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RD 1: Eastern Conference: #1 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens


RD 1: Eastern Conference: #1 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens  

23 members have voted

  1. 1. Who wins the series?

    • Flyers sweep
      3
    • Flyers in 5
      10
    • Flyers in 6 (Philadelphia wins series)
      5
    • Flyers in 7
      0
    • Canadiens sweep
      0
    • Canadiens in 5
      0
    • Canadiens in 6
      2
    • Canadiens in 7
      2

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I will post series dates and TV times as soon as they are available.

 

image.png.ec17992c0c8e7f023347bcd987eb08ce.png

 

This will be the seventh playoff meeting between these two teams with both teams splitting the six previous series. They last met in the 2010 Eastern Conference Final, which Philadelphia won in five games. Philadelphia won two of the three games in this year's regular season series.

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I can't imagine what a juggernaut this team could be if Giroux/Couturier/Voracek start putting up points. I'm not saying they aren't contributing...they just aren't leading the way. Yes Couturier had 2 last night...but it's been different guys stepping up every game. And that's fine, except I want both.

Don't care if she sings in metric..as long as she sings!

I agree ...If they get scoring from G/ Coots / Jake along with continued balanced scoring from the newer guys this team is a gonna be a real biotch to play against.  I told my wife last night this is the first time in a very long time I am actually excited to see/watch the Flyers play playoff hockey...... As many of us have echoed numerous times in the past, ...it all begins with coaching!   I wanna be greedy and say Flyers in 5 but I think 6 is more realistic. Including the round robi

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I can't imagine what a juggernaut this team could be if Giroux/Couturier/Voracek start putting up points. I'm not saying they aren't contributing...they just aren't leading the way. Yes Couturier had 2 last night...but it's been different guys stepping up every game.

And that's fine, except I want both.

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6 minutes ago, flyercanuck said:

I can't imagine what a juggernaut this team could be if Giroux/Couturier/Voracek start putting up points. I'm not saying they aren't contributing...they just aren't leading the way. Yes Couturier had 2 last night...but it's been different guys stepping up every game.

And that's fine, except I want both.

 

I agree ...If they get scoring from G/ Coots / Jake along with continued balanced scoring from the newer guys this team is a gonna be a real biotch to play against.  I told my wife last night this is the first time in a very long time I am actually excited to see/watch the Flyers play playoff hockey...... As many of us have echoed numerous times in the past, ...it all begins with coaching!

 

I wanna be greedy and say Flyers in 5 but I think 6 is more realistic. Including the round robin games they are now 12-1 in last 13 games!

Edited by pilldoc
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3 minutes ago, pilldoc said:

 

I agree ...If they get scoring from G/ Coots / Jake along with continued balanced scoring from the newer guys this team is a gonna be a real biotch to play against.  I told my wife last night this is the first time in a very long time I am actually excited to see/watch the Flyers play playoff hockey...... As many of us have echoed numerous times in the past, ...it all begins with coaching!

 

Or goaltending. 

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31 minutes ago, flyercanuck said:

I can't imagine what a juggernaut this team could be if Giroux/Couturier/Voracek start putting up points. I'm not saying they aren't contributing...they just aren't leading the way. Yes Couturier had 2 last night...but it's been different guys stepping up every game.

And that's fine, except I want both.

 

Yeah those three just aren't quite there. I know NAK played amazing playing with two scrubs last night, but I would try to get him with Coots. And maybe get Giroux with someone else, to get him going. But it's hard to split the Hayes line up I guess. I dunno, nice problem to have I guess.

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46 minutes ago, Podein25 said:

I would try to get him with Coots.

 

I almost wanted to say sweep but i think they win one so i have the Flyers in 5.

 

I would like to see him with Giroux and Coots.

 

28 Claude Giroux - 14 Sean Couturier - 62 Nic Aube-Kubel
21 Scott Laughton - 13 Kevin Hayes - 11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemsdyk - 38 Derek Grant - 93 Jake Voracek
49 Joel Farabee - 44 Nate Thompson - 18 Tyler Pitlick

 

I'd roll with this. Someone has to play 3rd line RW and i would leave the 2nd line alone.

 

If the 3rd line doesn't show much i would swap Farabee with JVR on the 3rd.

 

 

9 Ivan Provorov - 15 Matt Niskanen
6 Travis Sanheim - 5 Phil Myers
53 Shayne Gostisbehere - 61 Justin Braun

79 Carter Hart
37 Brian Elliott

 

As of now i like the element Ghost adds to the bottom pair over Hagg.

 

It gives that pair more mobility and ability to move the puck. If there is any struggles then you can insert Hagg back in.

 

My 2 cents as a armchair head coach...

Edited by OccamsRazor
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2 minutes ago, OccamsRazor said:

I think goaltending did the Penguins in.

 

Absolutely agree here ....... To bring Jarry in for a pivotal Game #4 is highly questionable here and rightly so....

 

Also they did not exactly light the lamp either .... Crosby / Malkin / Guentzel had exactly 3 goals in 4 games between the 3 of them....  just saying ........

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59 minutes ago, Podein25 said:

nice problem to have I guess.

 

 

 

You have to give Fletcher props for putting this team together although he got lucky not losing NAK for nothing...

 

 

 

Once they get Hayes, Coots, Giroux, Jake and JVR putting the biscuit in the basket they could go all the way to the top.

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6 minutes ago, pilldoc said:

Crosby / Malkin / Guentzel had exactly 3 goals in 4 games between the 3 of them....  just saying ........

 

Yeah and Flyers didn't get any help much from Hayes, Giroux, Konecny, Coots, Jake, Provorov, Niskanen and JVR either ZERO goals...

 

...but they got the goaltending only giving up one goal per game can supplement scoring too.

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6 minutes ago, OccamsRazor said:

 

Yeah and Flyers didn't get any help much from Hayes, Giroux, Konecny, Coots, Jake, Provorov, Niskanen and JVR either ZERO goals...

 

...but they got the goaltending only giving up one goal per game can supplement scoring too.


Touche’  :) you are correct. 

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Flyers’ enviable reserve of quality depth has them looking like a juggernaut

GettyImages-1227968928-scaled-e1596985685327-1024x682.jpg

 

https://theathletic.com/1983746/2020/08/09/flyers-enviable-reserve-of-quality-depth-has-them-looking-like-a-juggernaut/

 

Two minutes and 41 seconds remained in the first period of the round-robin game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning, and Mitchell Stephens hit the ice to take a defensive-zone faceoff against Nate Thompson.

 

For Tampa Bay, a shift against Philadelphia’s fourth line had to seem like a much-needed breather. Over the previous 10 minutes, the Flyers had peppered goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy with 12 shots, fooling him with two of them, and were in the midst of running the proud Lightning out of Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. After killing a Blake Coleman penalty that could have put the game out of reach had Philadelphia capitalized, a battle against the Flyers’ lowest line appeared to be what Tampa Bay needed: a nice, boring shift to stabilize the game, then get back to the locker room to make adjustments.

 

Instead, that nice, boring shift turned into an outright swarm on the part of the Flyers.

 

If a team can’t stop its opponents’ 10th, 11th and 12th forwards from racking up three high-danger scoring chances in succession, what hope does it have against the big guns? What hope does it really have of coming away with a victory?

 

Those disconcerting questions have to be on the minds of 15 teams Sunday morning, as they look up at the top seed of the Stanley Cup playoffs: the Flyers.

“It was a tall task to get that No. 1 seed, and we did it,” Shayne Gostisbehere said after a 4-1 win Saturday night. “We’ve came in here and we’ve been strictly business.”

 

The battle with the Lightning wasn’t merely a winner-take-all showdown to decide the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. It was a measuring-stick game for a team that is testing its limits, aggressively pushing to see just how good it might be. And Tampa Bay loomed as the ceiling the Flyers had yet to break through when it came to their capabilities. Even after emerging as a potentially elite team in early January, the much-improved Flyers still fell twice to the Lightning. In fact, they hadn’t defeated the conference powerhouse since 2017. Before Saturday’s convincing victory, in which the Flyers lead in every major statistical category, basic and advanced, they just couldn’t figure out Tampa Bay.

 

In 2018 and 2019, however, the Flyers were limited. Their top-end players were worthy of respect; no one was taking Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux lightly. But from top to bottom, the Lightning were built for titles in those years, even if the Stanley Cup ultimately eluded them. Philadelphia, as recently as the first half of this season, didn’t have the depth to hang with them over an entire game.

Well, they sure do now. The Flyers have so many useful pieces, they can’t even fit them all into a healthy lineup.

 

“You look at our lineup, we have such great depth,” Joel Farabee said. “(Gostisbehere) and I are sliding in. We have guys sliding out, coming back in. It just goes to show how good of a team we are and how deep we are.”

 

This was always supposed to eventually happen. Former general manager Ron Hextall slowly constructed a prospect pipeline that became the envy of the league — not because it was stocked with future stars, but because no other organization had so many youngsters with viable shots at becoming useful NHL players. But the word “future,” once a promise of better days ahead, became a punchline within corners of a fan base that grumbled its team was perpetually “three years away from being three years away.”

Where was all of this supposed game-changing depth? When would it actually help the

 

Flyers win?

 

Right now, apparently.

 

It’s important to remember that as recently as September, there was no guarantee the Flyers would warrant the label of “deep” this season. Farabee was a skinny 19-year-old who wasn’t assured of a spot. Tyler Pitlick had been traded to Philadelphia by Dallas for Ryan Hartman, a player the Stars ended up not even signing. Connor Bunnaman hadn’t revealed his dramatic skating improvement from over the summer and was still viewed by many outside the organization as AHL fodder. Nate Thompson, then 34, was toiling away at Montreal Canadiens training camp. Nicolas Aubé-Kubel was on waivers, available for any team to nab for nothing more than a roster spot. They weren’t sure things; they were question marks, the types of question marks every team has at the start of a new season.

 

Now, Farabee is more than talented enough to step into a first-line role if necessary and score a key goal. Aubé-Kubel is capable of turning a game on a dime, as he did in the first period against Tampa Bay with his two tallies. Bunnaman is able to slide in for an injured Michael Raffl and help the fourth line stay afloat in the veteran’s absence. Thompson is squeezing every last drop out of the fountain of youth to avoid becoming a postseason liability. Pitlick is constantly flying up and down the ice, and delivering the game-clinching, empty-net tally in the process.

 

The Flyers are now so deep they chose to hold Farabee and Gostisbehere out of the lineup against the Boston Bruins on Aug. 2 and still took apart the Presidents’ Trophy winners. They benched Gostisbehere and James van Riemsdyk on Thursday but still cruised to a victory over the Washington Capitals, who have owned the Metropolitan Division for half a decade. Then, with top-liner Jakub Voracek unavailable Saturday, they can bring van Riemsdyk and Gostisbehere back for an infusion of offense, and watch the former post a 98.22 percent expected goals share at even strength and the latter set up two of the team’s four goals.

 

After arguably his best game of the season, Gostisbehere has to stay in the lineup, right? But what about Robert Hägg, who gave way for Gostisbehere on Saturday after forming an acceptable third pair with Justin Braun during the Flyers’ impressive stretch run? If and when Raffl and Voracek return to action, how can head coach Alain Vigneault justify replacing Farabee, who has been flying since the start of camp? But if the 20-year-old stays in, which winger comes out? Raffl, a lineup staple for years? Pitlick, who continues to impress? Aubé-Kubel, who has been nothing short of a revelation this season?

 

How does a coach fill out a lineup when more than 20 skaters probably “deserve” to start?

“Those are good decisions that a coach has to make,” Vigneault said after the win. “That’s what I expect: that good internal competition elevates everybody’s game. Everybody has to be thinking about the team first and let us make those decisions. But there’s no doubt some players right now are playing well, and that’s very beneficial to our team.”

 

When Travis Sanheim briefly exited in the second period because of an upper-body issue — he returned about 20 minutes later — fans held their collective breaths. But what was the worst-case scenario, that a revitalized Gostisbehere might have to assume a full-time spot if Sanheim were unavailable? Despite Gostisbehere’s subpar season, few teams would call the prospect of starting the dynamic defenseman a nightmare situation, even acknowledging Sanheim’s immense worth.

 

No team is better positioned to withstand the kinds of injuries that might cripple others. No team is successfully attacking elite opponents via relentless waves of pressure to the degree the Flyers are in the early goings. And it’s pretty easy to argue that no team is playing better since the restart than the still-undefeated Flyers, all the way down to the unheralded fourth-liners who made the Lightning’s lives so miserable as the first period came to a close.

 

“We’re excited here,” Farabee said. “We’re ready to go dancing.”

And make no mistake about it — no team wants to be the deep Flyers’ dance partner right now.

 

Nine more observations

2. No team may want to face the Flyers, but after defeating the Lightning, Philadelphia knows exactly who its first-round opponent will be: the Canadiens, fresh off a 3-1 series win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Canadiens have Carey Price, who was back to his old ways versus the Penguins, and a smart, Stanley Cup-winning head coach in Claude Julien behind the bench. But there’s a reason they won 31 games and lost 40 during the regular season. Philadelphia, especially in its current form, will be big favorites in the seven-game series.

 

3. It will likely take at least one playoff series win for the skeptics to stop worrying about Carter Hart in net for the Flyers. But since his first bubble game in Toronto, Hart, 21, has looked at his best, and Saturday was no different. His early stop of Nikita Kucherov on a breakaway was a telling sign that Hart was more than ready for the moment, and his big stops throughout the first period allowed the Flyers to take full control of the game and not waste their territorial dominance because of a couple of breakdowns. Hart was strong again in the third period when Tampa Bay held the bulk of the puck possession, but the Philadelphia defense generally kept the Lightning to the outside during the final stanza. It was in the first period that Hart did his best work. The result was a 24-save performance during which Hart allowed only one goal on 2.05 “expected” tallies.

 

4. Was Aubé-Kubel expressing a little extra confidence in his postgame press conference? Asked to describe the Lightning’s play, Aubé-Kubel noted Tampa Bay was more physical in the regular season, before transitioning to a compliment that was a bit more telling than he might have intended. “It’s probably gonna be a different game when we play them best-of-seven,” he said, but the soonest the Flyers could face the second-seeded Lightning in a series would be the Eastern Conference finals. Philadelphia fans would certainly take that outcome.

 

5. Gostisbehere was a standout all game long. Through camp and into the exhibition game, Ghost’s game was sound but lacked the flash that the defenseman was once known for providing. On Saturday, the flash was back, but not at the expense of soundness. Tampa Bay managed just 0.21 expected goals with Gostisbehere on the ice, giving him a 75.54 percent on-ice share after accounting for the offense the Flyers created with him out there. And he can apparently still make high-difficulty, split-second passes like this one, too:

 

6. Even accounting for the sag in the third period when the Flyers largely focused on keeping the Lightning to the outside and not on creating puck possession and attack time for themselves, they still easily came out on top by even-strength advanced metrics. They held the high-powered Lightning attack to 1.16 expected goals at even strength and 1.84 expected goals in total. Meanwhile, the Flyers generated 2.26 xG at even strength (66.08 percent expected goals for percentage) and a whopping 4.24 expected goals in all situations. Did Pitlick’s empty-net goal inflate those numbers? Sure. But the Flyers still took the Lightning to the cleaners from a shot-quality standpoint. It was a well-deserved win.

 

7. Tampa Bay’s third-period surge did allow it to catch up in zone-entry generation numbers, however. The Flyers’ clear edge over the first 40 minutes in the neutral zone disappeared in the third as they allowed the Lightning to attack, recover uncontrolled exits and attack again. In addition, the Flyers again struggled to prevent a team from recovering a significant portion of its dump-ins. It’s an area they ideally would like to clean up before the first round begins this week.

 

entry-data-4-1024x179.png

 

8. For the first time in the round robin, the top line was truly dangerous on offense. Couturier and Giroux didn’t score, but they were constantly buzzing in the offensive zone. Couturier in particular got the better of fellow Selke Trophy contender Anthony Cirelli in the lead-up to Farabee’s goal, poking the puck to Gostisbehere despite Cirelli having inside position. Vigneault was pleased with his top line’s efforts. “I thought that was their best (top)-line (performance) in the three (games),” he said.

 

9. Despite the strong work of Line 1 in his absence, the Flyers don’t want to be without Voracek for too long. Per the NHL’s return-to-play protocols, the Flyers have not provided any details about the nature of Voracek’s absence beyond deeming him unavailable to play. But perhaps an end-of-game clip from Thursday — spotted by eagle-eyed Twitter followers — could provide a hint. It sure looks like Voracek is trying to loosen up his right shoulder or arm as he leaves the bench after the victory over Washington; rather than congratulate Brian Elliott on the win, he appears to aim straight for the tunnel to the locker room, perhaps to get an injury issue checked out.

 

10. Hart had a simple explanation for the Flyers’ strong defensive results thus far in Toronto, one that seems to explain why they were able to take down three formidable opponents in succession. “I think that’s the biggest thing, we’re outworking the other guy on the race to loose pucks,” he said. Hart has the best view on the ice from which to make that observation.

— All statistics courtesy of Evolving-Hockey or Natural Stat Trick.

 

Enjoy a good read.

 

 

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Sodo they wait and insert Jake back into the lineup?? Hard to break up a good thing....

 

80.90—CF% for the third line

We talked already about Aube-Kubel’s individual performance, but we would be remiss if we didn’t also take a step back and talk about just how good his whole line was last night. In their 8:58 of time together at 5-on-5, the Flyers’ third line of Aube-Kubel, Derek Grant, and James van Riemsdyk combined for an adjusted 80.90 CF%, 96.39 xGF%. and 100 SCF% (no, that is not a typo), positively dominating their matchup on the night.

 

And we don’t really have to tell you that this is a big deal, but gang, it’s a big deal. Not only did this line do outstanding in their matchups, but it’s important to add that sometimes that was against the very dangerous Brayden Point line, a matchup the Lightning were looking for, and they completely shut them down, which goes without saying, but is not an easy task. We’ve been looking for a third line that really clicks, and after their first showing didn’t go perfectly, with van Riemsdyk back in the lineup and back on this line, it looks like they may well be tapping into something special.

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8 minutes ago, Podein25 said:

 

They both played awful, probably among the worst games they've each played as a pro. And we still won, lol

 

And the kids are coming around at the perfect time...

 

Myers +6

Sanheim +5

 

Lead the team. Nice!

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28 minutes ago, Podein25 said:

 

They both played awful, probably among the worst games they've each played as a pro. And we still won, lol

 

How soon we forget the Chicago game in Provorov's rookie year.

 

My bad. you said "among the worst," not, "the worst." See what an 8th grade education gets you?

Edited by AJgoal
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Depth is uber critical in the postseason, Flyers scoring depth is the best in the game playing against a Montreal team who are playing with house money. Flyers in five.

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19 hours ago, OccamsRazor said:

28 Claude Giroux - 14 Sean Couturier - 62 Nic Aube-Kubel
21 Scott Laughton - 13 Kevin Hayes - 11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemsdyk - 38 Derek Grant - 93 Jake Voracek
49 Joel Farabee - 44 Nate Thompson - 18 Tyler Pitlick

 

NAK had a great round robin but I think it's wayyyyy to early to be putting him on the first line.   Jake needs to go back there when healthy.   NAK to the 3rd line wing and let JVR and Farabee fight it out for the other 3rd line wing spot.    If it were me deciding....

 

Giroux - Couturier - Voracek

Laughton - Hayes - Konecny

Farabee - Grant - NAK

JVR - Thompson - Pitlick

 

Give JVR PP time and if he starts scoring again some day, try pushing him up the lines as warranted.    If he doesn't start scoring, or at least start looking like a NHLer and Raffl (or Oscar) is ready to go again, JVR gets the bench.

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I picked the Flyers in 6

Carey Price has been playing well, that's worth a couple of wins. 

The Flyers games vs the Habs this year, were not breeze throughs. The Habs have some guys that play well vs the Flyers and some guys that can just play hockey. There is better than average team speed and they've got to have some confidence beating the Pens in a way where the Pens didn't engage in an elimination game. That was bizarre, was it the Habs or the Pens that caused that effort and result?

I don't expect this series to be an easy series.  I do think the Flyers are the better team though. 

 

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