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Flanagan is flying with Pride on the cusp of another cup

If Boston wins their second Cup in as many years, Kali Flanagan would have my vote as MVP.

Michelle Jay

After a less than stellar first season with the Boston Pride, Kali Flanagan has taken over the PHF postseason, and her fingerprints are all over the stories of how they have advanced to the Isobel Cup Final for the fifth time in seven seasons.

With four points (2g-2a) in two games, Flanagan has shown why the Pride were so eager to sign the gold medal winner (2018) on December 2. “Our team went into this weekend with positivity and confidence in one another. We were saying we were going to win, no matter what happens we’re going to come together as a team,” Flanagan said after her first PHF playoff game.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical of the move - not because she isn’t Uber-talented but because of the timing - and I’ll also be the first to admit that if Boston wins their second Cup in as many years that Flanagan would have my vote as MVP.

In 14 regular-season games with the Pride, Flanagan finished with four assists and zero power-play goals. In two playoff blowouts this past weekend, she has already matched that point total and has two power-play goals, plus the game-winning goal in Sunday’s elimination of Toronto. That goal was probably one of those that will go down in history as a great moment if Boston does the thing again.

All of her skills were on display in the play where she carried the puck coast-to-coast like buttered toast, sashayed her way through a myriad of Six defenders, and then snapped a perfectly placed shot over the goalie’s shoulder and under the crossbar. I’ve seen Flanagan play three times in person this season I think, and I’ve definitely seen that skill on display during end-to-end rushes.

“Kali’s a phenomenal skater. We’ve talked the last few weeks about attacking the net. She has great skill, great skating ability, and has a great shot,” said Pride Head Coach Paul Mara on Sunday night.

But that goal that she scored against Toronto sucked the soul out of Boston’s semifinal opponent and crushed their spirit. It came 48 seconds after Boston had taken a 1-0 lead and when Flanagan scored her nifty goal - you could see it on the faces of the Six players that they were thinking, ‘here we go again.’ Boston has now bested Toronto by scores of 6-2 and 5-1 in consecutive playoffs.

Two days before her end-to-end rush, Flanagan was a big player in her team’s rout of the Buffalo Beauts to start the postseason. Her rocket shot from the point gave the Pride a 2-0 lead late in the second period - and it was their first power-play goal of the postseason. The goal was also Flanagan’s first with Boston and you could see how much jump it gave her, not only the rest of that game but also in Sunday’s as well.

“Getting that second goal in that game was huge for our team,” Flanagan said Friday night. “Obviously, being able to score my first goal (for the Pride) at a time like that was really exciting, and being able to celebrate it with my teammates afterward was even better. It opened up the floodgates for us and it was definitely a big moment.”

A week earlier, in the regular-season finale, Flanagan was helplessly in the penalty box as Buffalo finished off an overtime sweep of the Pride. Talk about a redemption arc!

You can watch Flanagan and the Pride take on the Connecticut Whale tonight, March 28 at 9:00 pm (ET) on ESPN2 and TSN2 to determine the winner of the 2022 Isobel Cup and the champions of Season 7.