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Flyers believe discipline is big reason for series lead

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Flyers believe discipline is big reason for series lead
The Philadelphia Flyers believe one big reason for their 3-0 series lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins has been their ability to stay composed.

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Even the Broad Street Bullies couldn't complain about the style of hockey the current Philadelphia Flyers are playing right now -- not when the results are so satisfying.

The Flyers are leading the Penguins 3-0 in the teams' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series for many reasons, most notably because of the 20 goals they've scored, but also because they've become a team that is all about discipline, playing whistle-to-whistle, and not aggressively seeking vengeance for any one hit, play or goal.

"After whistles you're used to seeing the Flyers start trouble," Danny Briere said Monday, "and for the most part we're staying away from it unless we have to protect our goalie, or protect each other from guys trying to take advantage of us."

To be fair, they've had to do that on more than one occasion -- including several times Sunday -- but what you're seeing from the Flyers is different because they are not at all acting like a team that led the NHL in total penalties and penalty minutes in the regular season.

"I think we've obviously discussed a game plan of how to get them frustrated, get them off their game. Obviously just getting after it, playing hard and playing smart between the whistles. I think we've won that battle of the discipline and it shows in the 3-0 series lead." -- Scott Hartnell

By sending wave after wave of offensive attacks, the Flyers have goaded the Penguins into taking the so-called bad penalties (Chris Kunitz's trip on Kyle Wellwood and slash on Braydon Coburn in the second period Sunday) only to get burned by the Flyers' seemingly insatiable desire to score on the power play.

Philadelphia is has scored with the man-advantage six of ten times through three games, including four power-play goals in Game 3; they hadn't scored more than two in a playoff game since at least 2004.

"I think we've obviously discussed a game plan of how to get them frustrated, get them off their game," Hartnell said. "Obviously just getting after it, playing hard and playing smart between the whistles. I think we've won that battle of the discipline and it shows in the 3-0 series lead."

If that's not enough, the Flyers say they believe it shows in how the Penguins responded Sunday.

Two Penguins -- James Neal and Arron Asham -- will have hearings Tuesday with the Department of Player Safety. Neal will have two hearings, one each for third-period hits on the Flyers' Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. Asham has been offered an in-person hearing for his cross check on Brayden Schenn in the first period. Asham was issued a match penalty.

PENGUINS VS. FLYERS

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Neal was not penalized for the hit on Couturier, while the he was whistled for charging on the hit on Giroux. However, the Flyers were more offended by Neal's hit on Couturier.

"Kind of a late hit, he jumped at the same time," Giroux said. "I think it was a pretty dirty hit, but at the end of the day it's not something you control. If he wants to go out there and throw them he can go out there and do that. We just have to make sure we stay focused on what we can do, and I think we did a good job of that in the first three games."

Hartnell said the Flyers are just trying to play the game the right way. He doesn't think the Penguins were doing the same Sunday.

"You look at some of the plays [Sunday], I think a couple of their guys took liberties on our guys," Hartnell said. "They weren't trying to hit to be effective; they were hitting to hurt. That's not the game of hockey. That's not the right way it's supposed to be played."

For years critics have been discrediting the Flyers for their brand of controversial hockey, but now they feel they're up 3-0 against their cross-state rival in part because the shoe is on the other foot.

"Perception doesn't really play into it for us," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "This is a new group. This is our group and our objective is to try and stay disciplined. I think we've done a good job."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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