May 1, 2011

B's can expect Flyers to be fine-tuned for Game 2

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. (Getty)

Had Saturday's loss to the Bruins been even remotely competitive, the Flyers likely would've stuck to their guns and gone with the same strategies that led them to the top spot in the Atlantic Division during the regular season.

But after getting pummeled 7-3 in Game 1 on home ice, Philadelphia knows they must make changes in order to avoid falling behind by two games in their conference semifinals series.

"It wasn't very good, our defensive play, especially right in front of our goaltender," coach Peter Laviolette (Franklin, Mass.) said. "There were too many easy goals and too many easy plays where we weren't strong in front of our goaltender."

The Flyers utilized two goaltenders in a game for the fourth in just eight postseason games, as veteran Brian Boucher (Woonsocket, R.I.) was hung out to dry and eventually pulled with his team trailing 5-1 in the contest.

"Certainly you don't want to do that, but tonight just based on the way we played in front of our goaltender, we as a team deserve all of the responsibility as far as that goes," Laviolette said of the Flyers' goaltending merry-go-round. "It's certainly not where you want to be."

Laviolette had little to be pleased about after losing by a four-goal margin in the series opener. In addition to pointing his team's lacking effort in the skating department, the Flyers bench boss was quick to dismiss the notion that Philadelphia's failed power-play opportunities in the third period could have been a turning point in the game.

"That was an opportunity for us to get back into the game," he said. "Turning points are when you're competitively involved in the game and something suddenly goes south. The 60 minutes we played, it was hard to get a turning point in there."

Chris Pronger, the Flyers anchor on the blueline, knows fixing their defensive woes and making things easier on Boucher -- or whomever Laviolette goes with on Monday night -- will make a tremendous difference.

"We just need to tighten up," said Pronger. "For whatever reason we were pretty loosey-goosy in our own end and, against a team like that which can capitalize, you can't do that."

Pronger and company gathered for practice on Sunday afternoon, as the Flyers thoroughly went over everything that went right and went wrong in Game 1.

"I think we can make adjustments and see what our opponents are doing well, what we're doing well and what we're not," Pronger said. "We have to continue to work on those in practice, through video and all the rest of that stuff and fine-tune everything as we go along throughout the course of the series."

Laviolette, who guided Philly back from an 0-3 series deficit against Boston last spring, undoubtedly recognizes that more performances from his team like the one they put on Saturday will put them in just as tough of a predicament as the one they were in the last time these two clubs met in the postseason.

"That was not the way we needed to play in order to be successful," he said. "There's lots of things that can change. Actually, everything has to change and improve. We'll work on that."