When we're talking about an MVP for this Flyers team in the playoffs so far, the conversation starts and ends with Carter Hart. After the last couple of games, Jake Voracek is right in the mix as well. He had a monster night in game 5. He drew the penalty after dusting Shea Weber for a loose puck that the Flyers ended up scoring on right after that powerplay expired. And he had the assist to Sanheim on the game winner.
But now I think Derek Grant's name deserves to be in the conversation as well. Because what a beauty of a way to close out this series.
It took a while for me to really start hating this Habs team. Mostly because I never even thought about them during the regular season, and then the first few games of this series were such defensive battles that nothing really happened enough for me to develop any hatred. But then there was Nick Suzuki. Who I'd be fired up about if I were a Habs fan because this kid is a stud. Suzuki might mess around and already have the Habs winning that Pacioretty trade. But that doesn't mean that I hate him any less. In fact, I hate him even more because this little prick kept scoring goals after pulling this shit in game 5.
Joel Armia scores a goal from a weird(ish) angle that bounces off of Carter's helmet/shoulder. Then Nick Suzuki skates by and taps him on the head real quick. If that were any other Flyers goalie over the last several decades, I wouldn't have cared. I probably would have thought it was funny. But if you touch Carter, I want blood. Instead of blood, however, Nick Suzuki just kept getting himself on the board. It was infuriating.
So the Flyers had 2 options to put this little bastard in place. They could either A) revert to the ways of the Broad Street Bullies and send someone out there to take a shot at him, which would then result in a penalty, which would give a ton of motivation to the Canadiens and they'd probably end up scoring even though their powerplay is just as trash as the Flyers'. Or B) they could do exactly what Derek Grant did here. Wait for the game to be over and just toss one last handful of salt into the freshly opened wound.
And I have to admit, it's a helluva lot more fun to do it that way. If the Flyers would have gone Broad Street Bullies on Suzuki, we'd never hear the end of it. And I just wouldn't be able to deal with that shit after having to deal with the way Canadian media thought that Matt Niskanen should be kicked out of the league for accidentally crosschecking Brendan Gallagher in the teeth. So you win the game AND you return the favor to Suzuki while he's starting to pack up his shit to leave the bubble. It's a top 3 play of the playoffs so far. So yes, Derek Grant at least deserves to be in the Conn Smythe conversations.
P.S. - This has to be an unbelievable feeling for Carter.
And not that he needs it or anything, but getting that first playoff series win out of the way has to be a huge confidence booster for the kid. Couldn't have picked a better way for that to go for Carter than his first one coming against Price.