The Flyers get back on their home ice tonight in a must win game in the 2nd round of the playoffs against the Bruins, who currently hold a 2-0 series lead.
The first two games of the series, both in Boston, have been fairly evenly matched, with the Flyers playing well for stretches and the Bruins playing well for stretches. Unfortunately, the Flyers have been playing catch up in both games, and then unable to keep their momentum going at the end of games. The Bruins got a fortuitous bounce of the puck in overtime in Game 1 to win that game, and then got another bounce with the puck ending up in front of the net that they scored with less than 3 minutes left in Game 2.
Both games really could have gone either way, and the Flyers are unfortunate to be down 2-0, but they are down 2-0 nonetheless. Getting back in front of the home crowd should do a lot for the Flyers, and help them get back in the series. The Flyers won both home games in their first round series, also Games 3 and 4, and will need to do the same against the Bruins, or else they will have to come back from a 3-1 deficit.
The work starts tonight in Game 3. The Flyers need to get some contributions from players they wouldn’t normally get them from with the injuries. Carter, Gagne, and Laperriere remain out with injuries. Scott Hartnell also has yet to show up in the playoffs, but it’s not due to injury, it’s due to the fact that he sucks all of a sudden. Mike Richards, Chris Pronger, and Brian Boucher have been the 3 best Flyers throughout the playoffs so far probably. Boucher did not have a very good Game 2, and should have not let in a couple of the Bruins goals that game, but overall has been solid. Boucher will need to step it up back at home. Danny Briere really found his game at the end of the Devils series, and has continued it into this series. Claude Giroux has also been a beast, and Ville Leino had a very good Game 2 assisting on both Flyers goals.
The Flyers need to continue to rely on these guys, but also need Giroux to step it up in this series, as he did all of his damage so far in the Devils series. Also, even though he is young, JVR needs to step it up as well, as he has a lot of skill and is flying around the ice, just has not produced the point results. It is unfortunate that Scott Hartnell has been killing this team with his play, but he has just been awful. He looks like he forgot how to play hockey. I would be calling for Hartnell to be a healthy scratch, but that is not really feasible with all the injuries.
Either way, no matter who it is, the Flyers need everyone to elevate their game to win these next 2 games. You want to pull out a solid win tonight, you don’t want a game that is 2-2 towards the end and anything can happen. Also, the Flyers need to get the first goal tonight, and not play from behind. Both games, the Bruins have gotten on the board early in the first period, and that cannot happen tonight.