The Flyers were able to claim a 1-0 victory over the Canadiens in Game 3 of their first-round series, and took a 2-1 lead over Montreal on Tuesday of the Game 4 matinee in the Toronto bubble.
It was not the nice win for the Flyers, but it was a big one nonetheless, as the Orange and Black needed to regain control of the series and prevent them from falling behind a team that many expected them to would easily get around in the first round. But just because the Canadiens entered the bubble as the 12th overall seed of the Eastern Conference, does not mean they should be taken lightly. After all, they sent the Penguins out in the playoffs and when Carey Price is on, he’s extremely hard to beat.
Nevertheless, the Flyers, despite outsourcing 6-3 overall in the series, have the lead and will place some more distance between themselves and Montreal on Tuesday afternoon. If they can win that game, they will have the chance to revive the series on Tuesday night in Game 5. If not, the series could swing completely, and it could be the Canadiens in control by the time you wake up on Thursday.
In the meantime, let’s see what they say about the Flyers before embarking on these important back-to-back games …
Habs hit on their own game
Charlie O’Connor | The Athletic
There may be a reason the Flyers don’t quite look like they did in the round robin games – or even in the regular season for that matter. That’s because her opponent dictated the kind of series this has been. As Charlie O’Connor of The Athletic writes, it’s actually impressive that the Flyers have been able to beat the Canadiens twice on their own game, a game they’m specifically designed to thrive on.
Unfortunately, if the Flyers do not change things, this series will not be much nicer soon.
So for the opportunity in Sunday’s Game 3 to lose control of the series to a team that many expected to be eliminated in short order, the Flyers did not blind Montreal to their skill advantage. They did not whisper to their opponent with the dynamic offensive attack that scored seventh in goals per game in the regular season. Instead, 60 minutes into a 1-0 Game 3 victory, the Flyers worked out Montreal. They put Montreal out under pressure. They have Montreal goal.
In essence, they are publishing Montreal-ed Montreal. …
If this is the kind of series it will be the rest of the way, then it will not be aesthetically pleasing. Only one goal was scored on Sunday – a perimeter shot from Claude Giroux turned Jakub Voracek’s beautiful-in-the-heuliness deflection five minutes into the first period. Other than that, there were only 11 high-scoring chances the rest of the game, per Natural Stat Trick. The clubs combined for 43 total shots on goal, and 2.50 expected goals on even power, per Evolving-Hockey. Philadelphia and Montreal squander a combination of nine power-play opportunities, mostly in car-crash-like fashion. This game was about disruption, not about creation; frustration, unsatisfactory catharsis. …
Some might get away from Game 3 thinking the Flyers were unpacked again, but that’s not what the numbers say. Even putting their 6-3 advantage into power play opportunities – which was largely driven by the high-energy approach that drew penalties in the first place – Philadelphia finished with more regular scoring opportunities (17-15) on even force. It ended with chances with more danger (5-4). It had more score-adjusted expected goals on equal strength (1.42-1.08) and in all-situations (2.13-1.43).
The Flyers were not happy with this win. Hart did not steal it from her. Shift by shift, inch by inch, they deserve it. [theathletic.com]
And for those skeptics that Charlie referred to above, he put together a fun Twitter thread on Monday to show his followers that no matter how ugly it looked, the Flyers actually put together a pretty impressive win in Game 3.
A few things on yesterday’s game, to counter what looks like a flurry of complaints about the Flyers in the wake of what I considered a pretty damn impressive victory: (thread)
– Charlie O’Connor (@charlieo_conn) August 17, 2020
2. A good self-test here is your view of the 3rd period. If your first thought was that the Flyers were touring and parking, then evaluate that again. PHI led in scoring chances 9-3 in the last 20 minutes. They gave very little & created more than you might have thought. Good period.
– Charlie O’Connor (@charlieo_conn) August 17, 2020
4. Yes, the PHI offense / PP has not been good. Ideally, they would roll (especially the PP). But teams that win only one way cannot go far. The last 2 games they were forced to play this bleh style if they wanted to win. Last night they proved they could. That’s important.
– Charlie O’Connor (@charlieo_conn) August 17, 2020
Heart is ‘forgettable’ – in a good way
Sam Carchidi | Inquirer.com
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the Flyers’ two wins in this series that a big part of the reason they have a 2-1 lead is their game now 22 years old -Old goalkeeper, Carter Hart. The shutout was also not the most impressive thing about his Game 3 performance, it was the fact that it came on the heels of a 5-0 defeat in which Hart was drawn late in the second period.
Are you coming back to deliver a clean sheet? That’s what you would expect from the man on the other end of the ice (Carey Price), not from the child who grew up and idolized him.
“We were able to fathom it, and Carter made some big savings,” said coach Alain Vigneault. ‘… It was difficult to make offensive plays. Both teams did not give much space on the ice. You need to figure this out. ‘
Hart robbed Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who only came in after a mishandling of Ivan Provorov, to maintain the win with 50.4 seconds left.
In the previous game, Hart, though not on the blame, was drawn late in the second period as the Flyers fell behind, 4-0.
‘It’s good that he’s a little too forgetful for some things [like] be a goalkeeper in Philadelphia, ”cracked Voracek. “He is mentally strong. He’s pretty impressive the way he jumps back. Do good deeds. ”
‘I just have to do my job. That’s where it comes down to at the end of the day, ‘Hart said. “We have a great crew ahead of us that makes my job a lot easier.” [inquirer.com]
Jordan Hall | NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Flyers may have had a little extra motivation on Sunday night than forward Oskar Lindblom, who completed his cancer treatment earlier this summer with the team for their morning skate in Toronto.
There’s a chance that Lindblom will return to the ice when the team is still playing in September, but just putting him through practice seems to provide a bit of a lift, and possibly help turn the page on that 5-0 loss. Friday to turn. There is no way to show that Lindblom did not provide a bit of a reliable perspective on what is really important …
Just ask head coach Alain Vigneault what it means to have Lindblom in the center of the ice-skating regions after Sunday morning skating, after the show of powerful stick cranes from his teammates.
The coaches were almost in tears, “Vigneault said in a video interview. When you think about all that Oskar has been through, all that our team has been through, shows the support and goes through the different stages, to have him back – each team has a team stretch at the end where a lot of times remarks are made about certain things, but today it was all about Oscar and the excitement of having him back with our group.
“Today was his first official time skating with his teammates since the news [of his diagnosis]. I think he was really nervous, really excited to be back with the group. The group was apparently ecstatic to have him back, even though it was just a morning skate. Great young man, beautiful smile, glad he ran him.
Perfect timing, also for both the Flyers and Lindblom. The Flyers are in the middle of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series with the Canadiens, a set that was tied 1-1 entry in Game 3. Sunday night, Lindblom just enjoyed his birthday and has long been busy (and recently waited) to get involved with the boys. [nbcsports.com]
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Flyers went out and won that night.
Know your enemy
Stu Cowan | The Montreal Gazette
And now, let’s take a look at what she’s saying in Montreal, where one of the leading scorers of the Canadiens has yet to find the back of the net in the bubble … and the frustration is starting to fade.
Gallagher did not score when the Canadiens eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in four games in the qualifiers this year and after Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, he has now gone three games without scoring in their first round playoff series .
“Frustrated for sure,” Gallagher said after the game, which gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. ‘But no sense in forgetting yourself. You had to find a way to fight through. I’ve always believed that you should try to frustrate the urge … it’s a disgusting emotion.
“Of course I’m an emotional player,” Gallagher added. ‘You had to control that side of it. It’s not so much the process now, it’s more the results. But it’s frustrating because the guys there are dropping their bags and you want to be able to contribute and help them. A game like today, where it’s as tight as it is, I’m put in positions to produce and that’s my role on this team. You can say all the right things, you can be in all the right places, but if you do not get results, then you just have to find a way to work through and that is where I am at the moment. I would lie if it was not frustrating, but the next change you do the same things you have done your whole life and you find a way to just get kind of power through it. “
The Canadiens outshot Philadelphia 23-20 and their penalty kick unit was fantastic as the Flyers went 0-for-6 on the power play, including a four-minute chance in the first period when Jesperi Kotkaniemi got a double minor for high-ranking former teammate Nate Thompson. The Canadiens went 0-for-3 on their power play. [montrealgazette.com]
Staff | NHL.com
Speaking of players who have yet to find the back of it, the Flyers have more than a few. One of them is Kevin Hayes, but the people at NHL.com have polled him as one of their daily fantasy picks for Tuesday. Could he lower his score?
Kevin Hayes, PHI (vs. MTL) The Philadelphia Flyers Center is still looking for its first postseason goal (none on 12 shots on goal in six postseason games) and has not scored a point in the past four games, but is still leading in assists (four; all; simultaneous strength). Hayes brings exposure to valuable right wing Travis Konecny, who led the Flyers to scoring in the regular season (61 points in 66 games), on equal strength and appeals to a thin position on this lead against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 . [nhl.com]
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