wanted to stick with the program and keep doing things the way we were doing them and it worked out in the end."

The program called for Scott Hartnell to be the recipient of the tying goal on a pass from Richards, it called for Danny Briere to score twice - reaching five goals in this six game series, and it called for James van Riemsdyk to stay red hot, scoring his third goal of the series and lead the team in shots with 10.

"We just have confidence in one another no matter what time of the game it is ir what the situation is," Richards said. "Our season was on the line and we just wanted to throw it all out there and save nothing for tomorrow because if we would have lost it wouldn't have meant anything."


On another note, after getting back to the hotel and flipping on the television, it really got my goat at how embellished the analysis of the Flyers goaltending was tending to be.

Barry Melrose called it the worst goaltending he's ever seen in the playoffs. Matthew Barnaby called it a joke. People were laughing at the Flyers goalies right on television.

Jeremy Roenick rolled a pair of dice on T.V. and said it came up with Boucher's number for Game 7.

Look, all three Flyers goalies have had first periods to forget for sure. But, let's break this down for a second, shall we?

Brian Boucher's goals against average in the playoffs is 2.12. That's the third best of any goalie who has started in the postseason. His save percentage is .938. That's tied for third-best in the playoffs.

If it really was the worst goaltending ever in the playoffs, wouldn't he be like 16th or something? Let's not exaggerate for exaggeration's sake please.

Also, where's the outcry for other goalies?

Sure Ryan Miller has two shutouts, but in the other four games he's allowed 16 goals. Why don't we hear anything about that 4.00 GAA in his 1-3 games?

Anybody outside of Vancouver screaming about Roberto Luongo as the Canucks are on the brink of an historic choke job?

Anyone criticizing the play of Antti Niemi in San Jose that he's been yanked twice in five games, or does the fact that he has a Stanley Cup on his resume protect him from any criticism?

Or is it just that it's easy to pick on the Flyers?

That's probably the more likely scenario for a bunch of blabbermouths who sit in a green room all day and watch games on TV and don't actually come out to see the games in person.

Look, the Flyers goaltending situation is not ideal. I've even been critical of it this week - but at least do so in context. Say Sergei Bobrovsky has talent, but just isn't ready for playoff hockey as a rookie.

Say Michael Leighton is a different goalie after back surgery this season than he was last season.

And give Boucher credit for how he's played save the opening four minutes of Game 5.

Otherwise, don't say anything at all, because you sound like a sanctimonious dope.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"an historic"?

April 25, 2011 at 8:21 AM 
Anonymous Amanda said...

If this was facebook, I would like your statement on how stupid the "national analysts" have been.

I've been fighting goalie-blaming on twitter this whole series, especially in the 1-0 losses. You CANNOT blame a goalie for giving up one goal when the offense can't manage to score the same number.

Drives me flippin' insane!

April 25, 2011 at 8:27 AM 
Anonymous John said...

Other thing with Leighton is that he played all season in the AHL. It's great he played a lot, but does it really prepare you for NHL competition in the playoffs?

Boosh has been solid except for the start of game 5. He should be the starter.

April 25, 2011 at 8:28 AM 
Anonymous Reen said...

I couldn't BELIEVE the garbage we were hearing on a nationally-televised game. Bad enough the refs are clearly on Buffalo's side - we don't need the trash talk, too.

April 25, 2011 at 10:46 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony...your a friggin' genius! Hooray to someone who watches and truly has an analytical mind! YOU ARE THE MAN!!!

April 25, 2011 at 12:11 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

..and what moron decided Matthew the "PUNK ASS" Barnaby is anything but still a Punk! Please save me! And Barry Melrose, he's a complete fool good enough to be one of the bias referees. Do you remember way back when Devorski stated he did not like the Flyers in a public forum! I do! What gives him a right to even Referee the playoffs yet any game....FIRE HIM!

April 25, 2011 at 12:17 PM 
Blogger Nessie said...

THANK YOU for an awesome, realistic analysis! All the bs out there is really aggravating.

April 25, 2011 at 1:09 PM 

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