When Mike Richards met with the media after Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Canadiens, he proclaimed to the media that they suffered an “old fashioned ass-kicking” and would need to rebound in Game 4 to re-establish a series lead. Today at 3 PM the Flyers look to do exactly that to avoid going back to Philadelphia with a 2-2 series lead. Like I said in my previous post, the Flyers would probably drop one of these games in Montreal. I wasn’t expecting them to lose as handedly as they did, but I think it will serve as a wake-up call. Matt Carle and Chris Pronger had their arguably worst game as a Flyer as a pairing and individually. They both turned quite a few pucks over and were caught in their own zone in bad positioning. The upside to that? Chris Pronger doesn’t play two bad games in a row, and I’m sure he is not going to be doing that again.
The Habs used their speed to get pucks in deep and chip away at our defense, and it worked in their favor thanks to some hard work and a few lucky bounces. If the Flyers want to go up 3-1 in the series, they will need to win the one-on-one battles and establish their forecheck. It would help greatly to get that first goal and help silence that raucous French-Canadian crowd. My only hope is that they don’t intimidate the referees, because there were a few weak calls on us and a few no-calls on them last game, which could only be do to the building. I don’t want to see that happen, and I sure as hell don’t want our Flyers making this a best-of-three series if the Habs win today and tie it up at 2-2. I’d love nothing more then to shut up those fans early.
One possible lift to the Flyers this game is the return of Ian Laperriere who has been cleared to play and might make his return today or on Monday in Philly. He has been the source of heart and grit through good times and bad times this season, and I would look to him to make some big hits or plays to help us out today. It is not confirmed whether or not he will play only because the Flyers want to keep their cards close to the chest here, which is unsurprising considering we’re this far in the playoffs. Today’s going to be another game in this series, and the Flyers have put Game 3 behind them. If the Habs think they can walk into their own building tonight and win the game easy, they’re wrong. I fully expect a Flyers victory today, but I think it will be a close one. Leighton will bounce back after letting in a soft goal or two last game, and Briere and Gagne will revel in the boos and score some goals. If they keep it simple, crash the net, and get some more shots, they should win this game.