Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 3
#2 New Jersey Devils at #7 Philadelphia Flyers
Series tied, 1-1
Wachovia Center - 6:00 PM ET - Philadelphia, PA
TV: CSN Philly HD, MSG Plus, TSN, RIS -- no national TV in USA
Radio: 610 WIP (internet stream here), XM 207, SIRIUS 218
Get the New Jersey perspective at In Lou We Trust
Everybody is talking about how the Flyers are looking forward to playing on home ice today, and yes, that's a big advantage for the Flyers today. Not only will they have the raucous home crowd behind them, Peter Laviolette will be able to get the matchups he wants on the ice, especially in trying to counter Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise.
But defensively speaking, the Flyers really just need to do the same things they've been doing. Especially against Kovalchuk. It was evident in Game 1 and 2 that the Flyers were getting the Russian super star off of his game. He took a few penalties in game 2, most notably mixing it up with Darroll Powe (we'll take that exchange any time, Ilya). He got things going with Mike Richards as well, eventually backing off when Richie stepped up a bit, but nonetheless.
Kovalchuk is ineffective when he tries to life the world on his shoulders. When you piss him off, he tries harder. He's like Alex Ovechkin in that regard, except the lone difference is that when you piss Kovalchuk off, he's not effective. Ovechkin gets better, Kovalchuk gets worse.
With Parise, though, he gets that fire under him and he just keeps on plugging away. The only way to stop him is to limit his time and space, not giving him any room to work his magic. It's a tough task, but Matt Carle and Chris Pronger have been mostly up to the task thus far. If you see a defensive matchup against Parise's line that doesn't include one of those players, the result likely won't be too good -- just like the last goal in Game 2.
Lukas Krajicek is back in the lineup over Oskars Bartulis. It may have something to do with that last goal on Friday night, but if you ask me, I think it's pretty smart to rotate the bottom three defenseman as much as possible throughout these playoffs. Keep them fresh, since there's not much daylight between them anyway.
We'll have the game thread up tonight at 5 PM, just prior to the 6 PM puck drop. It'll be complete with the lineups for tonight's game and a few questions to answer. If you're not heading down to the Wachovia Center, join us for the conversation as the Flyers look to jump back on top in the series. PLAYOFF HOCKEY!