Laviolette's psychological warfare

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is trying to get into the head of Blackhawks goaltender Antti Niemi. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

You have to love this time of year, and what it brings out in people -- first defenseman Chris Pronger and the business with antagonizing the Chicago Blackhawks by collecting the puck at the end of the games, and now coach Peter Laviolette pulling out all of the psychological stops with the Flyers trailing the Blackhawks by two games to none in the Stanley Cup Final.

Laviolette did everything he could to get inside of the head of Chicago goaltender Antti Niemi, who has won both third periods played so far and, therefore, won both games.

"We've got to put more pressure on their goaltender," Laviolette said on the off-day between Games 2 and 3. "He's a rookie goaltender playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. We have to get on the board here tomorrow night and put a little bit of doubt there.

"Our team is capable of scoring a lot of goals, put a lot of pressure on him. It's a tough position, goaltending. He's representing a city that hasn't won a Cup in 50 years. We have to give him a crack of doubt."

It's a tough position...

Hasn't won a Cup in 50 years...

Crack of doubt...

This is all about as subtle as a cross-check, and so be it. It is the Final, and you reach for any weapon, any tactic you can find.

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