Originally written on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 4/19/12

Shoddy goaltending and defense, coupled with a lack of discipline allowed the Pittsburgh Penguins a new lease on life in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Flyers now lead the series 3-1.

A 10-3 drubbing at the hands of an archenemy hurts, no matter what the circumstances surround it are. With that said, the way the Flyers lost to the Penguins in game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series last night couldn’t have been any worse.

For all of their dishonor in game 3 of the series, the Penguins are one of the most talented teams in all of hockey. To allow a team this dangerous to come into your house and clobber you is a real bad thing.

The Pens had been seemingly shell shocked throughout the first 3 games of the series. Allowing them to win would be bad enough, but the confidence they gained and showed by a totally dominating performance will go along way toward righting their ship.

For the Flyers, it could do the opposite. They now know what this Penguins team is capable of. This loss is one so spectacular that it will undoubtedly stick in the minds of the Flyers. To boot, an old familiar issue reared its ugly head last night.

You will look for a long time if you want to find a poorer performance goaltending wise than you got last night. Ilya Bryzgalov, the man who came to the Flyers to stop the goaltending madness was awful in goal. He allowed 5 goals on 18 shots and wound up being yanked in the second period. A lot of people think coach Peter Laviolette waited too long to pull the cord. To complicate matters more, his replacement, Sergei Bobrovsky gave up 5 more goals on 18 shots. A lot of Bryzgalov’s shaky play in this series has been covered up by the offensive outbursts and all of the extracurricular activities. As good as Bryz was in March, he has been pretty mediocre this far in the playoffs.

Another old issues also came bubbling to the surface last night. Defense. I saw and heard more than one fan talk about how badly the Flyers missed Chris Pronger. I hadn’t heard that sentiment in a while because the defense had played relatively well. That was not the case last night. Poor play in the defensive zone, sloppy turnovers and blown coverages are the things that will get you in major trouble in the playoffs. Especially against a team as talented as Pittsburgh.

The Flyers also repaid the Pens with their own lack of discipline. Zac Rinaldo may not play again in this series after a dumb series in which he cheap shotted Zbynek Michalek. He took a two minute cross-checking penalty, a roughing minor, a 10 minute misconduct and a game misconduct. With all of the goonery we have seen in the NHL playoffs, there is no question Rinaldo will be suspended for it. To the Flyers’ credit, they showed amazing poise and restraint in the first 3 games, but that one moment undid it as far as I’m concerned.  It wasn’t so much the initial cross-check, a penalty would be sufficient there, but the shots afterwards were totally unnecessary.

Now the series is 3-1 and headed back to Pittsburgh. The Flyers need to remember what they did in the first 3 games of this series… And in a hurry. The longer this drags on, the more confident and dangerous this Pittsburgh team becomes.

The Rinaldo meltdown…

Similar Posts:

  • Briere and Grossman Out for Flyers; Laviolette Loses Some Spending Money
  • Flyers Begin Quest For Lord Stanley’s Cup Against Talented Penguins
  • Penguins Will Be Down 3 Players Tonight After Suspensions
  • Slow Starts Could Doom Flyers In Playoffs
  • What Did Game 1 of the Flyers-Pens Series Show Us?

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