The Flyers are just over an hour away from a very important game against the New York Islanders, and one they have to win in order to level the series once more. With that in mind, here are five bold predictions ahead of the game.
Giroux finally bursts out of the gate
In the 12 games the Flyers have played this postseason (including round-robin play-ins), Giroux has 0 goals and 5 assists. This is not acceptable for the captain of the ship, someone who registered 53 points through 69 games this season. G and his team find themselves in a very tight spot here and it’s going to take some star-power to really push this series back to a level score.
My first bold prediction is for Giroux to break the scoring slump, scoring first and setting the tone for his team to follow and finally capitalizing on all of the created chances that the top line continue to create.
Kickstart my Hart
Carter Hart has had a postseason filled with ups and downs, but he’s been extremely impressive overall. Last night’s loss shouldn’t fall on his shoulders at all. Hart positioned himself well and seemed to get a piece of the cake on each goal conceded, just not enough. If he gets the start tonight, I’m expecting Hart’s wonderkid tendencies to keep the team kicking and screaming in this one, saving .950% of everything that comes his way. His save percentage in this series is at .901%, but is anyone else feeling a shutout?
The Flyers power play has been under scrutiny for a while now, but it doesn’t help when the Islanders only concede one penalty in a game. Trotz has his team playing very smart hockey and when you combine that with an inability to capitalize on the few-and-far-between scenarios where you are a man up, it just won’t end well.
A spark is needed on special teams and if it takes a little bit of sneaky play to steal a power play, so be it. AV has to light a fire under his players today and I don’t think he’ll struggle to do that. My third bold prediction is for the Flyers to score not one, but two powerplay goals.
Flyers Defense turns it around
To put it simply – Matt Niskanen and Ivan Provorov both struggled last night. That cannot happen again today. The Flyers need as much help from their defense as possible – as does Carter Hart. I do think that players like Robert Hagg will come out with some extra juice tonight, while Gostisbehere could feature prominently on powerplays. Overall.
The X-factor here though is undoubtedly Philippe Myers. He currently leads the Flyers defense with three goals and ranks second on the entire team in shots on goal, (26) and hits (31) in the playoffs. The blue-liner has been exceptional this postseason and I’m predicting another big outing from Myers that helps contribute to a shutout win.
Depth > everything
If there’s one thing we can bank on, it’s the depth of this roster revealing itself over and over again, regardless of top-line struggles. From Tyler Pitlick, to Scott Laughton and Nic Aube-Kubel, the Flyers have had no shortage of production from their lower lines and I don’t expect that to change today.
With that in mind, my final prediction is for Derek Grant to get himself on the scoresheet. After he made such an explosive entrance upon his arrival, things have quietened down…but they’ll burst back into life today.
What are your predictions? Let us know below!
Liam is a 25-year old sports journalist from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just five years he turned a hobby into one of the fastest-growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 7,000,000 views and writing over 3,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.
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