Send Them Home Empty-handed
As happy as I was after the 6-0 drubbing that the Flyers put on the Canadiens Sunday night, a part of me can’t help but be reserved. Montreal came to Philly looking for one win, and Tuesday’s game looms large for the momentum of this series.
Throw game one’s goal discrepancy out the window. It doesn’t matter. One win is one win, and as Boston can attest, it takes all four to move on. Did the Flyers do some things that encouraged us as fans? Of course, they won the freaking game by six goals as well as blanking the Habs. However, I don’t expect Montreal to produce an effort like we saw Sunday. As much as I would love to feel that Flyers completely influenced the way that Montreal played Sunday, I simply can’t do that with a clear conscience. Don’t mistake my view, the Flyers played extremely well, making the most of opportunities and shutting the door in the second period and cruising to the finish. However, Montreal looked like amnesia struck them prior to game one, taking idiotic penalties and seemingly forgetting the type of play that had pushed them the Eastern Conference Finals. I sincerely doubt we will see the same team tonight, although I hope we do.
Once again, Montreal came for one win. A series split heading back to the loud-as-Hell Centre is something the Flyers must avoid. Yes, I am aware of the 3-0 deficit that was overcome last round. Don’t be a disillusioned idiot and take it for granted. Win tonight, and the Flyers go back to Montreal up 2-0. Home ice? Preserved. Possibility of stealing a game in Montreal and ending the series swiftly? Definitely real. The Flyers can put themselves in an enviable position with a win tonight. On the flipside, a loss tonight makes this a completely different series. Fresh breath cannot be awarded to the Habs, the approach of ‘sweeping the leg’ that the Flyers took Sunday must return tonight. I don’t know where this thing could go with a 1-1 split after tonight. Quite frankly, I don’t want to know.
The game plan for success is simple. Keep people on Halak’s front porch like they were proselytizing for the Church of Latter Day Saints. Limit Montreal’s good opportunities, and continue to make Leighton comfortable in net by minimizing second chance shots. Basically, the Flyers must duplicate the performance they had Sunday night (and improve as well). If they can accomplish that, the driver’s seat of the series will be colored orange and black. The outstanding effort Sunday should not be brushed aside or ignored, however, the blueprint must be enhanced. Improvements can and must be made in order to firmly take control of the series. The series is 1-0 in favor of Philadelphia, but don’t be content. Just ask Washington and Pittsburgh and their fans how comfortable we should be right now. Stay tuned, stay relentless and stay hungry. They came for one win. Deny them.