After an embarrassing Game 3 loss last night, the Flyers hope to rebound tonight in a pivotal Game 4. Should the Flyers win, the series is tied and it becomes a best of three, if they lose though, they face elimination and will have lost back-to-back games for the first time since January. This is, without a doubt, the biggest game of the Flyers’ season. They’ve bounced back from these kinds of losses seemingly all year, so why stop now?
Three players to watch
1. Claude Giroux
I know this is back-to-back games with Giroux as a player to watch, but it’s hard to ignore. The captain still doesn’t have a goal throughout the playoffs, and needs to step up if this team is going to advance. He’s not the only one who needs to come through, and we’ll get to that, but he’s the captain of this team. Myself and others have defended him for years saying how he along with the top six dragged this team kicking and screaming into the playoffs multiple years, only to have run out of gas by the time the playoffs came. This year? No excuses. The depth is as good as its ever been, it’s time for Giroux to rise to the occasion.
2. Carter Hart
This is the second time Hart will be starting in both games of a back-to-back in these playoffs, and he’s going to need to be better than the first time around. In Game 5 vs. Montreal he wasn’t particularly sharp, and the Flyers wound up losing before taking Game 6 and the series. Now, after a “just okay” Game 3 vs. the Islanders, Hart needs to be great tonight. His team needs to help him out, something they haven’t really done all series, but this is a huge test for the young goaltender.
3. Ivan Provorov
Provorov has been the steady force on the blue line all season, having arguably his best season as a pro. He’s struggled in this series however along with almost everyone on defense, so a shut down game from him would go a long way. The big guns for the Flyers need to step up tonight and show why they deserve their big paychecks.
Two big questions
1. Will the top six finally take control of a game?
It has to happen at some point, right? We thought they were turning a corner with their Game 2 first period, but then the rest of the game happened. This top six needs to dominate a game from start to finish and see legitimate results.
2. Can they finally play a full 60 minutes?
They haven’t done this much at all in these playoffs, and now they need to.