NHL Playoffs, Flyers vs. Canadiens, Game 4: Both teams enjoy big home ice advantage

classichabs.jpgIn Philadelphia, they have those heart-clogging cheesesteaks, the vague yet ever-present threat of batteries/vandalism and the undeniable “spirit” of potential hooliganism. Meanwhile, Montreal provides poutine, an outrageously raucous crowd, the ghosts* of Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden and Jean Beliveau alongside their well-known tendency to riot after games. Both crowds are prone to chant “Ole!” although one side (Montreal) does it out of tradition while the other (Philadelphia) does it out of profound sarcasm.

* – Look, I know that those players named as “ghosts” are actually still alive, but in my eyes an athlete goes on to an after-life once he or she retires. So, yes, by that logic Mario Lemieux is Jesus, Michael Jordan is Lazarus and Brett Favre is … Abe Vigoda.

So perhaps it should come as no surprise that – at least so far – this Habs-Flyers series is one in which the home team simply dominates.

Philadelphia Flyers at Montreal Canadiens, Game 4

Flyers lead series 2-1

Live on NBC at 3PM ET

The results for each team home vs. the road so far are staggering. Just look at the overall series score: the home team pummeled its guests 14-1 in the series’ first three matches.

Chris Pronger was a physical force in Philadelphia, living up to his Broadstreet Bully reputation by getting in the heads of the “petite” Montreal forwards. It’s hard to wonder whether or not Pronger is in his own head in Montreal, though, as he went -3 in Game 3 and made an epic turnover that was to blame for the game-winner.

According to Dan Carcillo, the Canadiens might even be more willing to trash talk and goad the Flyers at home rather than in the City of Brotherly Love. Here’s a choice line from the AP preview from the rarely-shy Carcillo.

Carcillo then called Cammalleri “a homer,” noting that the Canadiens never tried anything like that during the Flyers’ two home wins at the start of the series. With a smile, he added that the last time anyone stuck their tongue out at him was “probably a girl – a pretty one, too.”

Well, OK then, Dan.

As I mentioned in an earlier preview, it’s been a while since Jaroslav Halak stole a game so perhaps that home crowd could will him to embody Patrick Roy or Dryden once again. I cannot help but wonder whether those “Leigh-ton” chants rattle the Flyers goalie a bit (even if they lack the slightest hint of creativity). Put that thought in the anthology titled “Questions athletes will never answer honestly.”

Regardless, the Flyers could make this series go from “homer” to “endangered” with one simple win on the road. There should be no doubt that Philadelphia will play with more urgency tonight, but Halak seems to grow stronger as the stage gets bigger.

Ultimately, team that wins this series might just be the one that doesn’t depend on home cooking.

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    Fantasy Adds & Drops: Flyin’ Fiala

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    Every week, this column will aim to help guide you through the rough waters of your fantasy league’s waiver wire. We’ll tell you which players that are owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues you should consider picking up.

    We’ll also try to help you cut ties with guys that don’t need to be owned right now.

    If you have any specific fantasy hockey questions, feel free to write me an e-mail at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

    Here we go:

    Adds:

    Tyler Myers-D- Winnipeg Jets (49 percent)

    Myers is right on the cusp of being owned in half of Yahoo’s leagues, but he technically still qualifies for the list. After missing most of last season, Myers has been solid for the Jets in 2017-18. He’s on pace to hit the double-digit mark in goals and he’s nearly on pace to score 40 points. Myers has also seen his ice time increase over the last couple of weeks.

    Alex Stalock-G- Minnesota Wild (39 percent)

    Finding a goalie on the waiver wire isn’t easy at this time of year, but the injury to Devan Dubnyk has made Stalock an intriguing fantasy addition. Dubnyk is considered “week-to-week” for now, so you know that Stalock will have a decent chance of making an impact on your lineup. He’s a solid short-term add.

    J.T. Miller-C/LW/RW-New York Rangers (39 percent)

    Miller has enjoyed a very successful run of late, as he’s picked up at least one point in nine of his last 12 contests. The Rangers forward has also scored in each of his team’s last two games. He has six goals on and 24 points in 33 games, which puts him on pace to score 60 points in 2017-18. The fact that he’s eligible to play all three forward positions in Yahoo leagues makes him even more of an interesting pick up.

    [More Fantasy: RotoWorld’s Waiver Wired column]

    Kevin Fiala-LW/RW- Nashville Predators (36 percent)

    Fiala’s post-season came to an end prematurely last spring, as he fractured his left femur. After picking up just two points in his first eight games of this season, he’s really started producing of late. The Preds forward is currently riding a seven-game point streak. The 21-year-old is now on pace to score 60 points in 2017-18. He’s definitely worthy of an add in a good chunk of fantasy leagues.

    Jakob Silfverberg-LW/RW- Anaheim Ducks (35 percent)

    The Ducks forward missed five games because of an upper-body injury earlier this month, but he’s scored twice in three games since being back. Silfverberg got off to a slow start this year, but his team needs him to step up because of all the injuries they’ve gone through. Expect him to get a good amount of ice time going forward.

    Drops:

    Brent Seabrook-D- Chicago Blackhawks (61 percent)

    It might be time for us to admit that Seabrook’s better days are behind him. The 32-year-old has scored one goal all season and he has just four assists in his last 14 games. Depending on the categories you’re playing, it could make plenty of sense to drop Seabrook for Myers.

    [Check out the RotoWorld Hockey Podcast]

    Anthony Mantha-LW/RW- Detroit Red Wings (54 percent)

    It’s still a little too early to drop Mantha, but he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on. Even though he’s still on pace to surpass the 30-goal mark, Mantha hasn’t registered a point in six straight games. He also appears to be playing fewer minutes than he was earlier in the season.

    Nino Niederreiter-LW/RW- Minnesota Wild (52 percent)

    Niederreiter’s on pace to score a solid 28 goals this season, but his fantasy owners certainly don’t appreciate his recent stretch of one goal in 11 games. What’s even more concerning, is that he isn’t even shooting the puck as much lately. In his last three games, the Wild winger has just two shots on goal.

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    PHT Morning Skate: Devils prospect named captain of U.S World Junior squad

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    Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

    • Team Canada made their final cuts over the weekend for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship in Buffalo. The roster is now set. (Hockey Canada)

    • Despite what Eugene Melnyk has been saying, Bill Daly made it clear that the Sens aren’t going anywhere. (Ottawa Citizen)

    • During Saturday’s NHL 100 Classic in Ottawa, the league announced their top moment in history. The honor went to Mario Lemieux’s unforgettable five-goal performance. (NHL.com)

    • The Capitals came out with “Capitals Tunes: Volume 2”. If you’re a fan of good holiday music, you might not want to listen. (DC Puck Drop)

    • Check out these stories from the NHL’s inaugural season which took place 100 years ago. (Sporting News)

    • Joel Lundqvist isn’t as well known as his brother Henrik, but hockey has treated both of them pretty well. (Sportsnet)

    Pekka Rinne is proud of the way Preds backup and fellow Finn Juuse Saros has performed. (Tennessean)

    • There is no team that’s more Jekyll and Hyde than the Dallas Stars. (Black Out Dallas)

    • Everybody loves a goalie fight, right? Well, there was one in the AHL this weekend as Pheonix Copley and Jordan Binnington dropped the gloves/blocker. (Chocolate Hockey)

    • The Red Wings auctioned off “Al the Octopus” over the weekend. They managed to get $7,700 for it. (Detroit Free Press)

    • Former NHLer Matt Johnson is missing, and a man from North Dakota went looking for him. (Grand Forks Herald)

    • It’s not easy for the Tampa Bay Lightning to replace a “heart and soul” guy like Ryan Callahan. (Tampa Times)

    • It took a little bit of time, but Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich‘s English has come a long way. (Sports Illustrated)

    • Since returning from an injury in early December, things have been tough for Bruins winger Anders Bjork. (Bruins Daily)

    • The Coyotes’ upcoming schedule is like a trip down memory lane for head coach Rick Tocchet. (Arizona Sports 98.7 FM)

    • The Winnipeg Jets have star players that have helped carry them this season, but it’s the solid performances from unexpected contributors that has made the difference. (Fan Rag Sports)

    • Sweden seems to have figured out the right way to develop their talented young hockey players. (Elite Prospects)

    • Tough break for the San Jose Sharks, as they’ll be without Logan Couture (concussion) on Monday. (Mercury News)

    • Devils prospect Joey Anderson was named captain of Team USA’s World Junior team. (USA Hockey)

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    The Buzzer: Marchessault leads Golden Knights; Boeser injures foot

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    Player of the Night: Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights

    Marchessault took over the Vegas scoring lead with a big night during a 5-2 win over his old team, the Florida Panthers. The Golden Knights scored four unanswered goals after falling behind 2-0 early in the first period, and Marchessault played a big part by assisting on the tying and go-ahead goals and then potting the empty-netter to seal things. He now has 29 points on the season.

    Reilly Smith, another ex-Panther, chipped in a pair of assists, including one on Marchessault’s goal to ice things for Gerard Gallant’s side. Vegas is now 13-2-1 at home.

    Highlight of the Night:

    Patrik Laine scored his team-leading 16th of the season for the Winnipeg Jets, and it was beautiful.

    MISC:

    Patrick Kane scored twice and Corey Crawford made 27 saves as the Chicago Blackhawks downed the Minnesota Wild 4-1 for their fifth win in a row. Kane now has seven points in his last four games. He’s one goal away from 300 for his career and now sits fifth all-time in Blackhawks history.

    • Connor Hellebuyck stopped all 24 shots he faced and recorded his eighth career shutout during a 4-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. Adam Lowry, Laine, Mark Scheifele and Josh Morrissey provided the goals as the Jets split their home-and-home with the Blues.

    Sam Bennett had four points and Mark Jankowski recorded three as the Calgary Flames drubbed the Vancouver Canucks 6-1. Mark Giordano added a pair of goals and David Rittich stopped 16 of 17 shots he faced for his third career NHL victory.

    • The Canucks and Panthers weren’t too fond of the third period Sunday night. Vancouver was outshot 19-4 while Florida mustered only two shots on goal while allowing 18 over the final 20 minutes.

    • Oh no. Brock Boeser left the game early in the second period after blocking a Mark Giordano shot. Canucks head coach Travis Green did not have an update after the game. This is not good.

    Erik Johnson of the Colorado Avalanche will miss two games after being suspended for boarding Vladislav Namestnikov of the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night.

    • Congrats, Erik Karlsson. It’s a boy!

    Our hearts exploded with that puck. We can’t wait to meet you baby BOY 💙

    A post shared by Melinda Karlsson (@mel.karlsson) on

    Factoid of the Night:

    Scores:
    Winnipeg 4, St. Louis 0
    Chicago 4, Minnesota 1
    Calgary 6, Vancouver 1
    Vegas 5, Florida 2

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy

    Canucks’ Brock Boeser suffers foot injury after blocking shot (Video)

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    As the Vancouver Canucks transition their roster and let the kids take over, Brock Boeser has been a real bright spot this season. Well, right now fans are holding their collective breaths hoping that the Calder Trophy candidate isn’t too seriously hurt after blocking a Mark Giordano shot early in the second period Sunday night.

    Did you catch that Jim Benning reaction?

    Sportsnet

    Yup, us too, Jim.

    Boeser, who leads the Canucks and all NHL rookies in scoring with 17 goals and 30 points, was ruled out for the rest of the night a short while later with a foot injury.

    If you’re keeping track at home, that’s all three members of the Canucks’ BBB line that are currently injured. Bo Horvat is out until January with a foot injury and Sven Baertschi has a similar timeline after fracturing his jaw.

    Depending on the severity of the injury could also impact some of Boeser’s potential bonuses in his rookie season. Ryan Biech of The Athletic had a great breakdown on Friday about how much the Vancouver stands to earn this season should he hit certain totals in specific categories. Hopefully this doesn’t keep him out long. The Calder race is better with him a part of it.

    UPDATE: Canucks head coach didn’t have an update on Boeser after the game.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.