Flyers vs. Rangers, Game 4 preview: Evening the score

Bruce Bennett

The Flyers look to even the series before heading to back to New York.

After dropping their first home playoff game in over a year, the Flyers look to even the score against the New York Rangers. If they don’t, we’re in a bit of trouble.

Heading into Game 3, we were all hoping that home ice would put a little spark in the Flyers. That kind of happened, at least in terms of possession and shot attempts. Goals? Not so much.

Of course, a lot of chatter came out about the Flyers’ lack of effort in that game, which is frankly nonsense. The Rangers were handily outplayed, but thanks to lucky bounces that went their way and some iffy goaltending, they still got the win over the Flyers. Despite the fact that our boys didn't emerge victorious, there was lots to be happy about, and hopefully that carries over into tonight’s game.

Rangers_blue_mediumFlyers_orange_medium

New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers
Game 4, Eastern Conference First Round | Rangers lead, 2-1
7 p.m. ET | Wells Fargo Center | South Philadelphia
In Philly on on CSN Philly, 97.5 The Fanatic | In New York on MSG
Nationally on CNBC (US) and TSN (Canada)
Live online stream at NBCSports.com (US) and TSN.ca (Canada)

It’s amazing how much has happened since the Flyers last played.

First, and perhaps most notably, is the news that Steve Mason will return to the lineup tonight. Emery didn’t look too great in Game 3, so that’s certainly good news, but I think we should be careful not to blow it out of proportion. I noted in BSH radio earlier this week that Mason is not that much of an improvement over Emery, and if goaltending ends of being the difference maker of the series, we were doomed from the start. I’ll be thrilled if I’m wrong, though.

We also got the news yesterday that the Flyers have recalled their top forward prospect Scott Laughton. Laughton hasn’t played in a Flyers sweater since last season, but since then, he’s emerged as a top level talent in the OHL. It remains to be seen whether or not he actually ends up lacing them up this playoff season, but regardless, having that option is something you have to like. For my money, pulling Zac Rinaldo in favor of Laughton can only result in good things. Berube, for the record, said it won't happen in Game 4.

Yesterday we noted (facetiously and seriously) that Berube’s coaching decisions have been a bit odd lately. Both the top line and top defensive pairing have seen limited minutes as of late, which is curious given the ineffectiveness of the rest of the team. The Flyers need to start relying on their workhorse players, while also pushing to get contributions from their second and third lines.

My inclination is that if the Flyers carry over their play from Game 3, this should end well for them. Hopefully the Rangers don’t steal this one, because if they do, we’re pretty much toast. I’m not saying that they couldn’t end up winning the series after being down 3-1, but … yeah I’m saying that.

Game starts at 7. Rangers suck. Go Flyers.

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