The Flyers have lived on the edge in their two wins over Montreal in this playoff series, holding on like a palm tree in a hurricane.
They’ve had opportunities to put some space between themselves and the Canadiens, but they just can’t convert. The power play has been particularly disappointing. Make that impotent.
“What’s our stat right now?” Jake Voracek asked. “One for what?
Since the season restarted, the Flyers have had more than 42 minutes of power-play time and have scored once. Even that was a fluky point shot in Game 1 of this series that glanced off Voracek and went by Carey Price. That’s three games against Montreal, and one each against Boston, Washington, and Tampa Bay.
The Flyers were 14th in the NHL on the power play during the regular season, firmly in the middle of the pack with a respectable conversion rate of nearly 21%. In the postseason, that rate is 4%.
NBC analyst Mike Milbury took more shots at the Flyers’ futility than the Flyers did on Price in Game 3. In 11 minutes, 38 seconds of power-play time, Philadelphia was credited for three shots on goal — none in its final three man-advantage chances.
“There’s no doubt that our power play needs to get better,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “We’ve got a day here [Monday] to look at a couple of things. It’s not [for lack of effort]. Give Montreal some credit. They did a great job of killing those penalties. We have to make a few adjustments, and we’ll look to do that.”
The Flyers were just 4-for-9 on power-play faceoffs Sunday in their 1-0 victory in Game 3, so possession was one problem. When they did have the puck, they often were unable to get set up. It will be interesting to see what those fixes will be since their only practice is Monday ahead of Game 4 (Tuesday) and Game 5 (Wednesday).
“We’re up, 2-1, but when you get so many opportunities in a close game like that — the first game, and the game [Sunday] — you don’t want to [waste] any chances,” Voracek said.
These missed power-play opportunities shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Montreal has been a thorn in the Flyers’ paw all season. Twice the Canadiens took Philadelphia to overtime, and they beat the Flyers by three goals in January. In those three games, the Flyers were 0-for-12 on the power play.
So, it’s 1-for-25 since the season restarted, and 1-for-26 now against just the Canadiens this season. The Flyers have come up empty in their last 13 chances, and Price’s save percentage this season against the Flyers while his team is shorthanded is a ridiculous .976.
And yet the Flyers still lead the series.
“We need to sit down, and we need to figure it out,” Voracek said. “I’m not going to lie — it’s a little bit frustrating. That’s for sure.”
The NHL announced Monday morning that Wednesday’s Game 5 will face off at 8 p.m. Game 4 is Tuesday at 3 p.m. Both games will be on NBCSP and NBCSN.