Stanley Cup Final, Game 3
lead series 2-0
Wachovia Center - 8:00 PM ET - Philadelphia, PA
TV: Versus HD, CBC HD, RDS HD
Radio: 610 WIP (internet stream here), XM 204, SIRIUS 208
Get the Chicago perspective at Second City Hockey
PHILADELPHIA -- Last time they were on home ice, the Flyers were hoisting the Wales Trophy as Eastern Conference Champions. Since that night over a week ago, the orange and black have yet to put a win up on the board, but now that they're back on friendly territory, they're ready to put those losing ways behind them.
The crowd, expected of course to be raucous, was a major topic of discussion this morning as the home team and the Chicago Blackhawks prepare for Game 3. Peter Laviolette said he's already "fired up" about what the crowd will be like, and many of the 'Hawks players are expecting the worst possible reception from the orange clad faithful once they get on the ice tonight at the Wach.
Of course, several of the current Blackhawks know exactly what to expect tonight. Patrick Sharp and Ben Eager played in this building during a championship series with the Phantoms back in 2005, and for the final game of that Calder Cup Finals series against, go figure, the Chicago Wolves, 20,103 people crammed into this building. It's a hockey record that stands unchallenged today, and unfortunately, it's one that probably won't be broken.
The NHL has two sections in the upper bowl, 222 and 222A, tarped off for extra media seating, making that record almost unreachable unless the doctor the numbers a bit. Still, it's expected to be loud here tonight of course, but will it match or surpass the noise level at United Center for Games 1 and 2?
Luckily, NHL.com has a decibel meter and will be sharing the readings after tonight's game. After the jump, more hockey-ish things.
So, yeah. The Flyers are down 0-2. Been there, done that. Tonight's the night where we find out if we have a series on our hands, and the Flyers seem pretty determined to let people know we do. Cool, collected and confident, the orange and black don't seem worried about the task ahead of them. Adversity does that to a team.
This quote from Peter Laviolette sums up the attitude around the Flyers:
And like I said before, we've been in a situation since Christmas where it's been time to pack it in. Everybody just go home. Call it a year. And yet we're still here. It's the beginning of June. We're pretty happy to be here. And the guys won't quit. They just won't. That's why I sit up here today confident about our ability to win a hockey game tonight.
They'll try to win that game with the same lineup that couldn't get the job done in Game 2. Dan Carcillo and Oskars Bartulis are still in the lineup, and Laviolette will use the home ice edge to get better matchups for his key guys. Mike Richards and the Flyers' top line has been stymied by the Blackhawks so far in the series, but you have to expect that they'll look to get that line away from Dave Bolland and the 'Hawks checking line.
Overall, it just comes down to the Flyers ability to continue to do the things they did in the latter stages of Game 2. In the final half of that contest, they peppered Antti Niemi with 29 shots. He answered the call on 28 of them, but if the Flyers can continue that relentless (there's that word again) attack, there should be no doubt Niemi will cave just like Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak eventually did earlier in these playoffs.
The Flyers are just as good as these Blackhawks, and a strong win on home ice will go a long way toward convincing us all that's the truth. Game thread at 5 PM.