What to watch as Flyers look to rebound in game 3 against Canadiens

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Two days ago, the Philadelphia Flyers crashed and burned in game two of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Carey Price captured a shutout victory while Carter Hart was pulled in the second period. Between both of the Flyers’ goaltenders, five goals were surrendered. Today, Philadelphia can right the ship. When a series is tied one game apiece, the Flyers have a 48.5% chance of winning that series.

Urgency is the keyword in this game three. After a 5-0 loss, the Philadelphia Flyers are arguably playing their most important game of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs thus far. The round-robin games proved that the team are not a pushover against good teams. Their series against the Montreal Canadiens is different. Philadelphia cannot afford to get behind in a series, especially versus the Canadiens who knocked the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the playoffs already.

Momentum is on the side of the Montreal Canadiens. Throughout all of 2019-2020, the Philadelphia Flyers have shown their resiliency. The last time the Flyers lost back to back games was January 7th, 2020. That was an overtime loss against the Carolina Hurricanes after a 6-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Philadelphia is more than likely able to rebound after such a rough outing.

Puck drop is scheduled for 8pm EST on NBC Sports. The Philadelphia Flyers are currently -136 favorites with an over-under of five.

Game 3 Storylines

Alain Vigneault made it common knowledge that he was less than enthused with Kirk Muller’s decision to put his number one powerplay on the ice with a five-goal lead.

“I saw toward the end of the game there, where Kirk Muller, they’ve got a five nothing lead and he puts his number one power play on the ice. We had embarrassed ourselves enough, I don’t think we needed to get embarrassed more. I’m going to make sure our team is very aware of that next game.”

Alain Vigneault; 8/14/2020

Could it be that Alain Vigneault is trying to create tension and bulletin material for the Philadelphia Flyers? It is the playoffs and neither one of these two hockey clubs powerplays have been lighting the world on fire. The Flyers are built for a comeback. What needs review is Philadelphia’s defensive lineup. More specifically the third pairing.

Flyers to Watch

A lot of the Philadelphia Flyers’ success will depend on the ability to limit the damage from Brendan Gallagher and Kasperi Kotkaniemi. In game two, the Montreal Canadiens were the faster, more physical, and more alert team. Inserting Robert Hagg into the Flyers lineup tonight is a must. He led the team in hits this season. The third pairing ought to feature Hagg and Shayne Gostisbehere.

Travis Konecny will likely miss game three. That is a big blow to the Philadelphia Flyers forwards, but Michael Raffl is set to return. Just before his leg injury, Raffl produced with the Flyers bottom-six forwards. Expect the first line to feature Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Jakub Voracek. That line has neutralized the best players throughout the round-robin.

If Travis Konecny misses game three, Joel Farabee is a suitable substitution on the second line. The Philadelphia Flyers need to limit their penalties tonight. Nate Thompson has committed costly penalties and does not quite match the Montreal Canadiens speed. Instead of Thompson on the fourth line, James van Riemsdyk and Connor Bunnaman may be more effective with Tyler Pitlick.

Verdict

Game two may have been the worst performance from this Philadelphia Flyers team, but making adjustments after a loss is a strength of Alain Vigneault. The Flyers know that they were lethargic last game and are highly focused on game three. My prediction features a two-goal win by Philadelphia. Bet the under on a five-goal game. The Flyers will defeat the Montreal Canadiens in game three, 3-1.

Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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