Whatever happens tonight in Boston, you have to be really blown away by the performance of Peter Laviolette.
Laviolette came to the Flyers mid-season, taking over a team in utter free fall.
Not only did he guide the Flyers into the playoffs, he has them on the brink of entering the Eastern Conference finals.
And they’re on the brink of the conference finals, despite a sick amount of injuries.
Laviolette’s lost goalies. He’s lost hundred of goalies this season. He lost Jeff Carter, the team’s top scorer. He had to work without Simon Gagne for a stretch.
But Laviolette has responded to these lost players very wisely. He’s bounced Claude Giroux between lines, getting different styles of play based upon what he needs.
He’s used Chris Pronger both defensively and offensively, making match-ups tough. In fact, he’s had his defense active in the offense some nights, and stay-at-home others.
But mostly Laviolette hasn’t been scared to smother teams, specifically the Devils and the Bruins, when it seems he doesn’t have the offensive firepower to win games.
The Flyers often haven’t produced very pretty hockey, but they’ve managed to win, and it’s thanks to Laviolette, who’s coaching has been as big a factor in the playoffs as any Flyer on the ice.
He threw a lot of different schemes at the team and now that versatility is paying off.
Tonight, all of the game seven pressure is on the Bruins. No one expected the Flyers to make it this far. No one expected Philadelphia to push this series to a game seven.
Laviolette has kept his team competitive from game-to-game, never letting them look ahead or consider how depleted they really are.
Win or lose, he’s done an incredible job under horrible circumstances.
And based upon the pressure on Boston, I think Laviolette is going to wind up with another round in which to work his magic.