The Flyers and Rangers faced off last night at the Wells Fargo Center in a pivotal game three of the Eastern Conference quarter finals. Unlike the first two games the Flyer had the advantage of playing in front of their home crowd, who are just an tough on the opposing team as the fans at MSG are.
The raucous crowd was quickly silenced however when, just like in game two, the Rangers jumped out to an early two-goal with goals from Marty St. Louis and Derek Stepan. This time the Flyers were unable to battle back and ultimately fell to the Rangers 3-1.
Philadelphia registered 32 shots on goal. Only one of them went in. The Rangers blocked 28 shots in the game. The Flyers had some quality chances, but were unable to get the puck past Henrik Lundqvist, who was very sharp. Game four is scheduled for Friday in what some believe is a must-win for the Flyers. If the Flyers want to win game four, they need to do the following:
- They have to get Claude Giroux going somehow. He has only two assists in the series. The Rangers have done a terrific job of hitting him, and shadowing him, limiting his chances. Giroux is the engine that drives the Flyers. If they want to win, they are going to have to find a way to get him going more. If that means switching up the lines, then so be it.
- If he plays, Steve Mason has to be the Steve Mason that was so good in the regular season. Ray Emery played well in Mason’s absence in games one and two. In game three, Emery showed why he is a back-up. The first goal he should have been able to control and not allow Stepan the easy rebound. Mason has a lightning quick glove hand and has superior post to post movement compared to Ray Emery. Mason is going to have to be tremendous and beat out Henrik Lundqvist.
- The Flyers need to be more disciplined. They have had penalty issues all season, and they are starting to take their toll. The Flyers can’t expect to win games if they are going to be killing a ton of penalties. They did a better job controlling their emotions in game three, but have to continue to play smart and not take unnecessary penalties.
- The Flyers power play needs to be better. They were 0-4 in game 3. Head coach Craig Berube said in his post-game press conference that the power play unit needs to find a way to get pucks through to Lundqvist. Many of the Rangers blocked shots came while the Flyers were on the power play. When asked about what the Flyers have to do different on the power play Berube said “Quicker puck movement, more deception. You can’t just one time it all the time. You have got to get it through. You got Simmonds and Hartnell at the net. There good with their sticks. It important to just get it there. All year they have been good at finding pucks and putting them in.”
- The Flyers have to avoid slow starts. In two straight games now they have gone down 2-0 early. The Flyers may have been great at comebacks in the regular seasons, but they cannot do that in the post season. The Rangers are a great defensive team and know how to play with a lead. Poor starts have been something the Flyers have struggled with a lot during the season. They simply have to find a way to prevent those. Claude Giroux said that the Flyers are going to come out hard in game four and tie up the series. A fast start will certainly help with that.