AV and Flyers players scout the Canadiens ahead of playoff clash

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We’re officially less than 24-hours away from the Philadelphia Flyers’ first official playoff game since April 2018. Excitement is soaring through the roofs of houses across the city after the team rolled through the round-robin without suffering a single loss. Can they keep that up against a very aggressive Canadiens side? Only time will tell, but the entire franchise is very aware of the challenge that lies ahead.

Throwing the kitchen sink

If there’s one thing that the Habs have become renowned for, it’s throwing the kitchen sink at their opponents. Aggressive play is backed up by a never-ending rain of shots from all across the Ice. The Flyers have actually allowed the fewest shots of any round-robin team, giving this matchup an extra element of spice.

Alain Vigneault and Carter Hart both spoke about adapting to this intense style of play, each meeting the question with respect, humility, and a strong sense of awareness.

No, we’re familiar with Montreal and their style of play, their strengths, their speed and their willingness to throw pucks at the net to create those scrambles in front. That’s one of the areas that I believe we’ve improved on as the season went on. We’re going to be tested. There’s no doubt that Montreal did not beat Pittsburgh by luck. They earned that win. They’re going to be ready. I’m thinking they are watching the last game between us and Tampa. They’ve lost four games against Tampa this year and had some real good games against us. For them, they beat Pittsburgh and are feeling good. Now they’re playing against a team that did better than they did against Tampa. They must be feeling pretty good at this time. 

Alain Vigneault

We know that they throw pucks from anywhere. I just have to be ready. Our D and our forwards have been good for coming back for support. We have done a good job of collapsing at our house, collecting loose pucks and not letting them get second chances. I think that’s going to be key in this series for us.

Carter Hart

Speed, speed, speed

The Flyers may well be firing on all cylinders in every aspect of the game, but that doesn’t mean a fired-up Canadiens team won’t cause problems or look to play spoiler against the #1 seeded team.

Sean Couturier also opened up on the pacing to Montreal’s game. His approach to preventing them catching alight? Fight fire with fire and outwork them. It’s about as Philadelphia as it gets, but that’s exactly what it’s going to take according to the Selke finalist.

Obviously Montreal is a team that has a lot of speed and works extremely hard. We’ll have to be ready to play the right way and not cheat. Be ready to work hard. I think that’s their biggest thing. They work really hard, so we’ll have to outwork them. Match that.

Sean Couturier

Speed is very much the soundtrack of the movie here. Matt Niskanen, who is already making his case to be named the team’s best ever player-for-player acquisition , and has been instrumental in the emergence of Ivan Provorov, saw exactly the same on tape along with a potential opening.

They seem quick. It was pretty effective in their play-in series. I think as a team we skate pretty well too. Probably a key would be just be above people, the right side of your checks and be aggressive. If you can kill plays before they gain speed, that’ll benefit us.

Matt Niskanen

The Flyers’ playoff hopes are high, but there’s no time for complacency.

Underdogs

Any time an #8 seed plays a #1 seed, there’s an element of underdog nature to be paid attention to. However, this time around, it’s arguably even more so. The Flyers aren’t just the #1 seed, but clearly the hottest team in the NHL.

The Canadiens entered as a #12 seed for the qualifiers, pushing the $5 ranked Penguins aside to get to this point. They were 10 points off the playoffs at the time the season was paused. It was something Travis Konecny was quick to note.

Just from what happened recently. They’re the underdogs and they got a lot of confidence right now, momentum. It’s definitely something we shouldn’t take lightly just because they are the bottom seed. They are a good hockey team. I think their backend is a strong asset for them. They got a lot of big guys, tough guys to play against. Some skilled forwards up front too. By no means is this an easy task, we’re taking it very seriously. It should be a fun series.

Travis Konecny

There’s plenty to look forward to about tomorrow’s series-opener and we’ll have plenty of content to get you all fired up for what promises to be a Flyers playoff rollercoaster.

Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre

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