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s18- Game 5 Jitters (®)

2021-07-24

Tonight, the stage is set for the Flyers to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup at home, at the Spectrum, in Philadelphia, PA. The box office has been fresh out of tickets since they went on sale a day prior to Game One. Scalped ticket prices are said to be exorbitantly priced. 

 

The Flyers come back home on the back of a gritty 2-1 victory in Game Four at the Shark Tank in San Jose, CA. Radek Bonk potted a goal with 30 seconds remaining in the second period, his sixth of the playoffs, to break the 1-1 tie. The Flyers survived a third period barrage by San Jose on the back of the game’s First Star, goalie,... Jonas Hiller. Hiller, who started and won Game 2 in Philadelphia, has started alternating games in these finals in order to rest starting goalie Mathieu Garon, who will start Game 5 and is projected to start games six and seven, if necessary, as travel days between Pennsylvania and California should provide ample rest for him.

 

Bonk, a hero to many Flyers fans in these playoffs, has been shifted around the line-up more than any other Flyer this season. He’s been a staple on the Flyers penalty kill all season long, but that’s the most stable role he’s had. Early-on, Bonk had the luxury of forming the Czech trio with Jaromir Jagr and Petr Nedved. Then was dropped down a line on the left wing of Manny Malhotra and Ruslan Fedotenko. Then he was dropped down to the fourth line left wing spot with Mike Zigomanis and Glen Murray. With fourth line center Zigomanis’s injury, Bonk was tasked with becoming the bottom line’s face-off man, and has done a fantastic job by winning 66% of his face-offs since the line-up change.

 

Another line-up change the Flyers are making in advance of Game 5 is inserting the 1994 first overall selection of the New York Islanders, right winger, Daniel Alfredsson into the line-up. The adjustment is certainly a risky one, as the 36-year-old Alfredsson has only played 11 games this season. Two of those games came in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Montreal.  Alfie, largely seen as possibly the biggest bust in VHL history, could go out a champion, as some speculate he may be designated to the minors next season. Playing in Game 5 would give him the one Stanley Cup Finals game required to get his name on the Stanley Cup, if the Flyers are able to stave off the Sharks. Jack Skille will be a casualty of this decision, as Jacques Martin removes the rookie from the line-up, even though he has played fine.

 

Tonight, and any ensuing games (hopefully there won’t be any), will be the biggest games of several Flyers careers. This could be the last time all of these players ever get to this stage, and to let San Jose back into this series could be ominous. We’ll see if the President Trophy winners can ramp up the intensity, and bring home the cup!

 

WC 504