The Flyers are one win away from advancing to the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The 7th seeded Flyers are one win away from knocking off the 2nd seeded Devils and their Hall of Fame goalie and their overpriced Russian sniper. The Flyers beat the Devils handedly last night 4-1 with two goals from Jeff Carter, a blast from Danny Briere, and another nice goal by Dan Carcillo. The problem? We have some injuries to deal with, of course. Jeff Carter’s foot is bothering him again and Gagne fractured a toe blocking a shot on the PK last night. They will both be out for Game 5 tomorrow.
This comes as terrible news because not only was Jeff Carter just finding his scoring touch again, Gagne has been all over the ice using physical play and his speed to create chances. Richards and Carcillo have both been benefactors of Gagne’s presence on the ice through this series, and Gags has been SO close to scoring numerous times this week. It’s a shame that they will have to be out, yet I think the Flyers are still in a great position. You can’t replace guys like that in the line-up, but they can definitely be back for the next series if the Flyers take care of business.
You’re going to hear the comparisons to 2000 yet again because Brian Boucher and the Flyers are up 3-1 just like in 2000. The Devils came back from the 3-1 deficit to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final and we all know what happened then. The Flyers cannot, and will not let that happen again. They have a shot to do it in New Jersey tomorrow, and another one in Philly on Saturday. Let’s hope they can get it done within those two games because I do not want to be in a Game 7 back in their building. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
The Flyers were heavily penalized last night, especially in the beginning with some ticky-tack calls by the referees. Kovalchuk’s goal on the 2-man advantage proved to be the lone one for the Devils last night. Tomorrow, Ville Leino will obviously get a chance to move into a line-up spot for the first time this playoffs. The question is, who will play the other forward spot? Will Laviolette put Bartulis up there or will he give Riley Cote a shot? Or will he call up someone like Andreas Nodl or David Laliberte who have been called up a few times this year? I could see them giving Cote a shot, but then again I wouldn’t be surprised if they used Bartulis in a 4th or 3rd line role playing forward.
Here’s the lines I’d use:
JVR-Briere-Giroux (Giroux or Briere could switch there)
Obviously, those top 2 lines could be anything. Leino could play with Giroux or Briere as well. I don’t have the luxury of seeing these guys practice and see what works. Lines will probably be known tomorrow but don’t expect them to be set in stone. Lavvy can play some mind games with Lemaire here and set them up for some confusion in their own building tomorrow. We’re not going to be able to get all the match-ups we want due to not having the last change, so it will be interesting to see what is one with the lines tomorrow night. We’re outplaying the Devils in 5-on-5 hockey and Brian Boucher is besting Brodeur right now. One more game of that and we should be heading into the Conference Semi-Finals this year.