If there was ever a question surrounding the impact fighting has in the game of hockey, it was solved in Saturday’s win over Philadelphia.
Had Max Talbot not been able to drop the gloves with Daniel Carcillo, who knows how the game would have ended. One thing’s for sure: we’d likely be talking about game seven in Pittsburgh.
Why Carcillo thought it was a good idea to fight is beyond me. Heck, it was beyond even the clueless NBC announcing crew. Fighting is rare in the playoffs. Even between bitter rivals. So why, when you’re up 3-0 and owning all of the momentum, would you buy into your opponent’s tactics?
I’ll tell you why: because the Flyers will never ever be able to help themselves. They are — and always will be — the Flyers.
Talbot knew what he was doing and he was lucky it worked. He could have easily been the only penalized party if Carcillo would have exhibited some discipline. But Max knew who he was up against. He knew the Flyers mentality.
It was reported after the game that the entire Flyers bench was egging Carcillo on, encouraging him to partake in the bout. How stupid can one team get?
It’s instances like this that prevent the Flyers from being a successful playoff team. In a seven-game series, tension and emotions only grow. Philadelphia proved that it can’t keep its cool for an entire series, let alone a playoff run.
The Flyers almost did last year, but then they ran into the Pens. And as long as the Pens are in the way the trend will continue.
Talbot lost the fight with Carcillo, there’s no denying that. But in losing the fight he created the opening for his teammates to gain a mental edge. Less than 30 seconds later, Ruslan Fedotenko found the back of the net.
Then Mark Eaton, swatting the puck out of the air. Sidney Crosby continued batting practice by smacking one out of the air as well and behind Martin Biron. Finally, Sergei Gonchar fired a slapper from the right point to gain the lead, 4-3.
When Max put his finger to his lips, giving the hyped Flyer faithul the “shoosh” sign, he knew what was about to happen.
Five unanswered goals … second round, here we come.
Chris | PPT