Well, I’m sure that eventually somebody sometime is going to slip a puck past Flyers goalie Michael Leighton. Surely it has to happen, don’t-cha think…if for no other reason than the odds simply dictate it must happen. But just when it might happen…well, that’s anyone’s guess.
Leighton and the Flyers have jumped out to a two games to none lead on the Montreal Canadiens by following up their 6-0 whipping of the Habs with another shutout…this time 3-0. Montreal outshot Philly 30-23 in Tuesday night’s game-two, but just like Sunday Leighton sprung no leaks and held tight. He has now stopped all 58 Canadiens shots taken in the series.
“We’re in a great situation”, Leighton said of his team being only two wins away from their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1997. “I’m not trying to think so much”.
The shutout means a lot to me but the win means a lot more”.
Going back to Friday night’s game-seven, come-from-behind win in Boston, the Flyers keeper has gone over eight periods without being scored upon…a total of 165 minutes and 50 seconds since Milan Lucic’s unassisted goal put the Bruins up 3-0. It is the second-longest scoreless streak for any Flyers goalie in the playoffs since 2000 when Philly went 184:45 between having a puck get past a keeper.
The over/under on when the Flyers will be scored on again is 13:30 of the second period of game 3 with Montreal
Total Voters: 54
The goalie that was in net for them at that time…Brian Boucher.
Since entering game five of the Bruins series, he has played in 4 games plus 24:35 and has stopped 124 of the 128 shots taken against him for a .969 SV% and a goals against average of OH-89…BINGO!.
Given that, I’m going to set the over/under for the next time someone will score against Philadelphia at…13:30 of the second period of Thursday’s game-three in Montreal. If you think the Habs will finally break through before that time, choose the “under”. If you think it’ll take longer…then the “over” is your vote.
Not to be overlooked is the work on the other end of the ice for Philly. They have scored 13 consecutive goals since the first period of that game-seven in Beantown Friday night. But Danny Briere says they are just getting warmed up.
“We all feel like we haven’t played our best games yet,” said Briere who scored his ninth goal of the playoffs Tuesday night. “We still have more in the tank.”
Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch…
While we sit by and watch Michael Leighton and the Flyers defense deny and turn away their opponents in much the same fashion and frequency Debbie Hesslefielder did me in the 11th grade…let me redirect you focus back towards Thrasherville for a moment, if I may.
Oh, there’s no real news to report here… but just for grins and giggles I’ve compiled the Thrashers defensive stats over their first 10 years of play in the league and now submit them for your review.
But I warn you… if you have just eaten or are otherwise squeamish in general, you may wish to skip over it and go straight to the comments section of this forum. It isn’t pretty…
1999-’00: 3.82 GA/G, (28th)* – 31.0 SA/G, (27th)* – 80.3% PK, (24th)*.
2000-’01: 3.52 GA/G, (29th) – 32.4 SA/G, (30th) – 77.9% PK, (30th).
2001-’02: 3.51 GA/G, (30th) – 35.5 SA/G, (30th) – 81.8% PK, (25th).
2002-’03: 3.46 GA/G, (30th) – 31.6 SA/G, (27th) – 81.6% PK, (25th).
2003-’04: 2.96 GA/G, (25th) – 29.4 SA/G, (23rd) – 85.1% PK, (T-8th).
2005-’06: 3.26 GA/G, (24th) – 30.3 SA/G, (18th) – 72.2% PK, (T-25th).
2006-’07: 2.94 GA/G, (15th) – 31.5 SA/G, (25th) – 79.8% PK, (26th).
2007-‘08: 3.24 GA/G, (T-30th) – 33.9 SA/G, (30th) – 78.8% PK, (27th).
2008-’09: 3.40 GA/G, (29th) – 32.7 SA/G, (27th) -76.0% PK, (29th).
2009-’10: 3.05 GA/G, (25th) – 33.1 SA/G, (T-27th) -82.2% PK, (16th).
*Only 28 teams in NHL in the 1999-’00 season.
Now, the words “defensive power house” and “Atlanta Thrashers” have rarely seldom not often hardly…OK, OK…have NEVER been used in the same sentence. In fact, I have often opined that the way the Thrashers play defense causes goalies to take more rubber to the face than a possum on GA Hwy. 92.
And these numbers just back that up…but let’s look even closer still.
There has only been two…count them, one-two… occasions in the first ten seasons of play that the Thrashers have finished in the upper half of any of those statistical categories. 2003-’04 when their 85.1% penalty killing was tied for 8th in the NHL and in 2006-’07…a.k.a., the playoff season…their 2.94GA/G was good enough for 15th in the league. Coming close was last year’s 82/2% PK, which was 16th best.
Conversely…of the 30 possible categories, 24 times they have finished in the bottom 6.
In just the past three seasons alone, they have ended the year 30th, 29th & 25th in GA/G…30th, 27th & tied for 27th in SA/G… and 27th, 29th & 16th on the penalty kill.
Either way you look at it, folks, historically the Thrashers defense has been un-good. In fact, the defensive play has been downright…ahem…offensive at times.