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Factors that will decide Game 4

Friday, 06.04.2010 / 12:26 PM / 2010 Stanley Cup Final - Blackhawks vs. Flyers

By Shawn P. Roarke and Dan Rosen - NHL.com Staff Writers

PHILADELPHIA -- Another day, another pivotal turning point in the Stanley Cup Final. Friday's Game 4 (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS) will see one of two scenarios, the Flyers tying the series 2-2, setting up a best-of-3 for the Stanley Cup, or a 3-1 Chicago lead that would put the Blackhawks at home Sunday with the chance to win the Cup. NHL.com's Dan Rosen and Shawn Roarke have five factors the Flyers and Blackhawks must do achieve their goal.

  CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
  PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
1. Special treatment:
The Blackhawks are leading the series despite being outscored, 4-0, on the power play. They are 0-for-6 with the man-advantage after not
Kane
getting a single power play in Game 1. Philadelphia has scored on four of its 10 power plays. Chicago has not been terribly undisciplined, but it's getting burned. Philly is 27 for its last 28 on the PK.

"The power play has been a little slow," Patrick Kane said. "We want to get moving around and obviously moving our feet and moving the puck, too, because that's how all the chances come. If we can get shots from the point and create off that that's a good thing. But I think sometimes when you're playing the game you're worried about getting power plays, especially with the things have been going for us, that sometimes you don't bear down when you do get them. "
1. Hang on, we're coming:
The Philadelphia Flyers get better as games drag on because of the conditioning base instilled by coach Peter Laviolette upon his
Laviolette
arrival. In the past two games, Philadelphia has out-shot Chicago, 30-8, in the third periods. For the series, Philadelphia holds a 36-16 shot advantage in the third period. The third-period dominance also extends to entire series. This postseason, Philadelphia is 8-0 after a series reaches Game 4.

"I mean, we seem to go up and down the ice, and as games wear on," Laviolette said "I thought that was in the Montreal series as well. It seemed the longer the game went, the better we were. We still had a lot of jam and a lot of speed to our game."
2. Time to engage Mr. Byfuglien:
After being a dominating player against Vancouver and San Jose, Hawks left wing Dustin Byfuglien has been a non-factor in the
Byfuglien
Final. Chris Pronger is winning the one-on-one battle, but somehow Byfuglien has to find a way to get an edge on the Flyers' towering defenseman. He has to push back. He has to get crafty around the net. Byfuglien is a minus-3 with 1 assist and only three shots in the series.

"One of the things with Buff is we try to tell him to just play the game, don't worry about one specific guy that you have to engage with because then I think it gets you off your game a bit," Kane said. "You have to play calm, play your game and not worry about who you're playing against. Pronger is a big guy and I think he likes to save his energy out there, so if we can make him work harder in his own zone than it's good for us."
2. Stay the course:
There's some concern that Philadelphia's top line isn't scoring and that Philadelphia can't win the series if it remains ice cold. In Game 3,
Gagne
the trio of Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne did not register a points, but had 10 shots and, according to Laviolette, at least 20 quality chances on net. Let's not forget, this trio accounted for 81 goals in the regular season and 18 more this postseason.

"You're talking about really three of our top goal scorers on the team," Laviolette said. "Those three guys are capable of putting the puck in the net. Their opportunities are there. Their chances are there. And I think what I look for anyway in a line is: are they getting looks? Are they getting opportunities? And they are."
3. Defend your turf:
All four of Philadelphia's goals in Game 3 came from either the high or low slot. Chicago has to be better in front of its own net to give
Brouwer
goalie Antti Niemi a puncher's chance. Granted, Danny Briere scored off a brilliant cross-slot feed from Scott Hartnell, while Hartnell scored on a tip of Chris Pronger's shot. Ville Leino scored on a rebound off Niemi's pad and Giroux on a tip of Matt Carle's slap-pass. But in particular, Briere, Leino and Giroux were not even touched.

"In the first game, too, they were able to score a couple of goals with loose pucks that we couldn't find," Hawks left wing Troy Brouwer told NHL.com. "We have to do a better job of identifying those loose pucks and clearing those pucks out of the front of the net so they don't have second and third opportunities."
3. Depth charge:
In order to win this series, Philadelphia will need scoring contributions throughout its lineup. So far, that has happened with Arron
Briere
Asham and Blair Betts scoring unexpected goals in earlier games. Third-liner Claude Giroux had the game-winner in Game 3. Now, rookie scorer James van Riemsdyk may be re-inserted into the lineup to add even more offensive depth for Philadelphia to rely upon.

"You can't rely just on one line," second-liner Danny Briere said. "You need depth. The best teams that go deep into the Playoffs usually have depth. And we can see right now two teams that are dangerous throughout their lineup. There's not a big difference between your top line and your fourth line."
4. Win the third:
Luckily for the Hawks, the score is not all that indicative of how badly the Flyers have dominated the third periods in the last two
Madden
games. Philadelphia has just a 2-1 advantage in the last two third periods, but has outshot the Hawks, 30-8. Chicago had to hang on to win Game 2 and hang on just to get to overtime in Game 3.

"It's just mentally, being prepared to play and sticking to our game plan," center John Madden said. "We didn't do anything we wanted to do in the third period (Wednesday) and that's why they were able to control the game. We have to be better in a lot of areas. That's the biggest difference."
4. Body of work:
Philadelphia has found most of its success when it gets into the attacking zone on the forecheck and bangs on the Chicago D as it
Hartnell
goes back to get the puck. Philadelphia forward Scott Hartnell was among the biggest impact players in the game and it all started with his willingness to steam into the offensive zone and punish the Chicago defensemen. He had 6 hits, tied for the team lead in Game 3 with Darroll Powe as Philadelphia delivered a total of 40 hits in the game.

"It started in Game 1, every hit counts," Hartnell said. "You bang bodies and you make it hard on them. Hopefully it's wear-and-tear on their bodies."
5. Remember who leads:
Most of the questions posed to the Hawks since Giroux scored 5:59 into overtime Wednesday have had a slightly negative
Sharp
connotation to them because that's what happens after a loss in the Stanley Cup Final. Chicago needs to remember it still holds a 2-1 lead in the series and can earn the right to win the Stanley Cup on its home ice, in front of its own fans, with a win at Wachovia Center tonight.

"You can definitely feel a different feeling in the locker room today than after the first two wins, but that's expected," Chicago center Patrick Sharp said. "We just want to make sure we're on the other side of it tomorrow. We're in a great spot. I think we have played OK this series, but there is definitely room for improvements."
5. Isn't that special:
Philadelphia has clearly won the special-teams battle so far, scoring 4 power-play goals, while not allowing any in six attempts. Plus, they
Richards
have been the more disciplined team to date. They did not allow Chicago a power play in Game 1 and have allowed just three poser plays in each of the past two games. Meanwhile, Philadelphia has scored four power-play goals in 10 attempts.

 "In the playoffs especially, special teams are always a huge factor," Richards said. "I thought our power play has created a lot of momentum. We got the goal (in Game 3) on it. Our penalty kill has been outstanding. We've been putting a lot of pressure and we build momentum off of that, too."

Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players