Flyers-Penguins: Philadelphia Faces Life or Death

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IApril 23, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 21:  Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against Kimmo Timonen #44 of the Philadelphia Flyers during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs  at the Wachovia Center on April 21, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Flyers 3-1 to take a three games to one lead in the series.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Flyers have never came back from a 3-1 deficit in a playoff series—never.

One of the toughest things to do in the playoffs is to close out a series by picking up that fourth win.

Something has to break.

Philadelphia invades the Igloo tonight with all odds against them as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

On Tuesday, the Penguins were saved from going back to Pittsburgh with the series tied after Marc-Andre Fleury's best performance of the year. Fleury stopped all but one shot that he faced, making 45 saves as the Pens beat the Flyers 3-1.

As much as I disagree with the the officiating this series for both teams—the Flyers more-so—and as much as I don't think Sidney Crosby's goal was legit, the Flyers have simply not played up to par.

Despite the Pens' dominance over the Flyers in the last two playoffs, I still believe the Flyers can beat Pittsburgh in a seven game series. Can they come back from 3-1 to advance? Of course they can.

Will they? Most likely not.

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Martin Biron has been nothing more than average all year long and he hasn't stolen a game yet. In order for the Flyers to have any shot at winning tonight, Biron has to steal the game.

There's no question the Flyers have outplayed the Penguins for the majority of the past three games, but outplaying a team and beating a team is a different story.

In the second game of the series, if Jeff Carter scored that big goal that was disallowed, that would have put the Flyers up 3-1. The Flyers could be heading back to Pittsburgh with a 3-1 series lead or at worst, a tied series.

But they didn't.

On Tuesday, the Flyers were victim of a controversial goal and some brutal non-calls against the Penguins, but no matter what I think was right or wrong or that Crosby's goal should have not counted, it happened and it's over with.

Philadelphia threw 46 shots on Fleury in Game Four, but another seven didn't hit the net.  However, the good majority of those shots where right in the chest. If the Flyers would have shot more pucks toward the pads and forced rebounds, the Flyers could have easily won that game.

Now the Flyers face life or death.

The Flyers have to get on the board in the first 10 minutes of tonight's hockey game.  Philly can not allow Fleury to smother the pucks like he did in Game Four. Crash the net—even if it's skate first and pinning Fleury to the post—crash it hard.

Go out in style, don't lay down and die like last year. Give the Penguins your best effort.  Take it to them, and who knows, you may beat them.

If Philadelphia does win Game 5 and the series comes back to Philly, who knows what can happen.