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

(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 - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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