The Flyers won yesterday in Game 4 of the first round series to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in front of the home crowd at the Wachovia Center. The Flyers outplayed the Devils in the past 2 games, and I think the home crowd played a factor in that.
The Flyers were down after the first period 1-0 on a Kovalchuk goal scored on a 5 on 3 power play. Boucher would not allow another goal, and the Flyers went on to score 4, winning 4-1, and seeing players such as Jeff Carter and Danny Briere break out of their slumps.
Jeff Carter got the Flyers going on the power play in the 2nd period wristing a shot past Brodeur. The assist went to Danny Briere. Later in the period, Briere skated in the Devils zone, and ripped a slap shot in the upper corner beating Brodeur and giving the Flyers a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish. The Flyers got 3rd period goals from goal scoring machine Daniel Carcillo, and another power play tally from Jeff Carter gave the Flyers a 4-1 lead and victory.
Boucher continued to play strong in between the pipes stopping 30 of the Devils 31 shots. The defense has played well for the most part in front of him. Boucher has only allowed 9 goals in the 4 games so far this series. The Devils only goal this game as I said came on a 5 on 3 power play. When the action has been 5 on 5, the Flyers have had control of the last 2 games. Their Flyers have been forechecking relentlessly, and making the Devils defenseman give up pucks, and not enabling the Devils to move easily through the neutral zone. The strong forechecking is a stable of coach Peter Laviolette’s system, which the Flyers seem to be buying into.
The work is not over yet, the Flyers cannot be happy by a strong postseason performance thus far, they need to put the Devils away. It was 10 years ago with Boucher in net that the Flyers had a 3-1 series lead on the Devils, on their way to the Stanley Cup, only to see the Devils win 3 straight games and eliminate the Flyers. Obviously that is in the past, but it can still happen, especially with 2 of the final 3 games of the series in New Jersey. You don’t want to have to go to New Jersey to win a game 7. The Flyers will go to New Jersey for Game 5 Thursday night, and will hopefully be travelling back to Philadelphia without the Devils coming as well. The Flyers will have to win Game 5 however without Jeff Carter, and Simon Gagne, both of whom have injured feet. Ville Leino, and David Laliberte will replace them in the lineup.