Greenberg: Game 7 up for grabs
Flyers columnist looks at what it takes to win or lose a Game 7
Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 11:01 AM ET / News
By Jay Greenberg - philadelphiaflyers.com
- Why not? The two teams finished two points apart over 82 games and are now 3-3 after six playoff games. Last big break, forced or otherwise, probably wins it.
- For the first time since 1987 and Ron Hextall, the Flyers have a goalie glowing hot enough to steal it.
- Brayden Schenn joined the battle in Game 6 and Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux got untracked, finally giving the Flyers as many forwards playing well as the Rangers have.
- They are scoring on Henrik Lundqvist. Earned goals, not soft goals, but goals nevertheless.
- The home ice advantage practically has disappeared since the lockout. In 31 Game Sevens since the lockout, the road team has won 14.
- Craig Berube has quickened up the Flyers by elevating Michael Raffl to the first line and putting Erik Gustafsson on defense. The Rangers, even Dan Girardi, will cough it up just like the Flyers, but you must get there fast enough to make it happen. Calling cards left at the end of Game 6 notwithstanding, this has not been an especially physical series.
- The Rangers’ power play, on an 0-for-20 schneid, is looking for some answers. So much of special teams are confidence. and the Flyers, who busted out with two power play goals in Game 6, have all of it going to Game 7.
- The Flyers are hot in Game Sevens, 3-0 going back to 2008, two of those wins on the road.
- By playing like they did in the first and third periods in Game 6. In the first they conducted a turnover marathon. And when they should have been in a shutdown mode up 4-0, Steve Mason still had to stand on his head to keep the Rangers from getting back into the game. If you are going by periods won, the Rangers have carried the play in more than just a slim majority of them.
- By turning the puck over. The Flyers had 17 giveaways in Game 6. Good luck surviving anything like that again.
- Lack of discipline. A season-long issue has continued, at times, in the playoffs. Up 4-0 Tuesday night, the Flyers took three third-period penalties (the first began with :03 left in the second).
- By the series following its win-one, lose-one, course. There has been no evidence of any carryover of momentum from game to game, even sometimes period to period.
- The Rangers are even hotter in Game Sevens, 3-0 going back only to 2012. The core of this Ranger team has proven it can function well in the ultimate crucible.
- There IS a home ice Game 7 advantage afterall, 10-5 over the 2011-13 playoffs, 90-59 all-time. Lies, damned lies and statistics, sure, but last change counts for something.
- Rick Nash finally comes due. Giroux finally is cooking. Maybe it’s Nash’s turn.
- Lundqvist resumes being Lundqvist. It is not likely the Flyers will get the quality of chances again that they did in Game 6. A few big saves may be enough to save the Rangers. And he is proven commodity in making them.