VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers may be winless heading into Game 3 against the Boston Bruins, but that hasn’t curbed their confidence or enthusiasm one bit as they hit the road.
“There is a 100 percent belief in here that we can go into Boston and win the next game,” said coach Peter Laviolette. “There’s a lot of guys [in the locker room] that have battled through different situations and been able to win big games. I have no reason to doubt that tomorrow will be any different.”
Brimming with confidence and displaying an almost excited demeanor, when asked if the Flyers drew swagger from last year’s 3-0 comeback on the Bruins, Laviolette said they never discussed it.
Midway through the third period with the Boston Bruins and Flyers locked at two, the orange-clad Philadelphia crowd that filled Wells Fargo Center scrapped the U.S.A. chants that started the contest in favor off a more topical and rousing abbreviation — J.V.R.
To say that James van Riemsdyk was impressive in Game 2 would be an understatement. Scoring two early goals and pacing the Flyers’ spirited attack throughout, the 21-year-old seemed to have an awaken. Jetting into the zone, cornering defenders and powering to the crease, all while taking double shifts, was not just an errant good game — it looked more like the coming of age of a superstar.
“I think it’s just the experience and the confidence to have been in the playoffs before and learned from the guys that are such great playoff performers,” van Riemsdyk said.
VOORHEES, N.J. — It was a moment that defined the core of this Flyers team.
Coming from a 3-0 series and Game 7 deficit to take down the Boston Bruins en route to an eventual trip to the Stanley Cup Finals was not only historic, it is the watershed moment that all future playoff scenarios will be compared to. And what this particular returning group of Flyers will walk beside forever.
And for that, the Bruins seek redemption.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s a good opportunity for us to hopefully exorcise some demons,” Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference told the Boston Herald, after advancing past the Montreal Canadians on Wednesday.
“As much as we learned lessons from last year and we’re not afraid to talk about those lessons, we’ve got a chance to make things a little bit better this time around.”
WELLS FARGO CENTER — Peter Laviolette put it bluntly.
“It’s a game that’s made for men,” the Flyers coach said after last postseason’s Game 7 win against the Boston Bruins. “And our guys proved to be men today.”
And with the season on the line against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center in a crucial Game 7, the Flyers are looking to tap into that masculine fervor one more time.
“All your eggs are in one basket,” said forward Kris Versteeg. “It’s a game where you better be prepared because if not, it’s all over.”
Gritting their teeth to overcome the crippling effects of poor goaltending, some how, some way, the Flyers are coming home for Game 7. And hidden under the cloud of poor personnel decisions, backstop philosophies and power play inefficiency, the Flyers are winning with pure, unadulterated willpower.
“We’ve shown heart and character from the onset of the season,” Chris Pronger told reporters in Buffalo. “Went through a lot of ups-and-downs and come through in the clutch. It happened again today.
“It’s the drive and desire to win.”
For nearly every team in the playoffs, home-ice advantage has been a crucial and desired aspect in gaining an edge on the opposition. However, for the Flyers, their strategic advantage comes as the visitors.
“I think when we get away we just kind of relax,” said Jeff Carter. “When you’re on the road there isn’t much to worry about except for going out and playing hockey. For whatever reason, we seem to play our best hockey on the road.”
There’s something to be said for a steady veteran hand when a precision job is needed. And that’s exactly what Brian Boucher gave the Flyers in Game 2 on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres.
Coming in relief of shaky rookie Sergei Bobrovsky in the first period, Boucher steadied the ship, making 20 saves and more importantly, gave the Flyers an opportunity to take the eventual 5-3 victory.
“I think [Boucher] is very calm,” said Danny Briere. “He’s been around. It takes a special kind of person to come in while we’re down 3-2, in front of 20,000 fans, during a big game. He kind of settled things down for us and I think that was one of the reasons why we played with a little more composure maybe in the last 45 or 50 minutes.”