The Flyers backs are against the wall as they trail the Devils 3-1 in the eastern Conference semifinals. It’s do or die Tuesday night in South Philly.
The Flyers not only have to dig themselves out a hole but on Tuesday they will need to do it without leading scorer Claude Giroux -- who has 17 points in 10 playoff games so far -- who was suspended by the NHL for a hit to the head in Game.
With Giroux out of action, the Flyers need five guys to step up who have been just flat out dreadful so far against New Jersey.
1. Scott Hartnell
Arguably no Flyer has played worse than Hartnell against New Jersey. The Flyers leading goal scorer during the regular season has managed only one goal and two assists so far against the Devils. He also is carrying around a terrible minus-eight for the series.
Hartnell seems to have broken out of his funk in Game 4 when he scored and managed six shots. He needs to shoot early and often in Game 5 if the Flyers hope to win.
2. Jaromir Jagr
The 40-year-old legend has virtually disappeared against the Devils. He has only one assist and no goals while posting a minus-two so far in the series.
There is good news though. He had three shots on goal in Game 3 after managing just three shots in the first three games. If he keeps shooting he should score one of these days.
3. Wayne Simmonds
Simmonds actually tied Giroux for second place in goals scored (28) during the regular season but Simmonds has lost that scoring touch in the playoffs managing just one goal (against the Penguins in Round 1) so far.
Simmonds has managed two assists against the Devils but has posted a minus-one in the series. He has managed eight shots in the series but has also missed an open net more than once.
4. Matt Carle
The Flyers defenseman has been sloppy with the puck throughout the Devils series. He scored a goal in Game 3 but overall for the series is minus-three.
He needs to be better with the puck and be willing to use the body more inside the Flyers zone.
5. Danny Briere
It’s tough to pick on a guy who has three goals – including the Game 1 winner – and an assists in just four games. But, he disappeared in Game 4 as he managed no shots and a minus-two.
When Briere plays well the Flyers normally win. He must like Hartnell, Jagr and Simmonds shoot as much as possible in Game 5. Devils goalie Martin Brodeur has been average at best and has benefited from a lackluster Flyers offensive attack. Briere must lead the attack with Giroux on the bench.
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