Flyers look to get back in series vs. Penguins

Publish date:

Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, Eastern Conference quarterfinal, Game Three, 3:00 p.m. EDT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Flyers' playoff predicament is a

cruelly familiar one.

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins lead

Philadelphia 2-0 in this playoff series -- just like last year

in the Eastern Conference finals. This year's quarterfinals

shifts on Sunday back to Philadelphia for Game 3 with the Flyers

looking to make this a competitive series -- again, like last


At this pace, the Flyers are looking at a repeat scenario with a

postseason exit.

The Flyers lost Game 3 at home with the series basically on the

line in the conference finals last season, so there's no

guarantee a return to the raucous atmosphere those

orange-and-black diehards add to every game will mean much other

than a rocking arena.

"Our minds are in a lot better place than we were last year,"

Flyers center Danny Briere said on Saturday. "We're feeling a

lot better. I thought we should be talking about a 1-1 series.

We win one game and we're right back there."

History is against the Flyers.

They have won only two best-of-seven series when trailing 0-2:

Philadelphia won four straight after dropping the first two to

Toronto in the 1977 quarterfinals and did the same thing to the

Penguins in the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals. All 17 NHL

teams that have jumped out to a 2-0 lead in each of the last two

postseasons have gone on to win the series.

The Flyers tossed those omens under the Zamboni.

"We're coming back to our building thinking this is our game to

have," Flyers goalie Martin Biron said.

It could be if Philadelphia eliminates the pesky penalties and

undisciplined play that have led to the first two losses. The

Flyers were whistled for 34 penalty minutes in Game 1 -- not a

total surprise for the NHL's most-penalized team -- then

appeared to keep their sticks in check with only 6 penalty

minutes in regulation of Game 2.

Overtime cost them big.

Mike Knuble extended his arms, not once, but twice into the back

of Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik and was whistled for

cross-checking. Claud Giroux picked up a slashing penalty only

30 seconds later, giving the Penguins a two-man advantage that

Bill Guerin would cash in with the winning goal.

Knuble, a 12-year veteran, made his second costly mistake in two

games. In the Game 1 loss, he tried banking a pass off the back

wall, but the puck skittered to Malkin and he quickly snapped it

past Biron for a 3-0 lead.

"Two games in a row something stupid happened to me," Knuble

said. "You feel like you're single-handedly thwarting your

team's chances and ruining your team's chances. You feel one way

the night before, then you feel it again. You're disgusted."

Knuble, though, wondered if the cross-checking call was made to

even things. Referee Bill McCreary had already called one

cross-checking penalty on Penguins defenseman Hal Gill in OT, so

officials were looking for a Philadelphia infraction.

"I can be as mad as I want about the call and feel it's unjust,

but the fact is, I gave him the opportunity and that's the

mistake," Knuble said.

Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen questioned if the officials are

treating his team the same as the Penguins.

"What I noticed was, I didn't see the refs yelling at their

bench at all. Not one time," Timonen said. "I could see them

coming over to our bench a few times. It makes you always wonder


Timonen said the Flyers deserved the same respect from the refs

as he feels they gave Pittsburgh.

"You see these guys going to the refs and talking to them, and

it looks like (the refs) talk to them back," Timonen said. "We

go talk to them and they yell at us. It's a little bit of a

difference. It's not something we can control."

Flyers coach John Stevens hoped the players like captain Mike

Richards, Timonen and Simon Gagne were respected enough by the

officials that they would at least earn the chance to explain

their gripes and grievances.

Crosby, who has a goal and two points, liked how the Penguins

scored twice on the power play in Game 2.

"I don't think either team took any stupid penalties, but when

you get opportunities on the power play in the playoffs, they're

big chances and you have to take advantage of them," he said.

The Flyers need more than the open ears of the officials to beat

the Penguins. Jeff Carter, the NHL's second-leading goal scorer,

has yet to record a point and wasted a few open looks in Game 2.

Briere and Knuble have not recorded a point.

If those scorers get going, and the Flyers can keep pushing

Malkin and Crosby outside, they believe they can get back in

this series.

Start slow and have the home crowd start booing, and the

Penguins could make this series an easy repeat.

"They're pretty loud, like Pittsburgh, so we can't give them any

reason to get loud," Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury "It can

turn pretty loud and turn into energy against us. I think we've

seen (the crowd turn) sometimes, when we frustrate them and kill

their power plays. If we do things like that, I think we can

turn (the crowd) in our favor."



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