The New Jersey Devils eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers last night to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2003. The series betweeen the two teams wasn’t even close. New Jersey seemed to ahve complete control from the beginning of the series all the way until the final second ticked off the clock. Head coach Peter DeBoer, formerly the Florida Panthers bench boss could have actually outcoached Flyers coach Peter Laviolette for most of the series as well.
The series victory which sawe players like Ilya Kovalchuk and veteran netminder Martin Brodeur rise to the top of their game, also quieted the critics. For Kovalchuk it’s the first time he’s advanced this far in the post season. He’s been a consistent offensive threat in this series after being virtually invisible against the Panthers. In 11 post season games, Kovy has 5 goals and 7 assists for 12 points.
Brodeur who made 27 saves in last nights game seems to have found his stride at the perfect time. During the opening round against the Panthers Marty looked old, slow and confused at times. Maybe the Panthers taught him a lesson. No team can be taken for granted, and he’s risen up to the challenge. At 40 years old I’m sure the future Hall of Famer doesn’t want to go out with a poor performance.
The Devils with their suffocating system shut down all the big guns of the Flyers. Even with Claude Giroux sitting out last night’s game (serving a suspension), the Flyers still have enough fire power to score goals. Pierre McGuire referred to the Devils as “creating layers” in their stopping, and slowing down of Philadelphia. Who are you kdding Pierre? DeBoer and the Devils tore a page out of the Jacques Martin playbook, and read a chapter from Jacques Lemaire’s and “trapped” Philadelphia into a sleepy, boring, team that showed zero jump.
It didn’t help that Ilya Bryzgalov was average at best. His inconsistency through the season carried right into the playoffs at the absolute worst time. The Flyers thought that they had solved their goaltending issues by signing Byzgalov to a “humooooooooongous” contract in the off season are no better off at this point than they were last season, or the year before. There will be some soul searching there for sure. Byzgalov and this gaffe will be a hard picture to swallow all summer long:
Speaking of soul searching, the Florida Panthers were just one goal away from eliminating the Devils in the opening round. Yes, it’s a lot of woulda, shoulda, coulda. However when you seen the Flyers on paper, and all the offensive eapons that they have, and the physical element that they present, you wonder how this series could gone the way it did.
It’s simple. It was all a trap. To get Marty to the conference finals.
Thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
Follow the Rat Pack on Twitter: me @TheRatTrick , David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Josh Luecht@joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin @PatrickRattrick3, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis @RatTrickLewiz Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, Adam Reid@AdamReid Chrissy Parente @chrissaay44, and Justin Rosenberg @justinrosenberg. Also, please join our Facebook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.