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Flyers look to close out series vs. Canadiens in Game 5

Let’s finish this, boys.

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

For the first time since Game 6 of their first round series in 2012 vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins, our Philadelphia Flyers have a chance to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After back-to-back shutouts from Carter Hart, the Flyers are in position to eliminate the Montreal Canadiens from the playoffs. It’s been quite the turnaround since Game 2 where the Flyers lost 5-0 and looked like they totally forgot how to play the sport.

Since that loss, the Flyers have seemingly made the incredible commitment to beat the Canadiens at their own game. The defensive effort has been outstanding, and they’ve begun to find ways around the stingy defensive effort of the Habs. The goals aren’t coming in bunches of course, but they’ve gotten leads and kept them, and at the end of the day that’s what counts.

Tonight, they’ll look to Hart in a back-to-back situation to finish the series. It will be only the second time in his young career that he will have started games on consecutive days, with the only other time coming in his rookie year in a home-and-home with the Detroit Red Wings in which he won both games.

Keys to the game

1. Continuing to push Montreal to the outside

Going back to the defensive effort of the Flyers, a big reason why they’ve won the last two games is their effort to clogging the slot area, especially yesterday.

Natural Stat Trick

If the Flyers can have this kind of defensive effort tonight, and continue to make Carey Price’s life miserable with screens, they should be in business. Montreal will be pressing though on the brink of elimination, so the Flyers need to be ready for this already frustrating team to play against to be even more frustrating.

2. Get another early lead

It’s become clear that even when trailing, this Canadiens team is not going to be in a hurry to change up their approach. Even when the Flyers extended the lead to two, they were still able to control play for the most part and shut down the counterattack. If they get out to an early lead again tonight and avoid having to come back on Price, it would be huge.

Two big questions

1. Can the power play finally finish?

Although they didn’t score yesterday, the power play absolutely looked the best they have all series. If the man advantage can finally bury one and maybe get hot, it would be a massive boost for this team.

2. Can they seal the deal?

It’s been eight, eight agonizing years since the Flyers have been to the second round of the playoffs. We’ve been put through a lot of garbage since then, and in no way should making the second round be seen as the peak for this team, but man it would feel nice.

Flyers projected lineup

It’s hard to imagine seeing much change, so the interesting line combos probably stay.

Forwards

Raffl — Couturier — Voracek

Farabee — Hayes — Konecny

Giroux — Grant — Laughton

Bunnaman — Thompson — Pitlick

Defense

Provorov — Niskanen

Sanheim — Myers

Hagg — Braun

Goalie

Hart

(Elliott)


In case you missed it yesterday, check out our mid-round check in with Laura and Scott from Locked On Canadiens ahead of tonight’s game:

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