Friday, May 2, 2008

Hide Your Eyes - They're Up by Two

When Scott Hartnell scored at 6:47 in the third period on Wednesday night, the scene in my living room played out like it always does. I shouted and raised both fists in the air. My startled dog tucked her tail and hid under the coffee table while I continued my celebration. Then I fell silent. Sure, I was happy about the goal, but all of a sudden the Flyers had the dreaded two goal lead. I found myself thinking of a player from a different Philadelphia team. Where, I wondered, was Curt Schilling, and would he lend me his towel? Like someone watching a horror movie, I was almost afraid to look.

The two goal lead is widely considered to be the worst lead in hockey. Don’t believe me? Google it. Whether you think that a two goal lead makes the winning team complacent or that a single goal by the losing team can swing the momentum, there is no denying that the Flyers have elevated the question of the two goal lead to a whole new level during this year’s playoffs.

In the eleven post-season games they have played this season, the Flyers have had five two goal leads. They blew all but one of them – Game 2 against the Washington Capitals, which the Flyers won 2-0. What happened in the others? In the first round against the Capitals, the Flyers had two two goal leads. In Game 1, the Flyers led 4-2 in the second period and ended up losing 5-4. The Flyers also took a two goal lead early in Game 6, only to lose the lead and the game 4-2. And before we leave that series remember, the Flyers were up three games to one before the Capitals rallied back to force Game 7.

The story has not been much different in the second round. In the first game of the series the Flyers led 2-0 after the first period. They lost 4-3. The story was better on Wednesday. Yes, as I feared, after Hartnell’s goal the Flyers’ lead evaporated. Thankfully, this time the story was different. Thanks to a power play goal by Danny Briere and an empty net goal by R.J. Umberger, the Flyers rallied back to win 4-2. But before you get too excited, remember – the Flyers now have a two game lead in the series.

So what exactly is the story here? Is the two goal lead really the worst lead in hockey? Are the Flyers getting lulled into a false sense of security? Is it, as someone suggested, The Curse of 1975? (Add the digits and you get twenty-two. That’s right, two twos.) Is this even something the Flyers should worry about? I certainly don’t have the answers. But before I go find a towel to hide behind on Saturday night, I have a suggestion for John Stevens. Forget cake for the whole team. How about some cupcakes for the player that puts the Flyers up by three?



So the Pens lost last night 3 - 0 in New York.
Just shows that they aren't invincible.

The Wings completely destroyed the Avs in an 8 - 2 win to sweep the series.
Theodore looked weak, the whole team looked weak, it was just weak.

The Flyers have an extra day between games this time around.
They were scheduled to leave at 2pm today for Montreal.

Short post today, Game Day update tomorrow.

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