Flyers Notes: Defense lacking from all corners

This is not how the Flyers wanted to start their highly anticipated rematch with the Boston Bruins: by allowing the most goals in any Game 1 in their playoff history.

Boston dominated the Flyers from the start, chased goaltender Brian Boucher, and breezed to a 7-3 victory in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday.

The Flyers had numerous defensive lapses, but captain Mike Richards said it was more than the blue-liners who struggled.

"Defense is played by five guys on the ice and a goaltender - and we left the goaltender out hanging tonight," he said. "Forwards didn't come down and cover their men. We could have been better as a five-man unit on the defensive end."

"For whatever reason, we weren't on our game tonight," defenseman Sean O'Donnell said. ". . . Of their first five goals, except for one off a faceoff and a tip, they were all on rebounds, and that's not characteristic of our team or our defense, so it's frustrating."

The loss came on the heels of one of the Flyers' best all-around performances in several months, a 5-2 win over Buffalo on Tuesday in Game 7 of the conference quarterfinals.

Richards said the Flyers didn't have their "legs" and "didn't play as physical as we wanted to be. I'm not sure why, but come next game, we have to be more physical."

The seven goals were the most scored by the Bruins in a playoff game since 1988 against New Jersey.

"It wasn't anything they did that was something special," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "It was all about us and how we played. We have to make sure on Monday we come out hard, skating-wise."

Said Richards: "It's how you bounce back. That's the biggest thing."

 

Goodbye, home ice

For the second consecutive series, the Flyers lost Game 1 - and the home-ice advantage.

"We worked all year for that - 82 games - and you go out in your first game and play like that," center Claude Giroux said with a shrug. "I think it's got to be better. It's not just a couple of players. The effort has to be better."

The Flyers are 0-6 in Game 1 in their six series with Boston. They have won three of their previous five series against the Bruins, including the Stanley Cup Finals in 1974.

 

Pronger update

For the first time since he returned to the lineup three games ago, Chris Pronger was used in all situations, including 3 minutes, 4 seconds on the penalty kill. He played 19:45.

Pronger, who could not talk to reporters because he lost his voice, had an up-and-down game. He blocked a team-high four shots but was minus-3.

With about two minutes remaining, the Flyers defenseman went up the tunnel, but coach Peter Laviolette said he was fine.

In addition to Pronger, Matt Carle, Blair Betts, and Darroll Powe were each minus-3.

 

Ex-Flyers shine

Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and right winger Mark Recchi played major roles in the Bruins' easy win.

Seidenberg had assists on the first two goals and finished at plus-4, while the 43-year-old Recchi had a goal and was plus-3.

 

Breakaways

Boston has a 30-13 series record in best-of-seven formats when winning Game 1; the Flyers are 15-20 in series when losing Game 1. . . . Boston's power play was 0 for 5 and is 0 for 26 in the postseason. . . . Winger Zac Rinaldo was on the fourth line and played just eight shifts covering 3:50. . . . James van Riemsdyk and Richards each had a goal and eight shots. Van Riemsdyk has scored goals in four straight games. . . . In 37 career playoff games, Giroux has 37 points, including two assists Saturday. He has two assists in each of his last four games.

 


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull