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Flyers Look to Advance from Home Base

Monday, 05.24.2010 / 3:09 PM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com
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Flyers Look to Advance from Home Base
(Philadelphia, PA) - One more victory against the Montreal Canadiens and the Philadelphia Flyers will earn the eighth Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history.

And unlike the previous two playoff rounds, when they closed out their opponent on the road, the Flyers would like nothing more than to finish off the Canadiens in five games with a victory in front of what is sure to be a loud and boisterous crowd at Wachovia Center.

The Flyers and Canadiens will face-off on Monday in Game 5 at 7 p.m. ET (VERSUS, CBC, RDS).
Philadelphia Flyers' Mike Richards crashes into the Montreal Canadiens net as Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak looks on during third period of Game 4 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals Saturday, May 22, 2010, in Montreal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

If the Flyers clinch a Stanley Cup Final berth on home ice, it would mark the fifth time they would have done so. The Flyers eliminated the New York Rangers (4-3) at home in the Stanley Cup Semifinals in 1974, the Islanders (4-1) in '75, the Quebec Nordiques in '85 and the Rangers again in '97.

"It'd be nice (to close it out at home) because the fans deserve it for sticking behind us through the whirlwind of a season we just had," Flyers captain Mike Richards said. "It'd be nice to play well enough (Monday) to wrap it up and get that last win to move on. Obviously, Montreal is not a place we want to go back to, but at the same time we know we're going to have to play extremely well to do so and have a start like we did (in Game 4)."

Danny Briere, who is tied with Richards for the team lead with 18 points, expects an electric atmosphere Monday.

"I expect the crowd to be pretty wild," he said. "Knowing the situation that we're in, it's been a while since the Flyers have been in this position. So I expect the fans to help us in that department, definitely."

Briere is also looking forward to another stirring rendition of "God Bless America" given by Lauren Hart and a recording of Kate Smith. The Flyers are 8-1-0 over the last nine games that Hart and Smith have blown the roof off with their collaborative effort. Philadelphia is 85-22-4 when Kate Smith is included in the singing of "God Bless America," a tradition that dates back to 1969 and games at the old Spectrum.

"It's mostly the atmosphere that (God Bless America) builds inside the building," Briere said. "How crazy the fans get and that energy that we're able to build off of is amazing.  It's so much fun to see the crowd go nuts like that and to start screaming. You have chills everywhere on your body. There's no better feeling to start a game."

Flyers forward Ian Laperriere knows the Flyers will need to play their best game against a desperate Montreal team.

For Laperriere, taking the ice in front of the hometown crowd is going to be something special. It was a little over two weeks ago during a second-period stoppage in Game 3 against the Boston Bruins when Laperriere, dressed in civilian clothes and whose season was in doubt, received a standing ovation.

He'll be making his first start at Wachovia Center since that memorable moment. Laperriere missed nine playoff games with a brain contusion after taking a shot to the face in Game 5 against the New Jersey Devils on April 22.

"It was kind of neat and something I'll remember for the rest of my life," Laperriere said. "When they told me I'd have a chance to come back, I thought it would be nice to play in front of our fans at this time of the year with the crowd going nuts. It's been driving me crazy just watching from the press box and watching the games and knowing I couldn't be out there because of my injury. When that great news happened, I was just happy knowing I'd have another chance in front of our fans."

Richards is grateful for the tremendous support he and his teammates have received.
"I think (great support) comes with winning," Richards said. "Just walking down the street in Old City, different people come up to you, people you wouldn't expect were hockey fans. When I'm sitting in a restaurant … I'm not paying for a whole lot of meals right now, it's nice to see the support by the city and how everyone is behind you. The words of motivation and good luck are nice. Especially in Philadelphia, where they're not shy about voicing their opinion."




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


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
S. Mason 23 19 10 .918 2.51
M. Neuvirth 18 8 4 .924 2.27
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