The Devils head to Philly tonight, leading the series 3-1 and look to put the final nail in the Flyers coffin. Anyone that follows this rivalry knows that we should see a very desperate and physical Flyers team. In the 4 games that have been played so far this series, I don’t think we’ve seen the Flyers team that knocked off the cup favorite Penguins in round 1. In fact, the Flyers have been playing stupid hockey and have been making the same mistakes that they forced Pittsburgh into making in round 1. I am prepared to see a battle tonight.
There are two big story lines going into tonight’s matchup. The first being that the Flyers are facing elimination, which most people didn’t believe would happen after their domination of the Penguins in round 1. The second being that if the Flyers are going to escape elimination tonight, they are going to have to do it without their leading scorer Claude Giroux, who will be serving a 1 game suspension for his hit on Zubrus in Game 4.
Thoughts on Giroux: Honestly, I was a little surprised. I thought he’d get nothing more than a fine being that he’s an important player and typically you don’t see that caliber of player suspended this far into a series, but Shanahan continues to make us guess at what he might do in any situation. I don’t disagree with Shanny, the hit targeted the head and Giroux was certainly being a baby on the ice prior to the hit but I am surprised he would suspend the team’s best player in an elimination game. I also don’t think it is going to matter much. The Flyers were either going to have their best player on the ice tonight if he didn’t get a suspension or as the case is now, I expect a team to rally around the feeling that they got a raw deal. Either way, the Flyers are going to bring it tonight.
Thoughts on the Devils: What can I say about this team? They just need to keep on doing what they’ve been doing. They played an amazing game on Sunday night and I really have a hard time picking out the things they did wrong. Yes, they need to stay out of the box but the PK looks a lot better this series. Yes, they sat back a little in the 3rd which is something they can’t do tonight. The crowd was amazing on Sunday night, the loudest I’ve ever heard but we don’t have that tonight since the Flyers are at home.
In order to win this game tonight, each Devil will have to do their part. Don’t expect your line mate is going to do it for you. Play as a team, communicate with each other and play a full 60 minutes.
I know its a football movie but I love the line….