After watching the Flyers' morning skate at the Bell Centre -- including Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere, both of whom will remain inactive for now -- there were a couple of things people seemed to be talking about. Three things, then:
1) The start. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has been unhappy with the first period of both games in this series, both shutout victories for his team. Game 3 presents an interesting challenge in that the Flyers will simultaneously be trying to play better and also trying to hang on against the anticipated onslaught from the desperate Canadiens and their legendary fans. It's a little bit of a funny balance. "We have to make sure we keep it simple in the first few minutes," said Simon Gagne, one of the French Canadians on the team for whom this building is a church. "Then we just have to play our game...In the regular season, it's special to jump on the ice here. In the playoffs, it will be more special. It's going to be very loud. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of emotion."
2) The whistles. There is one sure way to open the door to a comeback in this series by the Canadiens and everyone knows it. As Scott Hartnell said, "We really have to stay out of the penalty box." After being the most-penalized team in the first round of the playoffs, the Flyers have been much, much more disciplined since then. At 11.3 penalty minutes per game, they are ranked seventh out of the 16 playoff teams, a very good spot for them. It matters every game, but that discipline could really matter tonight, especially at the start. Because, as Hartnell said, "This building is going to be off its rocker."
3) The matchups. The Flyers, it seems, have tried to get either defenseman Chris Pronger, or center Mike Richards, or both, out against Montreal sniper Mike Cammalleri whenever they can -- although, truth be told, Laviolette has not performed any great gymnastics to do it and has seemingly been happy enough if Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn have been out there instead of Pronger and Matt Carle. Well, now we get to see what Canadiens coach Jacques Martin wants and what he can get with the last change. Another question: does Montreal maneuver its top defense pair (Hal Gill and Josh Georges) so that it is out mostly against Richards and Gagne, or against Danny Briere/Ville Leino/Hartnell?