The Flyers went back to kicking the Canadiens asses in Game 4. They won 3-0, posting their 3rd shutout in 4 games. This game had it’s fair share of memorable moments.
Flyers fans back home were pretty charged up even before the game started. Not because we knew the team would come out playing much, much better than Game 3. We were excited because news broke that Carter and Lapperriere would both be in the lineup. Both of them made an impact right away.
Carterhad his rocket wrister going all game long. And he almost welcomed himself back on a ridiculous solo effort in the first. He carried the puck through the middle, going at it alone against three defenders. He completely undressed the d-man in the middle, faking right, going left, and stepped right past him. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to cap off the play with a goal. Other than that, the entire first was pretty tight. Not a ton of shots by either team, no domination, looked like it could go either way. The Flyers defense did look better than it had in the previous 2 first periods.
Side note: The Flyers kept having skate issues all game long. A “mystery substance” was all over the floor in the hallway that they walk through to get to the ice. This “mystery substance” dulled their skate blades, and players looked like Mites on Ice all game long as they tumbled for no reason. Was this a clever plot by someone hoping to get the Habs a boost, or was it just a coincidence. According to this ESPN article, there is an investigation to find out what happened.
In the second period it was all Flyers, as they scored twice and outshot Montreal 13-1. They completely ripped the tiny hearts out of the tiny Canadiens. It was a beautiful thing to watch. First, karma got the Habs back on the first Flyer goal. Giroux carried the puck in on a defenseman that was rendered almost motionless because of his own skate issue. Giroux swung around him like a cone, and roofed a shot over Halak. Halak held the fort down for another 10 minutes as the Flyers continued to fire away. Then, PK Subban made a rookie mistake, and the Flyers made him pay. He tried to do everything himself, as he carried the puck through the neutral zone. As soon as he go to the Flyers line, he lost the puck and it went to Pronger. Pronger turned and fired a pass to a wide open Leino, who was in the spot where Subban should have been. Leino walked in and pulled a sick move, finishing it off by sliding the puck under Halak’s pad for a 2-0 lead.
This simple play showed a lot about what’s wrong with Montreal. They have a rookie playing big minutes, in important games, trying to carry the load by himself. Why did he feel the need to do this? Because nobody else on Montreal was stepping up. And when he did move up, not one person thought of dropping back to cover his spot? This is a team that wins because of defense, and they totally blew it on this play.
Anyway, the Flyers played perfectly in the third to seal the win. They didn’t sit back and let Montreal attack. And they didn’t push forward hard enough to allow an odd-man rush the other way. They simply applied enough pressure to keep the Canadiens back, and kill time off the clock. With the net empty, the Habs still didn’t put a ton of pressure on Leighton. Carter nearly scored, as his simple chip of the boards took a fortunate bounce and headed towards the empty net. A Habs player showed a lot of heart by racing back, full speed, diving, and sweeping the puck away as it was inches from crossing the goal line. He crashed into the net hard, knocking it off it’s moorings, but giving his team some hope. Giroux killed that dream though, as he outhustled Hamrlik to the puck and toss it into the empty net with a bit over a minute remaining.
The series is now 3-1, and headed back to Philly tonight. I can’t imagine how loud the place will be tonight, with a Stanley Cup Finals berth so, so close for the first time in 13 years. In the West, Chicago finished off a sweep of the Sharks, and now the await our series to end. They are in the finals for the first time since getting swept by Pittsburgh in ’92. Chicago, we’ll be seeing you very, very soon. LET’S GO FLYERS!
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