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Now at Home, Flyers Dictate the Hitting Game

Tuesday, 04.21.2009 / 9:10 AM ET / News
By Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com
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Now at Home, Flyers Dictate the Hitting Game

(Philadelphia, PA) - One of the most obvious storylines of this first-round playoff series between the Flyers and Penguins has been the hitting.

In the first two games, the Penguins were credited with 80 hits, compared to 66 for the Flyers. In Game 3, however, the Flyers outhit the Penguins 29-18, and Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, who had 14 hits in Game 2, had none in Game 3.

While real-time statistics like hits seem to vary building by building, the Penguins admit the Flyers dictated the physical play in Game 3.
The Flyers' Andrew Alberts and Jordan Staal collide in Game 3 at the Wachovia Center. (Getty Images)

"They did take the play to us (Sunday) night, no doubt about that," Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi told NHL.com. "They decided they were going to put the puck on the net, get the puck deep in the zone and play physical. It worked out well for them, they executed their game plan, which was to be physical and be aggressive."

Leading the hit parade for the Flyers were Daniel Carcillo, Darroll Powe and Andrew Alberts with four each.

Whether you believe the accuracy of the stats or not, it was obvious the Penguins were the more physical team in the first two games played in Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena. Game 3 was played here at the Wachovia Center, the home for Game 4 Tuesday (7:00 p.m., CSN, VS).

"I think they feed off their crowd like every other team that plays at home," Sidney Crosby said. "They play with a lot of energy. … Every team always has a little extra step when they're at home, that's pretty typical of every team. They're not any different."

For one night, at least, they were. The Flyers held onto pucks a bit longer and out-shot the Pens for the first time in the series, 31-29.

"(Sunday) night we didn't have the puck all that often," Scuderi said. "When they have the puck, they have possession, they can dump it in and then they're hitting you. If you're playing in your defensive zone, chances are you're the one getting hit. That was their plan and they achieved it."

And while all buildings can get loud when the home team excels, the Wachovia Center was a frozen tsunami of noise.

"They seemed like a desperate hockey team,” Pascal Dupuis said. “They really wanted to win, they played hard. They played hard in front of their fans. When you finish your hits, that's the kind of game the crowd loves here."

The Penguins' counter to the Flyers' increased aggression is to match it, even surpass it, much like they did in the first two games. Crosby said, however, the key is doing it in a smart way. Otherwise, the Penguins could do what the Flyers did in Game 1 -- let the emotions overwhelm, leading to undisciplined penalties and too much time shorthanded.

"When somebody on your team gets an extra hit or gets dragged into a scrum, it's hard not to help them out," Crosby said. "We have to go whistle to whistle. We know that type of game and we don't want to play it."

Instead, they want to stick to the style Scuderi said they've been playing since Dan Bylsma took over as coach in mid-February -- get the puck deep in the Flyers' zone and be aggressive on their forecheck.

"We'll have to step our game up and be more physical if we want time and space with the puck," Scuderi said.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 78 22 45 -8 67
W. Simmonds 81 32 28 -7 60
B. Schenn 80 26 33 3 59
J. Voracek 73 11 44 -5 55
S. Gostisbehere 64 17 29 8 46
S. Couturier 63 11 28 8 39
M. Raffl 82 13 18 9 31
M. Read 79 11 15 -5 26
M. Streit 62 6 17 -1 23
S. Laughton 71 7 14 -2 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 23 19 10 .918 2.51
M. Neuvirth 18 8 4 .924 2.27
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