Do or die time for the Flyers

Wayne Simmonds
Wayne Simmonds and John Moore get tangled up in front of the net in Game 3.
Credit: Getty Images

The Flyers have been full of surprises this season.

Many didn’t expect them to make it to the playoffs. Many more didn’t think they would win in Madison Square Garden. And coming from behind to win two playoff games? Who would have predicted that.

But now, the Flyers’ bag of tricks could be depleted. Because in order to move on to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, they must win two games on back-to-back days — including a Game 7 win in New York City.

It is unlikely. But it isn’t impossible. The Flyers are 7-10 all-time in Game 6 when trailing 3-2.

“Game 6 is going to be huge, obviously,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said, fresh off his first goal of the playoffs in the Rangers 4-2 victory Sunday. “We are not looking at it like it’s the last game of our season. We’ve come back all season long when it matters and we’re going to stay confident about that.”

“This series is definitely not over,” Flyers goalie Steve Mason said, echoing Giroux’s sentiment. “We are looking forward to getting back home and having a big game there and bringing it back here for Game 7.”

Since 2004, the year the Flyers were ousted by Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the conference finals, Philadelphia has been eliminated at home four of the last six times they were bumped from the playoffs.

If they are able to piece together a win in front of their faithful home crowd, they have better numbers to support them. The Flyers are historically 9-6 in Game 7′s, and have done it on the road twice recently — in Washington in 2008, and in Boston in 2010.

Though the Rangers have more wins, the statistics are pretty even between the two squads. And neither team has won two games in a row this entire series, which bodes well for the Flyers in Game 6.

“It’s a tight series, we all know that,” Flyers head coach Craig Berube said. “We are confident because we feel as a team that we can play better. If our power play executes better in the first period — we execute a couple plays — it might be a different game. It’s not as if we feel as if we are getting outplayed. It’s a tight series. It’s two good teams. It’s right there.”

If the Flyers want to advance, they have to beat Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist two times in two days. Which is a pretty big task for the Flyers. Philly has only mustered more than two goals once in five games against King Hank.

“He’s one of the best goalies in the league and we are aware of that,” Giroux said. “We need to get traffic and put more pucks on net. If  you want to beat him you need to have nice shots.”

The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, and if the Flyers win, it will likely be just under 24 hours before they head up I-95 to try and do it again.


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