No. 1 Flyers vs. No. 8 Canadiens
3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS, NBCSP
Philadelphia leads best-of-7 series, 2-1
The Philadelphia Flyers will look to generate more offense against the Montreal Canadiens when they play Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Tuesday.
Through three games the Flyers have scored three goals and are 1-for-14 on the power play. They were 0-for-6 in Game 3, including a four-minute power play in the first period when they had two shots on goal.
Despite those struggles, the Flyers won Game 3 1-0 in Toronto, the East hub city, on Sunday, with goalie Carter Hart making 23 saves for his first Stanley Cup Playoff shutout.
Teams that win Game 3 after series is tied 1-1 are 215-106 (67 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL series.
“I do believe, and maybe it’s my positive nature, but with the people we have and the way we were able to make it click in those last 20 games (of the regular season, 23.1 percent), I tend to believe with these players that we’ll find a way to make it click,” Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault said Monday. “I believe in these players. Our execution right now is a little off, we need to make some minor adjustments. … We’ll come up with a plan. I believe we’ll be better [in Game 4].”
The Canadiens have adjustments of their own to create more scoring and even the series.
“Defensively [in Game 3] we were sound, our goalie was sound,” Montreal associate coach Kirk Muller said. “It’s the other side, where we’ve got to use our skill and our speed to generate more offense. We worked on some stuff, made some adjustments, and hopefully that will tie into [Game 4] to create more offense.”
Here are 3 keys to Game 4:
1. Flyers can’t be too perfect
The Flyers have missed 50 shots in the first three games of the series, an average of 16.7 per game and a significant increase from the 10.9 they averaged in 69 regular-season games.
Part of that could be trying to find the perfect spot to score against Canadiens goalie Carey Price, who has allowed three goals on 81 shots, rather than simply putting pucks on net and fighting for tips and second-chance opportunities.
“I would like to believe that all of our shots we’re trying to put on net,” Philadelphia forward Kevin Hayes said. “You might need the perfect shot to beat him, but I think everyone’s trying to put it on net and cause some rebounds or hopefully score a goal.”
2. Canadiens staying confident
The Canadiens have outscored the Flyers 6-3, outshot them 83-81, and have more shot attempts (196-169), which makes them feel good about things even though they’re trailing in the series.
“We feel good about our game,” Montreal forward Jonathan Drouin said. “We’re obviously confident in what we’ve done, even yesterday with [hitting] five posts. Some things you can’t control. You wish one went in.
“I don’t think we’re down on ourselves today; you have to move on. Some games like that are going to happen when the puck’s not going in. … The confidence is high. It’s the only way we can play. We’re comfortable in our game, we know what we can do.”
3. Flyers’ best players stepping up
Jakub Voracek has two goals, but he’s the only player from Philadelphia’s top two lines to score. Getting more from Claude Giroux (two assists), Sean Couturier (zero points), Hayes (zero points), Travis Konecny (zero points) and Scott Laughton (zero points) is important for any long-term postseason success.
“I think we definitely have more to give offensively,” Couturier said. “I think defensively we’re there, we’re responsible. We have to find a way to create some chances. There’s been a lot of one-and-done’s [in the offensive zone]. But as long as we’re responsible and trying to contribute in different ways when it’s not working, that’s important. We’re finding ways to win games, that’s what counts at this time of the year. But we definitely have to find a way to create more chances.”
Flyers projected lineup
Claude Giroux — Sean Couturier — Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton — Kevin Hayes — Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk — Derek Grant — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Michael Raffl — Nate Thompson — Tyler Pitlick
Ivan Provorov — Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim — Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg — Justin Braun
Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Connor Bunnaman, Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Oskar Lindblom, Mark Friedman, Shayne Gostisbehere, Andy Welinski, Egor Zamula, Alex Lyon, Kirill Ustimenko
Unfit to play: None
Canadiens projected lineup
Tomas Tatar — Nick Suzuki — Brendan Gallagher
Jonathan Drouin — Jesperi Kotkaniemi — Max Domi
Artturi Lehkonen — Phillip Danault — Paul Byron
Alex Belzile — Jake Evans — Joel Armia
Ben Chiarot — Shea Weber
Brett Kulak — Jeff Petry
Victor Mete — Xavier Ouellet
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