The Philadelphia Flyers will have to win or go home tonight as they are on the brink of elimination for the first time in this season's playoffs when they host the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.
They will be doing so without the NHL's leading goal scorer in this year's playoffs, Claude Giroux.
There is a laundry list of reasons given when a team doesn’t perform well: tension in the locker room, injuries, a lack of jump, so on and so forth. The team vows that they’ll play better next time, that they’ll keep working at it, and they’ll be just fine.
That’s a vow the Flyers are going to need to keep in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, after dropping two games in a row to the New Jersey Devils and falling a game behind in the series.
A one-game deficit might not sound like that big of an issue, but with the way the Flyers have played over the last two games, tying the series up seems like a much more daunting task than it usually might.
There have been slow starts, lapses in communication, weak goals allowed, and defensive breakdowns – things that the team has been dealing with all season. After 91 games, it’s about time that they figure out a solution to those issues.
2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Eastern Conference SemifinalsPhiladelphia Flyers ( 5 ) vs. New Jersey Devils ( 6 ) You have to wonder what facing the New Jersey Devils means to the Philadelphia Flyers. They've just come from beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in one of the most emotional series in recent memory, set up by even more emotional regular season games to close out the season last month. If they win this one, they can likely look forward to facing the New York Rangers, another big time Atlantic rival whom they faced in this past year's Winter Classic, to much fanfare. Forgetting how impressive it would be for a team to make the Stanley Cup final going ...
There comes a time for any great player when they find the stage. The stage will be littered with other great players, storylines, history, and much more.
The great players elevate. They show their worth and add notches to their belt.
It’s not because they are just good, it’s because they’re great. A good player can play well on the stage – a great player makes the stage his own.
Game 6 in Philadelphia was a stage, just like the first round series between the cross-state rivals. Flyers forward Claude Giroux made it his.
He set a franchise record for points in a playoff series with 14. He also extended his lead as the top scorer in the playoffs. If the Conn Smythe Trophy were given away after the first round, Giroux would most likely hoist it.
Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos reported on Monday that two Pittsburgh Penguins will face disciplinary hearings on Tuesday morning for their actions in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
James Neal will have two hearings at 10am - one for his 3rd period hits on Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux.
Neal left his feet on the hit on Couturier, a hit that was unfounded and unnecessary as the rookie did not have control of the puck and it was nowhere near him. Neal targeted Couturier's head and left the 19-year-old dazed. Couturier left the ice for a few minutes to be tended to, but thankfully returned to finish the rest of the game.
It looked like a blatant attempt to take Couturier out, but Neal claimed it wasn't intentional.
The NHL fined the Isles last year $100,000 for the brawl game vs. the Pens, but the Pens did not get fined anything despite a player leaving the bench as a sixth skater to join a fight on the ice - which, by the way, means the head coach should be suspended for one game - he wasn't. But owner Mario Lemieux stated that the NHL didn't do enough to punish the Isles for that disgrace of a game.
Keep in mind that Matt Martin and Trevor Gillies received suspensions. They rightfully deserved them, and Godard got the 10 games required for leaving the bench, but the Penguins didn't receive any other suspensions or fines of any kind.
Lemieux, despite the one-sided disciplinary action, still felt that the league didn't do enough.
( 4 ) PITTSBURGH PENGUINS vs. ( 5 ) PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Bloodbath. That's the word that Flyers forward Scott Hartnell used to describe the mindset of these two teams heading into this series. Some of us here at The Checking Line may be proponents of pacifism and the reduction of violence in hockey, but even we get a kick about what's probably going to happen between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in this first round match-up. The two teams set up their series in a game in the final week of the season, and if that was any indication, this one shouldn't disappoint. Expect a lot of violence, lots of scoring, contr...
Hard hitting, desperation saves and a little bit of extra-curricular activities sprinkled in.
Perhaps, it was a look at what the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals has in store for the Flyers and Penguins. 60 minutes of full throttle hockey with the addition of the playoffs, and the hockey world will be in store for another classic Flyers/Penguins series.
Sunday afternoon's battle - as well as one more game next Saturday afternoon to finish the season - was a preview of the almost inevitable 4/5-seed match up between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.