What Philadelphia Flyers Must Do to Go Deep on 2014 NHL Playoff Run
Philadelphia has shown both their good and bad sides this postseason, and consistency will be key to the rest of this series and the playoffs in general.
While they obviously still need two more wins to advance, there are certain key things which must happen in order for the Flyers to win this series and then go on a deep run afterwards.
Here are four ways the Flyers must improve in order to go deep in these playoffs.
Claude Giroux Must Turn on His Offense
Flyers captain Claude Giroux has had to face off pretty much every shift against the Rangers' top defense pairing of Ryan McDonagh (see above) and Dan Girardi.
Those two make one of, if not the best shutdown pairing in the league, and Giroux only has two assists and four shots on goal in these first four games.
While he has not necessarily played poorly, and his lesser production total is somewhat understood because of his competition, those numbers are still unacceptable.
He's the leader of the team and gives them a better chance to win when he gets on the score sheet. If the Flyers are going to make a legit run, Giroux needs to start generating more offense quickly.
Third Line Needs to Continue Excelling
The third line of Sean Couturier with Jason Akeson and Matt Read on the wings has been the Flyers' most consistent and effective all-around line so far.
They play hard every shift and are getting it done at both ends of the ice. Couturier has dominated defensively, while Akeson and Read each have a goal and an assist in the series.
Couturier and Read have also been spectacular on the penalty kill, while newcomer Akeson has been one of, if not the Flyers' best offensive player through four games.
The Flyers certainly rely on their forward depth for success, and if this third line continues playing at a high level, that can only mean good things for Philly.
Steve Mason Must Replicate Game 4 Performance
Steve Mason was the best player on the ice on Friday night for either team. He was absolutely spectacular in his return between the pipes and will stay there as long as the Flyers are still playing.
Mason showed his athleticism and ability to make acrobatic saves, but he also proved that he can stay steady, control rebounds and make the average plays as well.
He needs to keep his cool in the ever-increasing spotlight and build off that momentum moving forward. If the Flyers are going to go deep in these playoffs, they will need Mason to be at his best.
Keep Special Teams Rolling
The Philadelphia Flyers' special teams have looked very solid as of late and have been major factors in each of their victories.
After allowing three total power-play goals in New York, the Flyers were a perfect 12/12 in Games 3 and 4 and have absolutely shut the Rangers down.
They're also been capitalizing on the power play, as their 27.3 scoring percentage is tied for third-best in the league as of Saturday. Special team success is crucial, especially as the playoffs wear on further.