Be in attack mode. Set the tone early. Shoot more often.
That, veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen said, should be the plan as the Flyers face a win-or-stay-home Game 6 against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Timonen, whose team faces a three-games-to-two deficit in the Metropolitan Division semifinals, says the Flyers have been too passive.
“We have to be more aggressive. We have to get more shots, and when we are more aggressive, I think we create more turnovers, we score more, we get more shots on the net,” Timonen, 39, who hasn’t decided if he will retire after the playoffs, said after taking part in the team’s optional skate Monday in Voorhees. “…Sometimes you sit back a little too much and you give too much room to the other team. That’s not really our game. Our game is skating and forechecking hard.”
In the series, the Rangers have clogged lanes, not allowed many rebounds, and have allowed just 24.6 shots per game, the lowest total of any playoff team.
“We’re going to be home and we have to play our game,” Timonen said. “It doesn’t matter what they do. Sometimes, you worry way too much about what they do and how many shots they block. Who cares? Just go out and do your job and we’re going to be fine.”
When trailing, three games to two, the Flyers are 7-10 in Game 6. They won their last Game 6 in that situation, a 5-4 overtime triumph in Buffalo in 2011, and then won Game 7 at home, 5-2.
Overall, they are 3-14 in series in which they are facing a three-games-to-two deficit.
The Rangers have allowed just three even-strength goals to Flyers forwards in the series.
“We have to give them credit; they play a hard game, and they play defense hard,” Timonen said. “And they have five guys on you all the time. They’re a fast team. But still, the whole year, we didn’t care who we played against, and it shouldn’t change in the playoffs. You have to worry about your game and what you can do better. I know we can play better. That’s why I’m really confident about (Tuesday) because we’ve all got more.”
Timonen said “the guys were kind of loose today, and that’s a good sign. If you’re too intense at this time of the year, it’s not going to work.”
If the Flyers force a Game 7, it would be played on Wednesday in New York. That would give the teams three games in four nights.
Gill or Gus. Coach Craig Berube said he hasn’t decided whether Hal Gill (minus-2 in Game 5) or Erik Gustafsson will play Tuesday; he did say Gustafsson would add speed to the lineup if he is inserted.
No prediction. Captain Claude Giroux said he would not share his Game 6 prediction with the media. “I’ll keep it to myself,” he said with a smile.
Giroux had predicted the Flyers would make the playoffs when they were 1-7, and that they would win Game 4 against the Rangers. He was 2 for 2 on those picks.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.