3 Keys: Flyers vs. Canadiens, Game 3 of Eastern First Round

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No. 1 Flyers vs. No. 8 Canadiens

8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS

Best-of-7 series tied, 1-1

Carey Price will try to help the Montreal Canadiens win their second straight game against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3 the Eastern Conference First Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Sunday.

Price made 30 saves in a 5-0 win in Game 2 in Toronto, the East hub city. It was his seventh playoff shutout, third-most in Montreal history behind Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, who each have 10.

Among goalies to play at least four playoff games this season, Price is first with a 1.46 goals-against average and second with a .954 save percentage, behind Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (.956).

“I just see a well-focused, dialed-in goalie right now,” said Kirk Muller, who is filling in as Canadiens coach for Claude Julien, who is home after having a heart procedure. “I think he believes in the group, I think he believes in what’s going on. I think he’s excited. He’s focused just on himself, he’s prepared himself. You do that and you have the ability he has, you’re probably going to get good results and get the stats that he has.”

The Flyers could have forwards Travis Konecny and Michael Raffl in the lineup. Konecny missed the final 8:26 of Game 2 after he was hit in the left ankle with a puck. Raffl has not played since falling into the boards midway through the third period of the Flyers’ first game in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Boston Bruins on Aug. 2.

Teams that win Game 3 after a Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1 are 215-106 (67 percent) winning a best-of-7 series.

Here are 3 keys for Game 3:

 

1. Flyers bouncing back

Between Jan. 8 and March 12, when the season was paused due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, the Flyers never lost back-to-back games, going 6-0-0 after losses, scoring 5.50 goals and allowing 2.33 goals per game.

Coach Alain Vigneault credited the leadership group in the dressing room for being able to refocus the team.

“I think our leadership focuses us the right way and makes sure that the preparation, the accountability is there,” he said Saturday. “We had a bad game … and we need to turn the page. We need to focus on moving forward here and coming up with our A game [Sunday], and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”

 

2. Canadiens keep pushing the pace

Montreal appeared to be the far faster team during Game 2, with its aggressive forecheck keeping play in the Philadelphia zone for long stretches.

Muller expects the Flyers to come up with a counterattack but said the Canadiens’ focus will be on continuing to do the things that have made them successful.

“Just focus on us,” Muller said Sunday. “We know they’ll make some changes, whatever they have to do. We have to dial back into our group. We have to make sure that we’re aware of what our game plan is, we’re ready and we need everybody when the drop of the puck comes at 8 o’clock tonight. We’ll focus on what we do well and be ready to play.”

 

3. Motivation from Lindblom

Oskar Lindblom took part in the Flyers’ morning skate Sunday, the first time he’s practiced since being diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer Dec. 13. The Flyers could use Lindblom’s presence as a boost for Game 3.

“The group was ecstatic to have him back, even though it was a morning skate,” Vigneault said. “Great young man, beautiful smile, great to have him around.”

 

Flyers projected lineup

Claude GirouxSean CouturierJoel Farabee

Scott LaughtonKevin Hayes — Travis Konecny

Jakub VoracekDerek GrantNicolas Aube-Kubel

James van RiemsdykNate ThompsonTyler Pitlick

Ivan ProvorovMatt Niskanen

Travis SanheimPhilippe Myers

Shayne GostisbehereJustin Braun

Carter Hart

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Connor Bunnaman, Morgan Frost, Oskar Lindblom, Michael Raffl, Mark Friedman, Robert Hagg, Andy Welinski, Egor Zamula, Alex Lyon, Kirill Ustimenko

Unfit to play: None

 

Canadiens projected lineup

Tomas TatarNick SuzukiBrendan Gallagher

Jonathan DrouinJesperi KotkaniemiMax Domi

Artturi LehkonenPhillip DanaultPaul Byron

Alex BelzileJake EvansJoel Armia

Ben ChiarotShea Weber

Brett KulakJeff Petry

Victor MeteXavier Ouellet

Carey Price 

Charlie Lindgren

Scratched: Charles Hudon, Ryan Poehling, Cale Fleury, Noah Juulsen, Gustav Olofsson, Christian Folin, Cayden Primeau, Michael McNiven, Jordan Weal, Dale Weise

Unfit to play: None 

 

Status report

There is no timetable for Lindblom to return. … Vigneault said his lineup, including any potential changes, would be a game-time decision.

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