Playoff hockey returns to the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night as the Flyers host the Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round. The Flyers got the job done in New York and now hold home ice advantage in the series, but let's be real: they still can and will need to play a lot better in Game 3 and beyond.
The Flyers leaned far too heavily on Ray Emery in Game 2, and while he was up to the task, that's not really a recipe for continued success. Asking any goalie to make 17 saves in a period, like Emery did in the second period on Sunday, is just too much. Part of the problem is that the Flyers can't stay out of the penalty box, and that needs to change as well.
All things told, the Flyers need to keep their penalty killers a little more rested and they need to control play more than they have in the first two games. The hope is that returning home will help them do just that.
New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers
Will the Flyers get more favorable five-on-five matchups in Game 3, now that they're home and Craig Berube can utilize the last change? That's the biggest question entering tonight's game, and it really needs to happen, because aside from the Sean Couturier line, the Flyers are getting crushed at even strength by the Rangers so far in this series.
Getting Claude Giroux's line some room to work is really the priority. Beyond that, Vincent Lecavalier has moved up to center the second line again, and the hope is that the unit gets sparked a bit as a result. They looked better in Game 2 after Berube made that swap, moving Michael Raffl down to the fourth line. It'll certainly help if that second line can get some offensive zone time tonight, because it's seemed like they've spent every shift defending the last few games.
The Rangers will apparently make one change to their lineup, and it's a good one for Philadelphia: Dan Carcillo's replacing Jesper Fast in the lineup. Carcillo was hush-hush about it after practice, but indications are that he'll be in. That second line has been very good at controlling play in the first two games, and Carcillo makes them worse. Thanks, Alain Vigneault!
Emery goes again for the Flyers, as you already know. Henrik Lundqvist is in for the Rangers, as you already know. It's a weird 8 p.m. start this evening because the playoffs are made for television. More tailgating time. No worry there.