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Flyers' Game 2 focus on 60-minute effort

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Flyers' Game 2 focus on 60-minute effort
The Flyers lost the opening game of their series with the Bruins in overtime, but it was the opening 20 minutes that forced them to play from behind for almost the entire game. In Game 2, they’ll be looking to start strong and carry that effort throughout.
BOSTON -- The Philadelphia Flyers have vowed to play a full 60 minutes on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Bruins.

That certainly wasn't the case on Saturday when the Big, Bad Bruins had their way with the Broad Street Bullies in the first period en route to outshooting (15-8) and outscoring (2-0) their opponent and basically putting the Flyers on their heels much of the game.

"At some point you have to win a game (in Boston) and (Monday) sounds like a good opportunity," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.

To their credit, the Flyers did rally from two goals down on three occasions to eventually tie Game 1. But there's no sugar-coating the fact the eight-day layoff between series for the Flyers reared its ugly head in the opening 20 minutes of the game.

"From a live game situation (the layoff) affected us," Laviolette said. "We didn't move the puck efficiently. We didn't seem to have our legs. When you sit for a long time you try and simulate things, but the competitiveness and the skating and the battles on the ice … it's hard to simulate. I don't think it was conditioning because we got stronger in the second (period) and the third was our best. But clearly, the first period affected us."

The Flyers were back on the ice at TD Garden for an optional skate on Sunday afternoon, strategizing and re-working their game plan during an energetic practice session that lasted an hour. Among the missing were Mike Richards, Kimmo Timonen, Chris Pronger and Matt Carle -- all healthy and just getting some rest.

"We were on our heels too much (on Saturday) in the first," Laviolette said. "One man in on two defensemen -- they're going to pick that guy apart. No one really handled the first 20 minutes they way we wanted to. That's not the style we're looking to play and certainly not the start we want. Without making excuses, we just need to be better. We're playing a good opponent out there as well, so things aren't always going to go your way."

Danny Briere, who was on the ice when Boston's Marc Savard scored the overtime winner in Game 1, feels the team just needs to make little adjustments to its game.

"I just felt that in every zone, we weren't as sharp as we usually are," Briere said. "In the defensive zone, and even myself, pucks were bouncing. We're losing guys. In the offensive zone, I thought our forecheck wasn't good at all. It's all little things, I think as we get playing more and more, we will get better at it and we will get in better shape."

Briere admits the team's puck pursuit, which was so evident in the first-round series triumph over the Devils, wasn't as prevalent against the Bruins. That has to change.

"I don't think we were moving our legs really well," he said. "In the first period, we were dumping pucks and we were slow getting there, or if one guy got there, they would just move into the next defenseman and our second guy was late. It was just about getting back into the game and getting our legs moving a little better."

Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, who made 41 saves in Game 1, said he'd be lying if the team didn't think a split in Boston would be beneficial.

"I guess you could say that every game is a must game but we want to come out of here with a split; we'd be feeling pretty good about that," Boucher said. "I'd be lying to you if I said we didn't want that. We wanted Game 1, we didn't get it. Now our focus is Game 2."

And, more specifically, the focus is on starting the game strong.

"Our start is going to be critical," Briere said. "For us, it's about getting pucks in deep and getting the forecheck going, getting the legs moving better than we did on Saturday."

But that's easier said than done, particularly against a strong defensive club such as the Bruins.

"We're playing against teams trying to do the same thing," Briere admitted. "They want to score and they want to get the momentum, so very rarely are you going to carry the play for a full 60 minutes. So you have to try and contain and weather the storm.
 
"We didn't do a very good job of that in the first period (Saturday), knowing that it was in their building and that they were going to come out strong. We have to realize that other teams are going to play well also, so that's where it becomes very important in sustaining and taking away that momentum."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at:
@mike_morreale

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