clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Flyers reach Game 7, look to punch ticket to Eastern Conference Final

New, comments

One more win, let’s go.

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders - Game Six Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

The time has come. After a thrilling double overtime win in Game 6, the Flyers managed to hang on and force a Game 7, and it’s here gang! It’s been do or die for the Flyers for their last two games, but this is the big one. They haven’t played perfect games in their last couple, and it’s even up for debate how much they really deserved those wins, but they got them all the same, and now they’re looking to buckle down, clean up some details, and hoping it can be enough to pull off what in some ways feels like a miracle comeback, and punch their ticket to the Conference Final. No pressure.

Three players to watch

1. Carter Hart

It really was the Carter Hart show in Game 6, and it kind of wasn’t even close. With the amount of chances they were giving the Islanders, the Flyers really had no business winning that game, but Hart was solid and kept them in it long enough for them to finally get their chance at the game winner in the second overtime. The primary hope here is that the skaters tighten up a bit and give Hart a bit more help, but they’re also going to need him to be sold again in this one. He’s had a strong series on the whole, so we’re feeling good about his chances of doing that, but goaltending remains a big piece that the Flyers are going to need have locked down in Game 7.

2. Claude Giroux

The Flyers’ offense as a whole is going to be need to be clicking for this one, so we’re not trying to put all of the pressure on one player’s back, but we’re also going to be looking to Giroux to set the tone (especially if they’re missing a huge piece like Couturier again). The good news is that we saw him doing just that on Thursday, and while he wasn’t able to pick up a goal of his own, he was doing well to generate chances and set up his linemates (including on Scott Laughton’s goal), and overall just looked sharp. It seems like he’s on the cusp of breaking out again, and there’s quite literally no better time than now for that to happen.

3. Oskar Lindblom

And this feels like the big one. Game 6 was Lindblom’s first game back since receiving his diagnosis, and his presence alone was a huge boost to the Flyers in that one. He isn’t necessarily a lock for a spot for tonight's game, but it stands to reason that he may well be given some more reps in this one, especially if players like Seán Couturier or Joel Farabee can’t go. We saw some subtle nice plays from him in his first game back, and it would be nice to see him build on that, but mostly were just glad to have him back.

Are we watching so we can be critical of how much he’s been able to get back to game speed, like we would for another player coming back from injury? No. This one is pure appreciation, if we’re being really honest—we can’t turn away when he’s on the ice purely for the thrill of him being back at all.

Two big questions

1. Can the Flyers play a complete game?

This is a big question in that it kind of captures a lot of what the Flyers are going to need if they want to pull off a win here. We’ve seen the Flyers play some strong stretches in this series, but we’ve also seen them let off the gas with a lead and let the Islanders crawl back into the game, and this can’t happen. This also asks if the Flyers can limit their mental mistakes (and yes, this includes your coach not making an objectively ill-advised challenge on a goal, which leads to an Islanders power play, which leads to an Islanders goal, but we digress). Mistakes and defensive breakdowns have hurt them badly in this series, and while Hart has been stellar so far and mostly able to bail them out when it happened, they really can’t be making his job any more difficult. We’re looking for the Flyers to play a smart game, a full 60 minutes, because that’s what it’s going to take.

2. Is this the end of the line?

Ah yes, the biggest question of them all. It’s win or go home for the Flyers tonight, and we’re all just hoping that the Flyers can pull another trick out of their sleeves and steal a win in this series. This was supposed to be a stellar run for them, and even if it hasn’t been quite that so far, it still has the potential to be. We’re not ready to start our off-season just yet. Here’s hoping we get to keep chatting about the playoffs for a little while longer.

Pucks drops at 7:30 tonight, and you can check out the Flyers’ projected lineup below.

Forwards

Giroux - Laughton - Voracek

van Riemsdyk - Hayes - Konecny

Lindblom - Grant - Pitlick

Raffl - Thompson - Aube-Kubel

Defense

Provorov - Niskanen

Sanheim - Myers

Hagg - Braun

Goalies

Hart

(Elliott)