It wasn’t pretty, but it worked. The Flyers pulled off a 1-0 victory in game three of their first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens. Even though the Flyers’ had a better overall effort, they still were outplayed in many instances and spent a lot of time battling the Canadiens’ strong possession game. Yet, thanks to the stellar play of Carter Hart, the Flyers were able to pull off a victory and go ahead in the series.
What Went Well
1) Carter Hart
His name has appeared frequently on my game reviews this postseason and odds are this is going to continue. Hart posted a shutout, making 23 saves, including 3 high danger scoring chances. Hart did get some help from the posts throughout the game, but overall his game was stellar. His angles were excellent. He was aggressive and deep in his net when he needed to be. Hart is very much keeping the Flyers in this series and showed once again why the entire hockey world is excited about his potential.
Carter Hart. Corey Crawford. Darcy Kuemper. Jacob Markstrom. Cam Talbot. Joonas Korpisalo. God, have we ever gotten a gift with the playoff goaltending so far this summer.— Catherine Silverman (@catmsilverman) August 17, 2020
2) The Third Pairing
Shayne Gostisbhere was pulled out of the line-up in favor of Robert Hagg. I personally wasn’t a fan of the move, considering “Ghost” is another offensive weapon and can quarterback a powerplay. However, the combination of Hagg and Braun showed improvement and was not a liability yesterday. The Flyers need their third pairing to be this going forward. This at least was a good start.
3) Overall Team Defense
The Flyers looked a lot better defensively and also allowed only three total high danger scoring chances out of the Canadiens in this one. Flyers’ forwards blocked a ton of shots in this one and had excellent defensive efforts across the board.
What Needs Improvement
1) The Powerplay
The Flyers’ powerplay went 0-6 and now they are an abysmal 1-25 in the postseason. The powerplay as a whole looks lost. Zone entries are difficult right now and the Flyers’ forwards are struggling to gain positioning in front of the net. It appears they are well past the time of hoping the current personal and strategy will bring results. The Flyers would do well to implement or at least attempt some new powerplay strategies.
A strategy, such as a winger moving off the sideboards and up to the point at the center of the ice during gameplay and allowing one of the players on the blueline a lane to be open and get a shot on goal. This is one idea, but regardless of what the Flyers try differently has to be better than what they are currently doing. What makes their abysmal powerplay numbers even more puzzling is the Canadiens were one of the worst penalty-killing teams in the regular season. The Flyers are running out of excuses here and need to get a powerplay goal in their next game.
2) The Big Guns Need to Get Going
Overall, the Flyers’ top six have struggled offensively. Their possession numbers and scoring chances were up a bit, but overall they need to get the likes of Sean Couturier, J.V.R., Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny, and even Claude Giroux to get going with some consistency. Thankfully the Flyers’ top line was responsible for their only goal. However, all of their lines are continuing to struggle to create scoring opportunities. They really need to get these guys going to continue to be successful.
3) Maintaining Puck Possession
The Flyers out blocked and out hit the Canadiens and it would be easy to look at both these statistics as positive. However, the fact the Flyers’ led the Canadiens in both these statistics tells us something. The Flyers were forced to block and hit more because they had the puck less. This isn’t a good thing.
The Flyers have thrived in their puck possession game and have the personal and capabilities to pull it off. Going forward, the Flyers would prefer to see their shot totals and possession numbers go up, and their block and hit numbers go down. It would be a sign they aren’t just chasing the opposition or trying to cause turn-overs when their opposition constantly has the puck.
The Three Stars
1) Carter Hart
Hart was solid and posted a 23 save shutout to become the youngest Flyers’ goalie ever to post a shutout in the postseason.
2) Jakub Voracek
Voracek was the best of the Flyers’ forwards in this one, both in terms of counting stats and analytics. He scored the lone Flyers goal and was excellent in all areas of the ice Sunday night.
Jakub Voracek breaks the ice for the Flyers (-135) and gives them an early 1-0 lead— Bet The Pucks (@betthepucks) August 17, 2020
3) Carey Price
The Montreal goalie came up big when he needed to once again. Price stopped 19 of 20 shots, five of which were considered high danger. Overall he had another stellar game, even facing fewer shots than normal.
Other Important Notes
- Michael Raffl made his return from injury, replacing Joel Farabee in the line-up. Raffl had a good night in his return, but there were definitely times that the Flyers’ missed Farabee’s youthful exuberance.
- The Flyers take on the Canadiens in game four at 3 pm ET on NBC Sportsnet.
Watch our instant reaction and top takeaways from the Flyers game 3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens