Playoff Hockey is back everyone, and the 1st seeded Philadelphia Flyers will take on the 8th seeded Montreal Canadiens in game 1 tonight at 8 pm. Carter Hart will face his childhood idol, Carey Price, which will shape up to be a goal-tending match for the ages. Let’s look into tonight’s match-up and see what the Flyers have to do to take a 1-0 series lead.
Regular Season Series
The Flyers faced the Canadiens 3 times during the regular season, taking the season series winning 2 out of 3 games. The Canadiens gave the Flyers some trouble in each game, forcing two overtimes and outplaying them in the final game of the series.
A 3-2 OT win on November 7th (An OT goal by Sean Couturier)
A 4-3 OT win on November 30th (We all remember that Provorov Goal in OT)
A 4-1 loss on January 16th
Although regular season statistics do not matter when the playoffs begin, the Flyers are a completely different team since they last played Montreal back in January.
12th Seeded Montreal beats 5th Seeded Pittsburgh
One of the major surprises during the qualifying rounds was that Montreal managed to eliminate the Pittsburgh Penguins in 4 games to advance. Most expected the Penguins to steamroll the Canadiens, and did not turn out to be the case. Montreal managed to hang around in each game, which ended up being the downfall for Pittsburgh. They could not shut the door on the Canadiens.
Game 1: 3-2 Win in OT
Game 2: 3-1 Loss
Game 3: 4-3 Win (After trailing by 2 goals)
Game 4: 2-0 Win
Carey Price was a major factor into eliminating the Penguins, but was not the main reason. Montreal had key pieces for them stepping up like Shea Weber and Paul Byron each getting 4 points. The Canadiens took advantage of a Pittsburgh team not playing up to their competition, and that is what the Flyers cannot do.
Carter Hart: 2-0 | 1.00 GAA | .966 SV%
Carey Price: 3-1 | 1.67 GAA | .947 SV% | 1 SO
Players to Watch for the Flyers:
Kevin Hayes: 0 G | 4 A | 4 Points
Scott Laughton: 3 G | 2 A | 5 Points
Players to Watch for the Canadiens:
Shea Weber: 2 G | 2 A | 4 Points
Jesperi Kotkaniemi: 2 G | 0 A | 2 Points
Brotherly Puck Keys to tonight’s Game:
Amedeo: Do not let Montreal hang around, shut them down early.
Manny: Score the 1st goal, it’s important not to chase the game with Carey Price in net
Brian: Getting the Power Play Going
Ryan: Defense has to stay solid
Austin: Converting on the PP, and keep their foot on the gas
Steve: Shake Price early and get him on his heels
Kevin: 1st and 2nd line need to produce
Chris: Need to have a good start and score
Katie: Be aggressive in the neutral zone, limit Montreal’s possession
If the Flyers continue to play like they did in the Round Robin Tournament, this should be an easy series for them. It will be important for the top players to get on the score sheet, but depth is the most important thing during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Flyers are one of the deepest teams in the NHL, and let’s see if they can take game 1 tonight. Game is 8 pm on NBCSports Philadelphia, and NBSCN (hopefully no games go to the 5th overtime tonight.
Image Credit: Broad Street Buzz