Trailing 3-2 to the New York Rangers, the Philadelphia Flyers head home to the Wells Fargo Center to fight for playoff survival.
After their 4-2 loss on Sunday, the Flyers find themselves in dire straits. They played arguably their worst game of the series in Game 5, and they had nothing working for them at all. Their power play was atrocious, and their defense wasn't any better. With Nicklas Grossmann out for the series, the Flyers must find a suitable replacement, and that is not Hal Gill. The 39-year-old was a decent defenseman, 10 years ago, but he only played six games this year. He was a healthy scratch for the other 76. He can't skate, and he was heavily responsible for two goals in Sunday's loss. He isn't the answer.
The Flyers need to give Erik Gustafsson a chance because at least he has been playing most of the year with the Adirondack Phantoms. He may not have the playoff experience that Gill does, but he does have experience. He played in the 2012 series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he played pretty well. He is young, he's a puck-mover and he is a good skater, which is everything that Gill is not. It seems like an easy decision.
Claude Giroux finally got in the goal column with a late-period goal, but head coach Craig Berube should seriously consider adjusting that top line. Scott Hartnell has been useless in this series, and Wayne Simmonds should be moved to the top line. Along with Jakub Voracek and Jason Akeson, Simmonds has been the best Flyers forward in the series. He and Hartnell play the exact same role, but Simmonds is just better at it.
The Flyers need to play a perfect game, and they will have the orange-clad Flyers fans behind them all game long. Special teams will be key with Game 6, and the Flyers need to win that battle. It all comes down to one game, and it is the biggest game a lot of these players have every played in. It will be interesting to see how they respond.Tags: Claude Giroux, Craig Berube, Erik Gustafsson, Game 6, Hal Gill, Hockey, New York Rangers, NHL, Nicklas Grossmann, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Flyers, Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds