Game 4 sure has all the storylines you could want to write about in a hockey game. The goalie duel, the young talent, the chance for the Flyers to take back momentum going to Chicago, Chicago’s chance to put a stranglehold on the series… Tonight is simply big. Each passing day and game makes the next one bigger, and Game 4 is the game in every series were something big can really change the outlook for each team. Don’t expect the Hawks to come out sloppy, because they’re going to do essentially everything in their power to not let this series be tied up. For the Stanley Cup, every game is becoming a must-win, because the situation it puts you in after the first two games is dire.
On Wednesday night… what more can be said about the continued late-game dominance by our guys? The past two games, the Flyers have greatly out-shot the Hawks in the third period and have carried the play. Their conditioning must be paying off because they are wearing the Hawks defenders down and beating them to loose pucks and winning battles along the boards in the third. These games have been tight as anything, and tonight should be more of the same. Claude Giroux was the hero last game, with a great deflection from Matt Carle. The play was similar to the one Carle set up Gagne for in Game 4 of the Boston series, just on the other side of the ice and with a little less movement by the players. I could watch this one all day:
A couple things that bugged me about Wednesday: Officiating and Jeff Carter. Officiating just came down to the call on Carcillo. That really angered me. Carbomb laid what Laviolette called a “clean hockey hit” and was called for “charging”. I was beyond pissed off at that point, but glad that the Hawks couldn’t cash in. Their special teams have been lacking, and the Flyers are starting to click on the powerplay. That needs to continue.
Jeff Carter on the other hand, seems to like shooting the puck into defenders ankles. I don’t know whether he’s still hurting really bad from his injuries or what, but he needs to dump the puck in or get rid of it. Too many turnovers to a great counter-attack team that are waiting to catch you with your pants down is no way to win a game, series, or Stanley Cup. He’s a great shooter, but it really aggravates me when he continuously shoots into the skates/shins of the other team. I won’t go into it now, but I’ve been saying since last year they were going to trade Carter soon. I may not be too far off with that assessment, and it seems a lot of people are coming to that conclusion too. But I won’t go there, we have a series and a big trophy to win first.
Expect JVR to make his return tonight after being benched for two games. Carcillo was not seen on the ice in the third period and overtime, so I see JVR coming into the line-up and reuniting with Asham and Giroux. If that line can get going, it will be a hell of a battle. Speaking of which, Richie and Gags, can we get a goal tonight? Do we need a miracle here for you guys to get on the score sheet?