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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 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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