Flyers-Canadiens Game 4: Preview
There is an uncrossable chasm between leading 3-1 and tying 2-2 in a seven game series. A 3-1 Flyers lead means a 91% chance of advancing to the next round, maintaining home ice advantage, and gathering all the momentum unto themselves.
A 2-2 tie for the Canadiens means a best-of-3 series with a game 7 in the Bell Centre. It means regained confidence for Carey Price, for Christopher Higgins, for the Komisarek-Markov pairing, and the young Kostitsyn brothers and Plekanec. It means returning to a much happier Montreal media blitz.
It’s a crucial game for both teams involved because in all probability tonight’s winner will take the series. The Flyers proved at the end of the regular season and in round 1 that they can pull out a victory when backed against a wall. The Canadiens will arrive with desperation, and it’s going to require far more than a stupendous effort from Martin Brion to shut them down.
Mike Knuble is back in the lineup after suffering a hamstring tear in Game 5 against the Capitals. Speculation says that Knuble will rejoin Carter and Upshall, moving Umberger to a line with Richards and Lupul. Stevens will probably sit Downie, who’s excellent puck control along the boards and scoring ability has yet to outweigh his volatile temperament.
Jaroslav Modry has returned from his father’s funeral and may dress this evening; if so, expect Lasse Kukkonen to be a healthy scratch. Personally, I don’t believe in making a lineup change unless one player is a clear improvement over another. Where Knuble is an obvious upgrade from Steve Downie based on discipline alone, Modry hasn’t shown that he’s significantly better than Lasse Kukkonen in any area. Both find ways to commit errors. In fact, Modry was on the ice for all but one of Washington’s goals during the first round. Whoever does play, he had better be motivated to move his feet.