Fly­ers look to get even

Pen­guins have owned Philly on Wells Fargo ice

The Republican Herald - - SPORTS - BY SAM CARCHIDI

PHILADEL­PHIA — Be­cause of the way they’ve been soundly beaten — get­ting outscored by a com­bined 12-1 in their two de­feats, in­clud­ing Sun­day’s 5-1 loss at the Wells Fargo Cen­ter — it seems as if the Fly­ers are get­ting blown out of the Eastern Con­fer­ence quar­ter­fi­nals by the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins.

If they can again re­bound from a lop­sided de­feat, how­ever, they can even the se­ries at two games apiece Wed­nes­day. They bounced back in Game 2, scor­ing a 5-1 win and aveng­ing a 7-0 loss in the opener.

“It’s a seven-game se­ries,” Fly­ers cap­tain Claude Giroux said af­ter Sun­day’s de­feat. “Some games you’re go­ing to play your best, some games you won’t. In Game 2, we played a great game, a great team game. We have to put this one be­hind us right away and be ready for Game 4.”

Ah, the prob­lem is this: Game 4 is at the Wells Fargo Cen­ter, and the Pen­guins have owned the Fly­ers in that build­ing this sea­son. Pitts­burgh was one of the NHL’s worst road teams this sea­son, but the Pens are quite com­fort­able play­ing in the Fly­ers’ home. Con­sider:

• Pitts­burgh has outscored the Fly­ers at the Wells Fargo Cen­ter 15-4, win­ning 5-1 and 5-2 de­ci­sions in the reg­u­lar sea­son, along with Sun­day’s play­off blowout.

• In the three games at the Wells Fargo Cen­ter this sea­son, the Pen­guins are 6-for-13 on the power play, while the Fly­ers are 0-for-15.

• Sid­ney Crosby has eight points and is plus-6 in the three games this sea­son in Philly. He has 38 goals in 63 ca­reer reg­u­lar-sea­son games against the Fly­ers. He also has 30 points, in­clud­ing 13 goals, in 20 ca­reer play­off games against the City of Broth­erly Hate for Crosby.

The home crowd was ex­tra-loud in the open­ing pe­riod Sun­day, and the fans seemed to en­er­gize a Fly­ers team that was phys­i­cal and re­lent­less on the forecheck, and spent most of the ses­sion buzzing around goalie Matt Mur­ray.

“They came out hard. We ex­pected that,” Crosby said af­ter col­lect­ing a goal and three as­sists. “He made some big saves, and that was a great job by him to let us set­tle in.”

Pitts­burgh, show­ing the poise of a twotime de­fend­ing Stan­ley Cup cham­pion, sur­vived the early on­slaught and took con­trol with three sec­ond-pe­riod goals, in­clud­ing two on the power play.

“When you look at the puck bat­tles won and lost over the last two pe­ri­ods, they won a ma­jor­ity of those,” said Fly­ers coach Dave Hak­stol, who again on Mon­day claimed Giroux’s penalty in Game 3 — he knocked the stick out of Crosby’s hands — was not de­served.

If the Fly­ers are go­ing to have any chance of win­ning Wed­nes­day, they might want to try a dif­fer­ent de­fen­sive strat­egy on Crosby, who has been dom­i­nant against ev­ery line. Against the Fly­ers, he has been matched mostly against Sean Cou­turier’s line this sea­son.

In the reg­u­lar sea­son, Crosby had nine points and was plus-8 in four games against the Fly­ers. In the Pens’ two wins in this se­ries, Crosby has a to­tal of seven points.

“It’s not time to panic here,” said Giroux, whose team hasn’t won a play­off se­ries since it up­set Pitts­burgh in 2012. “We play Wed­nes­day here and our guys will be ready and we’re go­ing to put this one be­hind us. We’ll do ex­actly what we did af­ter Game 1. We’re go­ing to look at what we did wrong and fix them.”

The Fly­ers’ 5-1 win (in­clud­ing an emp­tynet goal) in Game 2 was a lit­tle mis­lead­ing. It could have been a dif­fer­ent game if Pitts­burgh didn’t hit the post four times and if Crosby didn’t miss an open net in the clos­ing sec­onds of the sec­ond pe­riod.

Wed­nes­day’s game will help shape the Fly­ers’ odd, up-and-down sea­son.

“We have to come back in Game 4 and use our crowd, use what we do best in this barn to make us suc­cess­ful,” goalie Brian El­liott said.

Mon­day’s games Leafs 4, Bru­ins 2

TORONTO (AP) — Aus­ton Matthews scored the go-ahead goal in the sec­ond pe­riod, Patrick Mar­leau had two goals, and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Bos­ton Bru­ins in Game 3 of their Eastern Con­fer­ence firstround se­ries.

The Maple Leafs will look to even the se­ries at home in Game 4 on Thurs­day night.

Devils 5, Light­ning 2

NE­WARK, N.J. (AP) — Tay­lor Hall had a goal and two as­sists, set­ting up Ste­fan Noe­sen’s game-win­ner with 7:05 play, and the New Jer­sey Devils scored four times in the third to claw their way back into their firstround se­ries with Tampa Bay, beat­ing the Light­ning in Game 3.

Game 4 of the best-of-seven se­ries will be Wed­nes­day night at the Pru­den­tial Cen­ter, which was stuffed with fans wear­ing red.

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