After that abomination of a Game 2, the Flyers are now up 3-1 in the series.
For a young goaltender’s first playoff series, I do not know if Carter Hart could play any better than he has. Game 2 was a lackluster team effort not to be blamed on Hart’s play, but since returning to the net in Game 3 the Canadiens have not scored a goal.
That is 120 minutes straight of shutout hockey, from a 22-year-old netminder. I was happy and impressed with Hart stealing Game 3, but two shutouts in a row? You very rarely see that in playoff hockey. Seeing how well he has performed so far has me so excited for the future of this hockey club.
Let me not get ahead of myself, as a playoff series is not over until it’s over.
The first period saw the Flyers score the first goal of the game around six and a half minutes in. Michael Raffl sprung a quick counterattack with a pass to Sean Couturier, and then Raffl received it back and went top shelf on Carey Price.
Raffl has really shown his value ever since returning to the lineup. He’s a smart player who can play physical but also has some offensive game. The players that you can slot into any line and they still are effective, like Raffl, are important come playoff time.
The Canadiens did have their share of opportunities to tie the game in the first period, as around under five minutes left the Flyers started turning the puck over. Canadien Paul Byron would have had a tap in, if not for the great stick check of Ivan Provorov.
Speaking of Provorov, I don’t think we have had a defenseman able to eat minutes up like this since maybe Chris Pronger or Kimmo Timonen? Insane.
The second period saw the Flyers extend their lead on a pretty soft goal by Phil Myers. It is hard to criticize the play of Price so far in this series, as he has been really good. However, this was a soft goal and I know Price knows it too. Props for Myers just getting it on net, you never know what can happen.
The game ended with a score of 2-0, but the Flyers really need to come out with intensity and close it out in Game 5 tonight. It would give them more time to, I don’t know, work on their struggling powerplay some more? No seriously, the Flyers powerplay did not score again, they went 0/3 on the night.
There were some noticeable line changes in Game 4 that may carry over into Game 5. Joel Farabee and Connor Bunnaman were inserted into the lineup for James van Riemsdyk and the banged-up Nicolas Aube-Kubel.
Although this was another shutout, the team as a whole played pretty well and really kept Montreal to the outside. Momentum is clearly with the Flyers now, playing confident in front of their young goalie and frustrating the Canadiens offensively.
Montreal’s lack of offensive star power is coming back to bite them, and you better believe they are going to play like their playoff lives depend on it tonight.
Puck drops at 8:00PM, let’s closeout Montreal.
Quickly, I wanted to address the passing of Winnipeg Jets legend, former Flyer and hockey HOF Dale Hawerchuck.
The first overall pick in the 1981 draft by the Jets, Hawerchuck would go on to play 1188 games in the NHL. He scored 518 goals and finished his career with 1409 points, a no doubt Hall of Famer. His stint with Philly was at the end of his career, but he still was a key veteran player who went to the Stanley Cup with the team in 1997. As the head coach of the Barrie Colts in the OHL, he was still impacting the game today. A legend of the game gone too soon, he will be missed dearly by the hockey community.