Three things to look for in Flyers' Game 7

060510_Pronger_400
Chris Pronger's performance in Game 7 will be key for the Flyers. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

Not all that much to talk about in the hours before this never-thought-it-could-happen Game 7 between the Flyers and the Bruins. Still, there are a couple of things to look for:

1) Pronger, Pronger and more Pronger: At 29 minutes, 27 seconds per playoff game, Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger leads every NHL player in ice time during this post-season. In Game 7, he will almost certainly play more than 30 minutes. This is what it's about, and this is why he is here. and here's why: Pronger has been on the ice for only two 5-on-5 goals since the first period of Game 1. Oh, and in the minutes race, Kimmo Timonen (averaging 27:03, fourth in the playoffs) also has a chance to crack the 30-minute barrier tonight. If this is a close game, these two will be leaned on as they never have been this season.

2) Faceoffs: Truth is, the Flyers are really struggling with this part of the game. They lost 58 percent of the draws taken in Game 5 and 61 percent in Game 6. It makes things so much harder when you are so often conceding puck possession. This is one place the Flyers miss a healthy Jeff Carter. This also is a place where you wonder if Blair Betts' presumed shoulder injury will hamper him even more; he has been the Flyers' best faceoff guy in the post-season overall. What it suggests is that Mike Richards -- who has been good on defensive zone faceoffs, winning 54 percent -- will be leaned on in those situations in a huge way. He might have to take nearly every defensive zone draw in the third period of a tie game. Pronger, Timonen, Richards -- there will be a lot of leaning-on in this one.

3) Michael Leighton: He is them and they are him, battered and resilient and all of that. Leighton has admitted to nervousness but it has not shown. He has allowed one goal in the 95 minutes he haa played since Brian Boucher's injury in the middle of Game 5. Living the dream, daring to dream, etc.

Continue Reading