Saturday, December 20, 2014

Three things to look for in Flyers' Game 3

Three things.

Three things to look for in Flyers' Game 3

Will Peter Laviolette put Mike Richards and Claude Giroux together in Game 3 against the Bruins? (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Will Peter Laviolette put Mike Richards and Claude Giroux together in Game 3 against the Bruins? (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

Big media mob at the Flyers' morning skate before Game 3 -- kind of eye-opening, really. And while the issues remain the same, the spin and the subtleties changes with each game being played.

1) The Flyers' lines. With the home-ice advantage and the ability to make the last change, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has a decision to make. In Game 1, he put Mike Richards and  Claude Giroux together -- and they saw a ridiculous amount of Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara as a result. In Game 2, Laviolette split up Richards and Giroux and also intermittently game them a taste in other situations where they could avoid Chara, and it was somewhat effect -- it led to Richards' first-period goal, for example. Now, Game 3, with more of a chance to avoid Chara, you wonder if Laviolette will put them together again and hope to recapture what was his original vision as the series opened.

2) 5-on-5. Other than the first period of Game 1, the games have been very even 5-on-5. (Rough definition of very even: after that first period, the teams have 44 shots apiece at even strength.) As defenseman Chris Pronger said at the Game 3 skate, "We need to continue to do the things we've done through the course of the first couple of games, and even the series against New Jersey. We need to skate, get pucks in deep, create turnovers and get into our two-man forecheck. When we do that, we're very effective. They haven't gotten a whole lot on their power plays but they've gained a lot of momentum from it."

3) Traffic cops. This really should have been first on the list. More than anything, the difference in this series has been the traffic in front of Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher -- he likely didn't see the first goal of Game 2 and only got a very late look at the game-winner. Much of that traffic is about being able to set up because of puck possession by the Bruins in their end. Simply, that needs to be minimized -- and it might help if the Flyers got off to a good start. As Dan Carcillo said this morning, "We've been behind the whole series, in both games clawing back to try and tie games. We've got to jump on them early in the first 10 minutes here, get some hits, get the fans into it, hopefully get the first goal and then roll from there."

More coverage
 
Head to Head: Flyers vs. Bruins, 7 p.m.
 
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Broad Street Bull: Savard ready for Flyers and fans
 
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Simple, isn't it?

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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