For the third time this season, the Flyers will face the Tampa Bay Lightning. The first game will always come to mind because of the stalemate caused by Tampa’s idiotic 1-3-1 trap. Tonight, I expect more of the same.
In that first meeting, Guy Boucher cited the fact that he was missing key defensive players, and that the Flyers were an offensive powerhouse, as the main reasons his team sat back in the trap so much. As boring as it was, his team came away with the overtime victory. Of course, the Lightning and their coach received a ton of criticism for not attempting to play hockey. Peter Laviolette and the Flyers got a bit of heat for sitting back and not pushing forward.
The next game was different, as the Lightning actually decided to play hockey. That didn’t work to well, as they got smoked 5-2. And as of right now, they are 13th in the conference, and just not winning games. So as the calendar nears 2012, it will soon be time to make a desperate playoff push. That means they’ll have to step their game up and do whatever is necessary to win. Based on that logic, I fully expect them to play us the way they did in the first game. They will sit back and let us take it to them.
The only way to prevent that is to jump on them and take a lead. Last year, Dwayne Roloson defied age he’s 42!) and was solid in net as they made a strong playoff charge. Unfortunately, it looks like his flame has burned out, as he started off this season very poorly. Mathieu Garon overtook him for the starting job, and while he has been an upgrade, he still hasn’t been anything special. With this poor duo of goaltenders, Tampa can’t expect to go shot for shot with other teams, despite having some serious offensive firepower. That’s why it’s so important to get them out of their comfort level. Make them attack, and take advantage of their mistakes and their poor netminders.
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