Effort that just won’t fly
Philly’s beginning was embarrassing
VOORHEES, N.J. — According to Flyers defenseman Sean O’Donnell, in professional sports it helps to have a short memory.
It particularly comes in handy when your team turns in a 7-3 stinker at home, as Philadelphia did in Saturday’s Eastern Conference semifinals opener against the Bruins. Yesterday at their practice facility, the Flyers regrouped and vowed they will rebound with a different performance tonight in Game 2 at the
Scott Hartnell said the Flyers embarrassed themselves in front of their fans, and it wasn’t a lot of fun to watch the game film.
“It was obviously pretty bad,’’ agreed Claude Giroux. “It wasn’t the game we wanted. This morning was kind of a reminder of what we did, and I think it’s a good thing that we can see that. Guys had a lot of question marks, like, ‘What happened?’ I don’t think we did anything wrong, it’s just the effort wasn’t really there. As a team, it wasn’t good enough. You can take [the loss] as motivation and get [ticked] off a little bit, especially in front of our fans and get embarrassed like that. It’s not good enough and guys are going to be ready to go.’’
Even when the Flyers tied the game at 1 on Daniel Briere’s goal at 11:02 of the first period, they could feel it was going south.
“It was nice to get that goal, but I think just at the drop of the puck it wasn’t good enough,’’ said Giroux. “Guys weren’t battling. Guys weren’t winning battles. As a team, it wasn’t good. As a team, you know if you’re playing good or bad, and this morning was just a reminder of what happened [in Game 1]. We’ve got to turn the page. We lose, 1-0, in overtime or lose, 7-3, in playoffs, that’s what so great about it, you just turn the page and get ready for next game.’’
Coach Peter Laviolette learned some things from reviewing the film, none of them good.
“There were a lot of things on video that were revealing, most of them had to do with attitude, competitiveness,’’ he said.
But he believes each game is a separate chapter.
“Tomorrow’s a new day, today’s a new day,’’ said Laviolette. “We go over things, we look at things, we review things, we talk about things, and what we need to do in order to be successful [in Game 2]. I think there’s a lot of confidence in our group because of what we’ve been through and our success that we’ve had this year as a group. I think there’s a lot of belief that we can be better.’’
Chris Pronger said the Flyers just need to tighten up defensively, not allow the Bruins free access to rebounds and the front of the net.
“For whatever reason, we were pretty loosey-goosey in our own end,’’ said Pronger. “Against a team like that, they can capitalize. We obviously realized there’s a lot of things we can fix from that game, and we’ll do so in Game 2. Nobody said it was going to be an easy ride and it never is.’’
The Flyer who absorbed the worst of it was goaltender Brian Boucher, who allowed five goals on 23 shots before being pulled by Laviolette at 17:14 of the middle period.
Boucher said he’s focused on Game 2, although Laviolette hasn’t named his starter.
“The games come fast and furious usually, so there’s not much time to sit there and dwell on it,’’ said Boucher. “Some nights are going to go your way and some nights aren’t. You just have to keep preparing the same way and get ready for the next one.’’
The Flyers are a team that plays its best in desperate times. Also, Laviolette isn’t shy about changing goalies during a game, but in Game 1 the outcome had all but been decided when Sergei Bobrovsky made his way onto the ice.
“There’s only so many times you can make a change before you run out of nine lives,’’ said Boucher. “We make changes all the time in our lineup and guys just prepare. You start to wonder, I guess, how many times can you make a change? Like [in Game 1], we made a goalie change and if it would have held true to form, we would have come back and won that game, but obviously it didn’t go that way. Sometimes it just isn’t going to make a difference in the game.
“We don’t want it to come to that situation. We just want to roll along, have a good start, and have good games as we go forward.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.