Round 1, Game 3 Preview: Flyers-Canadiens

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Perhaps the Flyers were riding a wave of overconfidence entering Game 2 on Friday. They had not played their best game in Game 1 and still secured a 2-1 victory to take a 1-0 series lead.

Friday, they were certainly humbled by a team that wasn't even part of the playoff equation five months ago. The Montreal Canadiens have held their own against the Flyers through two games of the series, falling in a tight contest in Game 1 and routing the top seed in Game 2.

The series now shifts to Game 3 where Montreal will be the home team. Someone in the series will emerge with a 2-1 lead and a chance to take a commanding lead in the series in just a few days. For the Flyers, who certainly felt embarrassed by the result on Friday afternoon, this is a time for redemption, for a bounce-back game that could help them in the series. For Montreal, it's another chance to continue to show that they belong. They might not be able to replicate the near perfect game they played in Game 2, but they can continue the trend of doing a lot of positive things and making noise in a series where few gave them much of a chance.

Game 3 is set for 8 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Montreal Canadiens GP G A P
Scott Laughton 5 3 2 5 Shea Weber 6 3 2 5
Kevin Hayes 5 0 4 4 Jesperi Kotkaniemi 6 4 0 4
Joel Farabee 4 2 1 3 Paul Byron 6 1 3 4
Travis Sanheim 5 1 2 3 Jeff Petry 6 2 1 3
Nicolas Aube-Kubel 5 2 0 2 Nick Suzuki 6 1 2 3
Player to Watch
14 Sean Couturier 13 Max Domi
Last 5 Games: 0 G, 2 A, 2 P, +2 Last 5 Games: 0 G, 3 A, 3 P, -1
In Game 2, Sean Couturier and his line were a minus-2 and struggled to generate offense. Alain Vigneault called on his best players to "drive the bus" and that has to start in Game 3. A lot of people would look to Claude Giroux in this spot, but Couturier needs to have one of his best games, both by chipping in offensively and playing much better defensively. 
Max Domi had been held off the board completely for five games, but struck for three assists in Montreal's 5-0 win. He's a player with the capability to turn on the jets when needed and in a game where the Flyers looked a step behind the entire way, he can be a dangerous player.
Projected Goalie Matchup
79 Carter Hart 31 Carey Price
4 GP, 3-1-0, 1.93 GAA, .938 SV% 6 GP, 4-2-0, 1.46 GAA, .954 SV%

Carter Hart was handed his first bit of adversity, like the rest of the team, in Game 2. The four goals allowed were hardly his fault, but losses all count the same in the playoffs. Hart does get a chance to get right back out there in Game 3.

Carey Price turns 33 on Sunday and he looks to celebrate in similar fashion to Game 2. Price was perfect in the Canadiens win, but didn't get tested near as much as the Flyers struggled to keep up with the pace of Montreal. He'll almost certainly deal with more traffic and shot volume in Game 3 as the Flyers look to push to get back into the series.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Left Wing Center Right Wing
28 Claude Giroux 14 Sean Couturier 93 Jake Voracek
21 Scott Laughton 13 Kevin Hayes 11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemsdyk 38 Derek Grant 62 Nicolas Aube-Kubel
12 Michael Raffl 44 Nate Thompson 18 Tyler Pitlick
9 Ivan Provorov 15 Matt Niskanen  
6 Travis Sanheim 5 Phil Myers  
8 Robert Hagg 61 Justin Braun  
79 Carter Hart 37 Brian Elliott  

Canadiens Projected Lineup

Left Wing Center Right Wing
90 Tomas Tatar 14 Nick Suzuki 11 Brendan Gallagher
92 Jonathan Drouin 15 Jesperi Kotkaniemi 40 Joel Armia
62 Artturi Lehkonen 24 Philip Danault 41 Paul Byron
71 Jake Evans 13 Max Domi 60 Alex Belzile
8 Ben Chiarot 6 Shea Weber  
77 Brett Kulak 26 Jeff Petry  
61 Xavier Ouellet 53 Victor Mete  
31 Carey Price 39 Charlie Lindgren  

Lineup Notes

  • Flyers: There's a lot on the table for the Flyers in this game. Alain Vigneault is weighing potential changes and simply said to stay tuned to Sunday's lineup. He did say that Michael Raffl's presence in warmups for Game 2 was a positive sign and Travis Konecny was spotted on the ice in a video from Sunday's morning skate posted by the team, so those are indications that both could be able to play in Game 3. It's also fair to expect some change on defense. The most likely option would be for Robert Hagg to come back in and Shayne Gostisbehere to come out.
  • Canadiens: Montreal made one lineup change last game, inserting Jake Evans into the lineup for Dale Weise. Given the overall performance, don't expect many changes to the Canadiens lineup for Game 3.

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (24th), Canadiens (T-13th)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (20th), Canadiens (10th)
  • Recent History vs. Canadiens
    • Nov. 7, 2019 – Flyers 3, Canadiens 2 (F/OT) (at PHI)
    • Nov. 30, 2019 – Flyers 4, Canadiens 3 (F/OT) (at MTL)
    • Jan. 16, 2020 – Canadiens 4, Flyers 1 (at PHI)
    • Aug. 12, 2020 (Game 1) – Flyers 2, Canadiens 1
    • Aug. 14, 2020 (Game 2) – Canadiens 5, Flyers 0
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Canadiens (Career Regular Season Stats)
    • Jake Voracek – 31 GP, 7 G, 22 A, 29 P
    • Shayne Gostisbehere – 13 GP, 2 G, 12 A, 14 P
    • Claude Giroux – 36 GP, 10 G, 16 A, 26 P
    • James van Riemsdyk – 39 GP, 16 G, 9 A, 25 P
    • Sean Couturier – 27 GP, 7 G, 12 A, 19 P
    • Carter Hart – 4 GP, 2-2-0, 2.85 GAA, .913 SV%

Where to Watch
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic/97.3 ESPN

YWT: The Philadelphia Flyers Podcast

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