Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 3
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins at #5 Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers trail best-of-seven series, 2-0
Wachovia Center - 3:00 PM EDT - Philadelphia, PA
TV: NBC HD, CBC HD, RDS HD
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 205
Behind Enemy Lines: Pensburgh
Here's the deal. When you go down 0-2 in a series, you usually don't win it. In fact, 87 percent of the time you wind up golfing a few days later. James Mirtle and most of the hockey-loving public have written us off. And when you look at the stats, it's not hard to understand why. So are we crazy to even think the Flyers have a shot in this series?
Well, for starters, we're heading home. Two straight wins at the Wachovia Center and this puppy is a whole new ball game -- a best of three series. In 2000 against the Penguins, the Flyers lost the first two games in Philadelphia before travelling to Pittsburgh, winning two straight on the road en route to a 4-2 series victory. It's rare, but it's been done.
The thing about home ice is that the home team usually tends to get the bounces. At the Igloo, it was 120 percent obvious that the Pens had a monopoly on luck. Don't be surprised if that tide turns as we head to Philadelphia.
The crowd will be rabid this afternoon, but the one thing about that is it tends to get Sidney Crosby going. He loves playing at the Wachovia Center, as FrankD so lovingly pointed out in his letter. The Flyers have done a decent job of containing him in this series (meaning, he hasn't taken over a game) and they'll have to step that up even more this afternoon. But a spark plug for Crosby or not, the crowd will help the Flyers immensely.
No word on if Daniel Carcillo will be in the lineup for the Flyers or if John Stevens will stick with Luca Sbisa. The coach didn't divulge his hand yesterday at practice, but he did say he was happy with Sbisa's play in Game 2. He also said, however, that he likes what Carcillo brings to the table. (Aside: You kiddin' me?)
If Martin Biron can duplicate his performance from Friday night, there is no reason the Flyers should lose this afternoon. On offense, though, expect some guys to step up. Jeff Carter was an absolute animal in Game 2, but you've gotta believe that he's gonna be looking to redeem himself for not burying that shot in the third period.
Claude Giroux has some redeeming to do as well. If Danny Briere can make himself even a little bit visible and Darroll Powe can play just as solid as he did on Friday, the third line could be the difference maker again.
The Flyers played an excellent game on Friday night and ultimately were just unlucky and untimely with a few mistakes. The one thing they didn't do as well as they could've, however, was get a lot of traffic in front of Marc-Andre Fleury. It's tough to beat him going side-to-side (as Carter learned quite well) and the easiest way to get pucks behind him is to set up shop in front and screen him or pick up those loose rebounds he lets up. Keep notice: the crease has been Mike Knuble's office all season long. Just sayin'...
All in all, if the Flyers play like they played in Game 2, I believe they will come out on top in Game 3. Color me crazy, but I'm confident.
Two things, quickly: I know I said in the recap of Game 2 that I was heading to practice on Saturday morning. That didn't work out, so I just wanted to clarify to anybody who might've been looking for a synopsis of what went down. My apologies. Also, in regards to the game thread this afternoon. We're the home team, so we'll host the first period today, head to Pensburgh for the second, and come home for the third. No Friday night excuses, let's show up in droves.