The Flyers managed to regain the series lead over the Montreal Canadiens and did it in a 1-0 game. Jake Voracek scored in the first period and the Flyers managed to hold onto that lead for the duration of the game.
So instead of recapping a game where there was no scoring, instead we’ve got some pros and cons from the Flyers performance to go over. We’ll highlight good things that the Flyers accomplished and some frightening trends that might be emerging.
Pro: Points from Jake and G
Sometimes all it takes is one to win. Claude Giroux got his 2nd assist of the series, and Jake Voracek got his 2nd goal of the series, which proved to be the game-winner. Robert Hagg also got an assist on the play, which likely divided Flyers Twitter at the moment.
Giroux and Voracek are highly paid veteran leaders and having those two hook up for a goal to come back from a 5-0 drubbing in game 2 is a welcome sign. Your best players have to produce and if these two start getting their engines revving the Flyers will be in a much better position for the rest of this series.
Cons: The Offense Has Dried Up
After Joel Farabee’s game-winning goal in the 2nd period of game 1 the Flyers went 4 straight periods without scoring. They finally scored in the 1st period of Game 3, and then went another two periods without really even seeming close.
They only managed 20 shots on goal in Game 3, and at times seemed unwilling to shoot the puck. They have to avoid falling victim to the trap which can make great goalies even tougher to beat. When the Flyers did shoot they seemed to press for the perfect shot, feeling the pressure to beat Carey Price straight up. This results in shots getting blocked and missed nets trying to pick that corner against one of the best goalies in the league. They have to get back to the simple concept of chaos in front and shots on net.
Look at the goals they have scored. Voracek’s was off a skate. Farabee’s was a tipped shot that created a rebound for him to slam home. Voracek’s game 1 tally was a point shot that was tipped twice and barely got through Price’s underarm. Speaking of that power-play goal…
Cons: The Flyers Powerplay Needs a Jolt
Since scoring in the first game, the Flyers powerplay has been putrid. In the series, they are 1-13 and at this point aren’t even generating shots. Montreal had a bottom five penalty kill unit during the season, and for some reason, the Flyers can’t take advantage of their aggressive defense.
It isn’t just the first unit too. The 2nd unit hasn’t looked any better and has given up shorthanded chances as well. It might be personnel or philosophy but something has to change for Game 4.
Pro: Calm in Net and Blue Line
Carter Hart was in net for four of the five goals that the Canadiens put up in their win. Whether they were his fault or not, Hart is a young goalie who got shelled in a playoff game. The defense also looked incredibly rough, and ultimately Shayne Gostisbehere came out for Game 3, and in came Robert Hagg.
This wasn’t a cure-all, but Hagg and Braun were a regular pair and clearly are more comfortable playing with each other. The pair of Braun and Ghost was one that was especially victimized in the first two contests. Braun and Hagg were able to stay on the right side of the score sheet, and Hagg had the 2nd assist on the only goal of the game.
Ivan Provorov continues to be the lead horse, and Matt Niskanen looked like he’s finally caught up a bit. The real key is the 2nd pair of Travis Sanheim and Phil Myers. They both are starting to look very comfortable in playoff action. The more meaningful minutes they can play means that Provorov can be more effective in the long run. It’ll also help that Robert Hagg can pick some penalty kill time as to where Ghost can’t.
The Flyers haven’t been defensively perfect but they redoubled their efforts. The Canadiens also hit about 5 posts in the game. The coaching staff will need to evaluate the tape and get help going on the backcheck and continue to tighten up defensive zone coverage. If the defense starts playing up to Hart’s level in their wins they should be in a prime position.
The Flyers and Canadiens will resume their series at 3pm Tuesday, August 18th.