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04-29-2004, 04:14 PM
  #139
Brad*
 
Join Date: May 2002
Country: United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mediator88
The toughest game to win in a 7 game series for the team with home court/ice advantage is almost always the 3rd game.

The Leafs came out and did exactly what everyone should have expected them to do - play a physical (bordering on dirty, but not overly so) game and play as if their playoff lives depended on it.

The Flyers have been significantly outplayed now in 3 of the 9 periods of hockey in this series. (Period 2 of Game 2 and Periods 2 and 3 of Game 3). That being said, they have outplayed the Leafs in 4 of the periods in the series. This is exactly what we should've thought it would be - an evenly matched series that will go 6 or 7 games.

Here's what the Flyers need to do, in my mind, to get their level of play back up:

1) The Flyers need to play their game. The Flyers were baited last night into playing the same style of game that the Leafs were playing. They responded to the physical play by either trying to hit back or by working hard to stickhandle around players who were coming after them. They must get back to the basics.

2) In order to do this, the Flyers must be more composed under pressure. There were over 10 times last night where 3 Leafs players would be chasing after the same Flyers player. If that player had been more composed and made smarter plays (whether it be finding the right open man or chipping it along the boards when needed) there would have been more chances created in the offensive zone and there would have been a lot less turnovers.

3) They need to stay focused. This is really the most important thing. If they lose their cool long-term, this series is over. Fedoruk needs to sit - he made 3 plays that led directly to either penalties against or goals against. The Leafs will not get the same bounces they got last night in every game of the series. These things tend to even out over the course of a series.

The Stanley Cup playoffs are a war of attrition and determination. The team that is most determined to force the other teams to play their style of game is usually the team that wins. If the Flyers can dictate the style and pace of play (like they did in games 1 and 2 - despite getting outplayed in that style for stretches of game 2), they will win the series - even if they lose game 4 (as most 6 game series won by the team with home ice have splits in the first four and then games 5 and 6 won by the home team). If they continue to do what they did in the second and third period of last night's game - playing to the Leafs' style - they will lose.

Brian
That's a good post.

Getting off to a 2-0 start against the Leafs in this series may have given some people, including the playoffs, a false sense of security. The Leafs are a very good team, and the Flyers were NEVER going to sweep them.

With Johnsson back, the Flyers have to win game 4. Splitting in Toronto and coming back to Philadelphia with a 3-1 lead would put them in excellent position, but they have to be able to rebound, and like Mediator88 said, get back to basics and play their game.

Brad* is offline