For the Philadelphia Flyers, Game 4 on Friday night means it is time to put up or shut up.
The orange and black are down 2-1 in the series to the New York Rangers. After being embarrassed by a 4-1 score on their own ice, all of the pressure is on the Flyers. It is situations like these, that reveal a team’s and a player’s true character.
Who will set the tone? Who will make the big hit? The big save? The big goal? When the final horn sounds, we will all know.
Players like Claude Giroux live for these kinds of games. It is what drives them. If you need a refresher of that, search “Claude Giroux The Shift,” and you’ll be reminded of what our captain is capable of doing.
Giroux will not be able to do this on his own. He will lead the way but his teammates need to follow suit and play with the same passion and intensity. If the second and third lines can produce, the Flyers will go back to Madison Square Garden with a tied series.
Steve Mason will make his first start of the playoffs Friday night after missing the final game of the regular season and the first three games of the series. The Rangers will likely send a barrage of shots at Mason because of his extended respite. It will be up to the Flyers to make sure Mason is not tested. The forwards will need to backcheck and the defense cannot allow the Rangers to have any kind of sustained pressure in their zone.
Despite a 4-1 loss, there were some positive aspects from Game 3. The Flyers did have phases of sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Unfortunately, most of their shots were fired into the pads of the Rangers. Even when their shots got through to Henrik Lundqvist, he had a response for all but one.
During Game 3, the Flyers were given five power play opportunities but were unable to convert on any of them. That must change in Game 4.
The fans at the Wells Fargo Center will provide an electric atmosphere. Giroux and Co. need to feed off of the crowd and score early to put the Rangers on their heels. If the Rangers score first, the game will be decided on how the Flyers respond. Will the fall back, or will they attack?