When the Flyers face the Boston Bruins Saturday afternoon, it will be the second straight playoff series they are starting on the road.
“The only advantage is there’s no pressure” for the visitors, defenseman Chris Pronger said. “They’ve obviously got to perform at home, but other than that, they’ve got the last line change, they get their matchups. It’s up to us to counteract that by playing smart with the puck and getting good line changes when we get the opportunity. We’ve got to stay away from their transition game.”
In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Flyers defeated New Jersey, 2-1, in Newark and set the tone for the series.
They hope to do the same Saturday in Boston, where they are 0-5 in playoff games since a 1976 win.
“I don’t think it’s as much of an advantage in the playoffs as maybe in the regular season,” said coach Peter Laviolette, referring to teams playing at home. “Guys are dialed in and the crowd comes into play based on the game that’s being played on the ice. You definitely can grab energy in your home building, but those things are out of our control.”
“I’ve never started a series at home, so I don’t know what it’s like,” captain Mike Richards said. “I don’t mind starting on the road. I think, especially with a long playoff, it’s always tough to kind of start at home. On the road, you go and kind of have more time to prepare maybe….When you get there, you’re already focusing on the game.”
The good news for the Flyers is that teams were 27-22 on the road in the first round, including Philadelphia’s 2-1 mark in New Jersey.
The bad news is that Boston was 3-0 at home in the first round.
“I don’t think it really matters,” center Blair Betts said about starting the series on the road. “If we can go in there and win that first game like we did against New Jersey, that gives us home-ice advantage right off the bat. It puts the pressure back on them.”
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