Tonight one of the hottest two teams in the East will be eliminated for sure. The Flyers have failed to bury the Caps in the last two games. The Caps have shown alot of character and fight by outhitting the Flyers in Game 5 and then pulling a great comeback in Game 6 to extend the series.
The Flyers must get back to basics. I know it is a cliche, but it is true. When the Flyers forward provide backpressure on the puck, their defense and goaltending goes up several notches from slightly above average to very good. This backpressure causes turnovers and keeps the spacing between the forwards and defense close. It also allows the Flyers defensemen to contribute more in the offensive zone. You might have heard the coaches say "playing on the right side of the puck" or "chasing the game". When the forwards get too far away, the passes are long, icings are the result and the Caps can get the matchup they want for Ovechkin and company.
This type of defense first system was evident in Game 1, Game 2, Game 3 and Game 4. Funny 3 of those 4 games were Flyers wins. Games 5 and 6 you saw alot of homerun passes and Caps being able to skate forward and across the zone. If you see the Caps being forced straight into the defense tonight, the Flyers are on their game. If you see them cross the blue line and skate across the zone, it will be a tough night for the boys from Philly.
This team has the ability to play with the best teams in the league and play exceptionally well. Then turn around and play like the worse team in the league when the gap gets too large. This is something that the players should know and the coach should remind them of all night. Keep the gap close and backpressure the puck should be the battle cry from the Flyers bench tonight.
But one thing for sure, you gotta love the feeling of a game 7, especially for the Flyers with the horrible season we had to endure last year. Go Flyers! We want more hockey!