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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Birthday/Flyers-Sabres Live Blog

It won't be quite as interesting without the Phillies and Sixers, but I'm going to live-blog the Flyers-Sabres Eastern Conference Game 4 starting at 7:30 pm (that's EDT if anyone in other time zones actually reads this). I'll probably throw in random comments on other stuff as well, including whatever games I find on my TV between periods of the Flyers game.

The benefit of this is that your Twitter and Facebook timelines won't be bombarded by my posts, as everything I say will be right here. Updates will commence around 7:30, just as the telecast begins. Just keep refreshing this page.

Oh, and did I mention that I'll be enhancing my brainpower with rum and diet Pepsi? ;-)

7:33 pm: First drink poured. LET'S GO FLYERS! Here it's on Comcast Sportsnet while Versus is showing Capitals-Rangers Game 4. Not sure what the rest of the nation is seeing on Versus.

7:37: First drink sipped. A bit strong. I can't get too drunk or I'll forget to put the trash out for tomorrow. Come on, game, begin!

7:40: And yes, this is a weird way to spend a birthday. Ooooh -- it's begun!

7:44: Game is on Versus in Washington and New York (so the rest of the nation is seeing Caps-Rangers). Sabres have come out aggressive, as you'd expect since they're behind 2-1 in the series.
Flyers need to play smart. Don't take stupid penalties in retaliation, and be strong in their defensive zone.

7:48: Flyers get the first power play of the game. Wish Chris Pronger were playing. PP has been pretty bad in this series.

7:53: Not much of a power play again. And my desk chair is not really comfortable. That has nothing to do with the Flyers' power play, by the way. Just switched to Caps-Rangers during commercial break, and that game is at the first intermission. No score there. Jeremy Roenick (my "ex-boyfriend") is drawing on a big screen. I guess NBC money has already filtered down to Versus.

7:55: Buffalo takes a 1-0 lead. Kind of a broken play with a bouncing puck but Pominville was able to get to the front of the net all alone to take the pass and score easily.

7:57 Flyers getting another power play. Commercial break - switched to ESPN's Wednesday Night Baseball. Orioles lead Twins 4-1 in the 3rd, if you care...oops, 5-1. Vlad Guerrero just homered.

7:59: Wait, what? The Sabres are getting the power play, not the Flyers?...well, that didn't last long. A Buffalo penalty wipes out the power play after 40 seconds. Officials are making some weak calls. Might be a ton of penalties like in Game 2.

8:03: Flyers went on their short power play and nearly scored on an empty net thanks to a good carom, but a Sabre blocked it. Big break for Buffalo to keep them up 1-0.

8:08: Tyler Myers, who blocked that shot, just hit the post with a shot of his own. Serves him right. But seconds later a tripping penalty is giving his team another power play. A 2-0 lead wouldn't be insurmountable, as the San Jose Sharks showed last night, but the Sabres haven't been ahead by more than 1 goal this entire series.

8:15: Flyers killed off the penalty, thanks in part to another shot hitting the post. Under 3 minutes left in the first period.

8: 20: Flyers got a couple chances late but it's still 1-0 Buffalo as the first period ends. By the way, why haven't I gotten any birthday wishes from celebs like I asked for yesterday?

8:26: Switched to Versus. Rangers lead Caps 1-0 and Penguins lead Lightning 2-0, both games in the 2nd period. If the Rangers hold on and win to tie their series, it'll have to weigh on the Caps after last year's playoff flop.

8:35: About ready for the 2nd period. Drink number two poured. It's not as strong as the first one. This is not a commentary on my bartending skill.

8:39: Brian Boucher just came up huge to keep it 1-0 Sabres. I know he's just a backup now, really, but I could never understand why the Flyers didn't give him a real shot the first time he was with the team, after that spectacular 2000 playoff run.

8:49: Intensity just ratcheted up as both teams had some sustained pressure in the offensive zone and great chances. Almost halfway through regulation and still 1-0. Obviously this is a key game in the series; when it's over it's either 3-1 Flyers or tied 2-2. Almost a must-win for the Sabres. Nothing in the world is better than Stanley Cup playoff hockey. Meanwhile, the Rangers scored two goals in seven seconds and lead Washington 3-0 after 2 periods. Wow.

8:57: Flyers just had a shot go off the post. Bill Clement is now talking about how Dan Carcillo just made a couple of good offensive plays. They didn't look that good to me. To me they looked like plays a real player would've turned into goals. But hey, I'm not an expert.

9:03: With 5:41 left in the 2nd period the Flyers are going on the power play. They've had some good scoring chances thwarted in the last few minutes. This would be a good time to actually score a power play goal. The way it's been going makes me think they should start declining penalties like in the NFL. (That's a line I use all the time, by the way. And I'm not the only one.)

9:10: Flyers fail on the PP and are now shorthanded due to having too many men on the ice. That declining-the-penalty idea continues to look enticing.

9:15: We're finished the 2nd period with Buffalo holding a 1-0 lead but they're back on the power play -- a five-minute elbowing penalty on one of the Flyers' best penalty-killers, Mike Richards -- just after the last penalty ended. It carries over for 4:57 and will go uninterrupted (barring further penalties). That shouldn't be a five-minute penalty. Officiating in the NHL has been, is, and will continue to be, a joke. Perhaps the league could invest a little of the two billion dollars they're getting from NBC over the next ten years in some referee training.

9:21: Turned over to Versus again. Down 3-0 to the Rangers, the Caps have scored two and are on the power play with 9:30 left. I really think the Caps need to win this one.

9:23: Washington has tied the game. Last night we saw San Jose fall behind 4-0 and win 6-5 in overtime at Los Angeles. Now the Caps have come back from a 3-goal deficit. Playoff hockey! And now, bathroom break to make room for another drink. ;-)

9:33: Third period under way. Sabres on that long power play that may pretty much decide this game. I've got my third drink and some leftover pizza from last night (which will reduce the effects of said drink, but it is what it is).

9:36: Sabres are doing a terrible job on this power play! They're making it easy on the Flyers and the fans in Buffalo are booing!

9:37: The penalty is over and the Sabres fail to score! Huge turning point!

9:43: Caps-Rangers headed to OT. Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay 1:30 away from OT. Overtime in the Stanley Cup playoffs is the ultimate! 12:04 left in Buffalo, Sabres hanging on to a 1-0 lead.

9:52: Flyers still pressing but still trailing. Ryan Miller just stoned Danny Briere. 8:50 left.

9:57: Flyers continuing to dominate play but still trailing. Boucher just came up with a ginormous save on Tyler Ennis as the Sabres had a rare counterattack, then Miller equaled it at the other end. Five minutes left.

10:02: Sabres on a 2-on-1 that became more of a 3-on-1 and Kaleta fell into the net, dislodging it and stopping play before they even got a shot. D'oh! Under 4 minutes left.

10:05 Boucher pulled for an extra skater. 1:12 left. Sabres hanging on desperately.

10:09: Just 32.6 seconds left. A mad scramble in front of the Sabres net but still no Flyers goal.

10:11: The game is over, and the Sabres win 1-0 despite being thoroughly outplayed and despite having a 5-minute power play (that should have been a 2-minute advantage) and failing to take advantage. The series is tied at 2-2 but if the Flyers keep playing like this, and the officials aren't totally incompetent, they will win this series. Game 5 is Friday night and it should be a wild scene. If anyone has a free ticket for me...birthday present, maybe?...

10:14: Rangers-Caps are still going. 7:05 left in OT. Guess I can keep this going a little while since it's not like I have to get up for work in the morning...

10:23: Just 2:29 left in what we may have to call the first OT. Meanwhile, 5:18 left in the first OT in Tampa Bay. Watching Caps-Rangers on Versus; can only follow Pens-Lightning online.

10:29: Caps and Rangers are going to a second OT. Love it! 1:23 left in the OT in Tampa but the Lightning are on the power play.

10:32: Time for another bathroom break, perhaps another drink and the rest of the leftover pizza.

10:43: Decided against any more alcohol, sorry. I'm going to have the pizza, though. Both Caps-Rangers and Penguins-Lightning are in 2nd OT.

10:55: James Neal (James Neal?) scores in the 2nd OT to win it for Pittsburgh. They lead their series 3-1. Caps and Rangers are more than halfway through the 2nd OT. Versus is supposed to be showing Phoenix-Detroit right now. That game is not missed.

10:58: Washington wins it in the 2nd OT and they lead their series 3-1. That was a really strange goal.

Phew. This was interesting and fun. And it kept 40-plus Twitter/Facebook posts out of your timelines. If anyone actually read this, I hope you liked it. I'm gonna go check my usual websites now. Oh, and I still need that pizza.

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