Vigneault hoping a quick turnaround can be a good one

Claude Giroux

Let’s face it, the Flyers could very well have been one bad bounce away from being down 3-0 in their playoff series with the Islanders.

And while you can’t dismiss the Boston “Three Party’’ of 2010 when the Flyers became just the third team in NHL history to overcome a 3-0 deficit, those miracles simply don’t come along all that often.

So the Flyers have to figure out how to get this thing turned around quickly or they will be down by a 3-1 margin in the best-of-seven series, which is no day at the beach.

After Saturday night’s 3-1 loss to New York, in which they failed to win for the first time after scoring first in a playoff game (now 8-1), players and coach Alain Vigneault speculated on what has to change.

“We need to be a lot better than we were tonight,’’ Vigneault said during a Zoom call from Toronto. “Especially our top-end guys. The great thing is we can be right back at it tomorrow.

“I know this group and their ability to bounce back, especially going home tonight knowing we can play a lot better than we did. We know we need to regroup and play a good game.’’

The Flyers have been good at puck possession throughout the season but not in this series against the Islanders. For example, in Saturday night’s game they went a stretch of 11:44 late in the first period into the second without getting a shot on net.

“I think we’ve done a decent job keeping them to the outside,’’ said Tyler Pitlick, who scored the Flyers’ only goal. “We’re getting some blocks and doing some stuff there.

“We have to play our game, make the five-foot passes, get out of our zone chips. We have to go north, when we get behind their defense and get on them, we’re good. We had some stretches in the game where we were wearing them out a bit. But we didn’t do it enough.’’

Added Claude Giroux: “When we play our best, I think we’re a hard team to beat. We just have to be able to do that for 60 minutes.’’

>Giroux holding the frustration level down

While he hasn’t scored in this postseason and has only one goal in his last 25 postseason games, Giroux continues to plug away. He just doesn’t seem to be getting prime scoring chances.

“Just keep grinding,’’ he said. “I think the last two games were a little better. I think our line (Sean Couturier, Jake Voracek) can do better. We know that. We generated some offense but at the end of the day it’s got to go in the net.’’

Vigneault would like nothing more than to see this line enjoy a breakout performance.

“We’re reinforcing some of the good things, the good habits we need to do to be successful,’’ Vigneault said. “At this time of the year, (we need to) create space, create ice on the ice – we need to get a little gritty, need to want to go to those tough areas.

“We’re obviously trying to show as much to our players the areas they can exploit.’’

>Hart ready for Game 4 but sees options

Things don’t go so well for goalie Carter Hart in the second half of the only back-to-back situation he’s played in during these playoffs.

In Game 5 of the Montreal series, one night after he produced a shutout in Game 4, he gave up four goals and was eventually pulled in favor of veteran Brian Elliott.

“With a back-to-back you’ve got to take care of your body,’’ Hart said. “That goes for everybody. Just make sure we’re ready to go tomorrow.

“But if not, then I know ‘Moose’ (Elliott) is more than capable. . .he’s had a lot of playoff experience and he’s been great for us this season. At the end of the day, that’s not my decision.’’

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About Wayne Fish 2418 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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