Hartnell lauds Flyers' rookies

Flyers rookies have played prominent roles in helping them take a stunning three-games-to-none series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In Game 1, Brayden Schenn had a goal and two assists. Sean Couturier had a hat trick in Game 2, and Matt Read had a pair of goals in Game 3.

“These guys are teaching me with the way they’re playing," Flyers winger Scott Hartnell said at a news conference Monday at the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees.

Both teams had Monday off.

The Flyers can wrap up the series Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center, where they will aim for their first playoff sweep since 1995 against the Rangers.

"Our group is real solid right now," Hartnell said. "We’re playing together, we’re focused, but the hardest game to win is the fourth game of that series. If we think that’s going to be easy in Game 4 in Phialdelphia, we have another thing coming. They’ve got a lot of professionals over there who have faced elimination games in the (2009) Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit and have come back and won, so it’s not going to be easy.”

Spin on Crosby. Claude Giroux on Sidney Crosby saying he dislikes the Flyers: “I guess we must be doing something right if he hates us, right?”

Giroux said the feeling is mutual, that after the first three games, "it’s got to be hard to like them. We’re not big fans of them, and that’s why this series is so entertaining for the fans."

Later, Giroux was asked if he was aware that most of the pre-series prognosticators had selected the Penguins.

"Everybody was picking Pittsburgh going into the first round," he said. "I don’t think guys look at it a lot…but it was a little bit of a motivation for us to prove everyone wrong."

Malkin's plan. Pittsburgh superstar Evgeni Malkin told the Russian press on Monday that he plans to play in the World Championships if the Penguins are eliminated. Malkin, who is favored to win the NHL's MVP award, has no goals in the series and has been frustrated by Couturier's defensive work.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.