On the heels of an inspiring opening ceremony – featuring an especially emotional rendition of God Bless America – the Flyers jumped out to an early lead, as New Jersey native James van Riemsdyk notched two goals in the first ten minutes.
JVR dominated the game all night. While his teammates went about their shifts waiting for plays to materialize in front of them, van Riemsdyk made plays happen nearly every time he stepped onto the ice.
Kimmo Timonen flat out called him “the best player on the ice.” Laviolette said it was “one of the most dominating performances” he’s seen.
His linemate, Claude Giroux – whose 2010 postseason Laviolette has compared to JVR’s – had nothing but praise for the young winger.
“Obviously he’s a fast player and he’s shooting the puck a lot,” Giroux said. “He’s out best player right now. He has a lot of energy and a lot of confidence. I think we just need to follow him.”
After flying out of the gate with so much intensity, the Flyers not only let off the gas, but started pumping the brakes as they gave Boston a chance to climb back.
A pair of defensive breakdowns reminiscent of Saturday’s 7-3 loss handed Boston the goals they needed to tie the game.
The Flyers then simply held them off – even sending in Sergei Bobrovsky cold in relief of an injured Brian Boucher (who would later return).
That was until the third period, when the Flyers started to get the puck control and shots they needed.
However, despite outshooting the Bruins 32-12 in the third and overtime, the Flyers never regained the level of energy they had at the beginning, and so the Bruins were able to survive into overtime.
One bad defensive turnover later, the Bruins found the back of the net and stole the second game in a row on Philadelphia ice – putting the Flyers at a 2-0 series disadvantage heading into Boston.
Fortunately, the feeling in the locker room isn’t one of despair as it was after Game 1. Instead, it’s one of hope.
Confident in the way they played this game, the players feel as if the bounces are starting to go their way, and with that, wins will come.
Danny Briere said that there’s “no doubt” the Flyers will win if they play like this in Games 3 and 4.
Peter Laviolette has similar expectations.
“I think that we’re gonna go into Boston, we’re going to play a strong hockey game, and we’re going to win a game,” he said. “This team never quits and … we get to remove some of that pressure right now.”
For Laviolette and his Flyers, Wednesday’s game in Boston is a must-win, because it’s hard to imagine them overcoming the pressure and desperation of another 3-0 series deficit, as they did last year.