Flyers hope to ease their way back into series
Claude Giroux was bold. "After we win Game 4, we'll be able to get momentum and kind of go from there," the Flyers captain said before Wednesday's game.
Claude Giroux was bold.
"After we win Game 4, we'll be able to get momentum and kind of go from there," the Flyers captain said before Wednesday's game.
Well, the Flyers did win Game 4, outlasting Washington, 2-1, and giving them life in a physical, old-time hockey playoff series.
Do they have enough momentum to conjure memories of 2010, when the Flyers overcame a three-games-to-none series deficit and stunned Boston?
The Flyers, trailing in this series three games to one and facing another elimination game, will meet the Capitals on Friday night at the Verizon Center.
Should the Flyers win Game 5, rookie coach Dave Hakstol said, the Caps might start feeling the heat.
"I'm not one to look too much into what another team is thinking or feeling," he said. "I would imagine if we can push and bring this series back to a Game 6, maybe they may start feeling [pressure] a little bit. But I wouldn't imagine that's something that's going through their minds right now."
In Game 4, "we started to see some frustration on their part," winger Wayne Simmonds said of the Caps, who have a troubled playoff history but led the NHL with 120 points during the regular season. "I thought we did a really good job of staying out of the box. That's been a key for them. When we go to the box, that's when they've been scoring goals."
The Caps were 8 for 17 on the power play in the first three games, but 0 for 2 Wednesday.
The Flyers eked out the win after an embarrassing 6-1 home loss Monday.
"This group didn't like the way Game 3 ended," Hakstol said. "We were simply focused on winning Game 4. This isn't a group that wants to stop any time soon, so right now, you're on a one-day basis: win and continue to move on."
Haksol was asked if it was more important to get a lead in Game 5 because if the Flyers fall behind, the pressure of being on the verge of elimination might intensify.
He said it was "important but not the absolute."
"We're going to go out and try and make sure we get off to a good start. I'm sure they're going to have a good push right from the drop of the puck. There's no question they had a great push in the third period [Wednesday], but we were able to sustain and hold the lead, so now we have to go and make sure that we're ready to push from the drop of the puck."
On Thursday, the Flyers were in attendance at the Wells Fargo Center for a tribute to Ed Snider, the club's beloved chairman and cofounder who died April 11 of bladder cancer.
Bob Clarke told a story that, in a roundabout way, is similar to the current situation the Flyers face as they play with heavy hearts for Snider.
Clarke was a player on the 1977 Flyers team that was swept by Boston in the playoffs. Soon after the series ended, Clarke said, assistant coach Barry Ashbee, a former defenseman with the team, died.
Clarke said he apologized to Snider for the way the team played and told him "we found it very hard to have the emotion to play the game when our close friend was lying in bed dying."
According to Clarke, Snider, "in a very fatherly fashion, said, 'Barry would have never wanted that, and you have no right to use Barry's illness as a reason for not playing good. If anything, you had the chance to compete that Barry never did. You should have competed harder.' "
Clarke called it a "lesson in life I will never forget."
Goalie Michal Neuvirth, expected to start his second straight game, has a 2.18 goals-against average in his playoff career compared with Steve Mason's 3.37. . . . Winger Scott Laughton was released from the hospital but will not make the trip to Washington, general manager Ron Hextall said. Laughton went hard into the boards Wednesday and had to leave on a stretcher. The Flyers said that he was "fine" and that they would have another update in a few days. . . . Pierre-Edouard Bellemare will return from his one-game suspension Friday. ... The Caps have outscored the Flyers, 7-0, in the third period in the series. . . . Washington has a 5-3 edge in even-strength scoring.