It feels almost wrong to take a playout shutout from Carter Hart as applicable, just as expected.
But that’s to be expected, as Hart has been the best Flyer on ice this entire postseason (even though he allowed four goals in Game 2). And we assure you, we do not take him as applicable, we just want to mix things up a bit.
Hart was incredible – again – in his second consecutive shutout, saving a performance of 29, as the Flyers apparently brewed on Tuesday after a 2-0 victory and a 3-1 series over the Canadiens. He was a wall in the net, made great decisions, and continues to help make the Flyers an ever-increasing candidate for the Stanley Cup Championship. Their odds – which started in the bubble at +1000 according to the odds of TheLines.com from FanDuel – will get even better after the win. They now need one more win to advance to the second round, and can reach that on Wednesday
But let us not move forward. Before we reach for a winning series, let’s look back at the win of Game 4 and what (besides Hart) led them to victory:
Very happy return
Michael Raffl was technically back a few games ago after suffering a minor injury during the Flyers’ round robin game, but he scored first for the Flyers, the fifth time this postseason they have taken the early lead ( they are 5-0 when first scored), on a wrist shot that was simply impossible for Carey Price:
The goal came on the Flyers’ sixth consecutive shot on goal to start the game, and was followed by a power play opportunity that saw a quality chance but no second goal.
iIt is worth noting that the Flyers shook their lines to try to compensate for the lack of success of their top scorers so far in the playoffs.
Lines stabilize a bit and it turns out that they:
Maybe? At least until there is another round of changes. Flyers honestly look pretty decent so far, at least.
– Charlie O’Connor (@charlieo_conn) August 18, 2020
Through seven games now in the postseason, none of the Flyers of the regular season’s top five goal scorers has contributed one. That includes Travis Konecny, Kevin Hayes, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and James Van Reimsdyk (who was a scratch on Tuesday). Expect to see more line combinations experimented with in future games as Alain Vigneault tries to tackle his score for his top forward.
Thank you so much
The Canadiens make so many useful mistakes, the Flyers will have to send formal tank cards to the North after they win the series. Once again, Philly turned it around in her own end and saw a Montreal player hesitate, wide of not shooting, falling down – do everything but score. It’s just like keeping them missing two feet par putts. Or miss wide open lay-ups. Or throw sure that touchdowns are in the end zone. You get the idea.
Philadelphia provided frustrating turnover, and although their foresight and neutral zone defense were spectacular – and they were usually pretty good when supported against their own goal – the Flyers felt they were turning it over more than the Sixers did Monday night.
Philly remained pretty bad on the powerplay, going almost 14 minutes into the second period before getting a shot on goal in the penalty area. They were shot 28-22 from outside, but Hart stood tall and the defense ensured that many of the shooters were of a low danger level.
Speaking of defense, the Flyers got their second strike from Phil Myers, who saw a shot from deep trickle among Price’s blockers to give Philly breathing room for the first time since the round robin.
Defender’s arrival is nothing new for the Flyers – their D-men lead the league in statistics in the regular season. The unit is also the catalyst for Philadelphia’s offense as a whole, as several of the team’s blue liners led in total shots on goal throughout the entire series with the Habs.
|James Van Riemsdyk||7|
This is either an impressive look at aggressive and talented defenders, as a window into how cunning the Flyers’ typical strikers have been in the bubble in Toronto so far. The Flyers defenders are also blockingka ton shots, which helps in making offense as shots fired by Montreal miss their target and carom down ice.
The defense – led by Hart of course – did not allow a goal in 130 minutes. Can they continue it? Watch again tomorrow at 8pm as the puck drops in Game 5.
This content and the linked links are sponsored by thelines.com and playpennsylvania.com, PhillyVoice.com’s Official 2020/2021 Betting Odds Partner, independently created by PhillyVoice.
Follow Evan on Twitter:@evan_macy
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports