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Now at Home, Flyers Dictate the Hitting Game

Tuesday, 04.21.2009 / 9:10 AM / 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 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 62 19 45 4 64
C. Giroux 61 18 41 2 59
W. Simmonds 62 24 18 -2 42
M. Streit 62 8 32 -4 40
B. Schenn 62 12 23 -3 35
S. Couturier 62 12 14 -2 26
M. Del Zotto 50 7 17 -7 24
M. Read 62 5 18 -9 23
M. Raffl 47 13 3 4 16
V. Lecavalier 44 7 9 -9 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 11 13 7 .925 2.26
R. Emery 10 10 4 .893 3.15
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