If the Flyers aren’t careful, the Canadiens will go from a quaint 12th-seeded annoyance to a full-on problem in a hurry.
If the Flyers had an Achilles’ heel in the regular season, it was the first period when they were a -7, the only frame they were on the wrong end of the critical goal-differential statistic. They were +3 in the round robins, but the play wasn’t nearly as intense as what Montreal faced against Pittsburgh in the elimination qualifying round.
“Maybe they’ll be a little bit more ready than us early on,” acknowledged Flyers captain Claude Giroux. “I mean the round robins wasn’t not intense. It was still pretty good. It was more intense than a regular-season game, I would say. It’ll be interesting to see.”
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— Ed Barkowitz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Series odds: Flyers -220/Montreal +190
The Habs won’t be a pushover by any means, but Carter Hart can equal Carey Price, and the Flyers are the much better all-around team.
Flyers in 6.
— Sam Carchidi
One thing that should work in the Flyers’ favor is that Montreal gave them three tough games during the regular season. There would be no excuse to come out flat.
The Flyers can certainly lose this series. One look at last year’s upsets of Tampa Bay and Calgary is proof enough. But they have too much depth and, frankly, a resiliency that is refreshing. Big series for Travis Konecny.
Flyers in 5.
— Ed Barkowitz
The Flyers are built from back to front, with precocious goalie Carter Hart and six versatile, steady defensemen. As such, they are defense-first front to back, led by Selke Trophy finalist Sean Couturier, the team’s best player; Scott Laughton; and Kevin Hayes. Even Jake Voracek finished the season a career-best plus-14.
This style of play currently might be overshadowed by the offensive excitement the second line — Laughton, Hayes, and All-Star wing Travis Konecny — is generating as well as the built-in drama of Hart facing his idol, Carey Price. It shouldn’t. The Canadiens are scoring 2.50 goals per game in the restart, and averaged 2.93 goals in the regular season, 19th in the league.
That won’t get it done against a Flyers team that ranked seventh in fewest goals allowed in their 69 regular-season games and gave up a total of three goals in the round-robin games, a 1.00 average that led the 24-team bubble.
Flyers in 6.
— Marcus Hayes
If you’re a Flyers fan of a particular age and with a good memory, you already know that this is exactly the sort of series that once drove you crazy. Dominik Hasek and the Sabres, John Vanbiesbrouck and the Panthers, Curtis Joseph and the Maple Leafs: There were plenty of occasions in postseasons past when the Flyers could have or should have advanced and didn’t because the opposing goaltender either elevated his team’s play or stole the series outright.
The Canadiens’ Carey Price is such a goaltender, and his team is playing with nothing to lose. Still, these Flyers have shown no indication that the bugaboos that once plagued the franchise will affect them.
Flyers in 6.
— Mike Sielski
1-Flyers (-220) vs. 8-Canadiens (+190)
Carchidi: Flyers in 6
Barkowitz: Flyers in 5
2-Tampa Bay (-240) vs. 7-Columbus (+200)
Carchidi: Tampa Bay in 7
Barkowitz: Columbus in 7
3-Washington (-170) vs. 6-N.Y. Islanders (+145)
Carchidi: Islanders in 6
Barkowitz: Washington in 6
4-Boston (-160) vs. 5-Carolina (+140)
Carchidi: Carolina in 7
Barkowitz: Carolina in 6
If Carchidi is right, the Flyers would play the Islanders in the second round.
If Barkowitz is right, the Flyers would play Columbus in the second round.
1-Vegas (-340) vs. 8-Chicago (+270)
Carchidi: Vegas in 5
Barkowitz: Vegas in 6
2-Colorado (-300) vs. 7-Arizona (+230)
Carchidi: Colorado in 6
Barkowitz: Colorado in 5
3-Dallas (-115) vs. 6-Calgary (-105)
Carchidi: Dallas in 6
Barkowitz: Dallas in 7
4-St. Louis (-210) vs. 5-Vancouver (+180)
Carchidi: St. Louis in 5
Barkowitz: St. Louis in 6
Note: Odds via William Hill as of Monday evening. Lines based on $100 wagers. To win $100 on the Flyers (-220), a bettor must wager $220. For a $100 bet on the Canadiens (+190), a winning bet would pay $190.
I read your piece today on Carter Hart and his inability to get started on a proper playoff beard. That observation reminded me of an old (and not very good) Jack Nicholson movie called “The Baby Face Killer.” I thought it would be a great name for this young crop of Flyers.”The Baby Face Killers.”
Use it at your discretion.
— John, Upper Darby (via email)
Thanks for the note. That Nicholson movie was called “The Cry Baby Killer,” which sounds like a gruesome title for a film.
However, there was a horror movie that came out in 2017 titled “Babyface Killer.” I’ve never seen either film, but if this Flyers team goes on a run, perhaps your nickname will stick. Shame Nolan Patrick isn’t on the active roster. He’d fit right in.
All the best.
— Ed B.
Happened to take a stroll through the clips just to see how Bernie Parent did in his first playoff series, and fell down a serious rabbit hole. It was worth the trip.
The Flyers lost to the Blues in seven games in that 1968 West Division quarterfinal, which included a double-overtime loss in Game 3 and a double-overtime victory to force Game 7. Andre Lacroix tied it with 15 seconds left (pant, pant, pant) before Don Blackburn won it. Blackburn said he really didn’t want to shoot it.
“That’s the gosh-honest truth,” he said after his Game 6 winner. “I had no play when I picked up the puck, so I just lobbed it at their net trying to get rid of it.”
As wonderful as that quote is, a note from Daily News reporter Ed Conrad after Game 1 is just as precious.
Ed Van Impe was drilled by a St. Louis player in the first minute with a check or some kind of shot to the face that required X-rays later to make sure he didn’t have a broken cheekbone.
“Van Impe didn’t waste much time getting back at Dickie Moore,” Conrad wrote. “ … The Flyers defenseman slashed Moore a little later in the first period and received a five-minute major penalty for causing blood to flow.”
Ahh, old-time hockey. Eddie Shore.
And Parent? He lost three games, but was a monster. Saw 215 shots in the five games he played — including 57 in Game 3 and 64 in Game 6 — and stopped 207.
If Carter Hart puts up a .963 save percentage, this will be a magical two months.
Wednesday: Game 1, vs. Montreal, 8 p.m. (NBCSP, NBCSN)
Friday: Game 2, vs. Montreal, 3 p.m. (NBCSP, NBCSN)
Sunday: Game 3, vs. Montreal, 8 p.m. (NBC10)
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Game 4, vs. Montreal, 3 p.m. (NBCSP, NBCSN)
Wednesday, Aug. 19: *Game 5, vs. Montreal, TBD
Friday, Aug. 21: *Game 6, vs. Montreal, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 23: *Game 7, vs. Montreal, TBD
*-If necessary. … Games in Toronto. … The Flyers are the designated home team in Games 1, 2, 5 and 7.
Question: What will be the coach’s plan with the goalies?
— Ed Palmer (@HuckPalmer) via Twitter
Answer: AV is very forthcoming with his starting goaltender, but only for the coming game. My guess is Hart for the first three, then Elliott for Game 4, then Hart for Game 5 (which is the second of a back-to-back). Nice to have two guys they can count on, eh? Been hard enough to get just one.