VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux said if he had been told before his team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins that his team would be coming home for Game 6 up 3-2 in the series, he would be pretty happy.
After taking a 3-0 series lead, though, having to prepare for Game 6 on Sunday (Noon ET, NBC, TSN) has to be a bit disappointing.
Following an optional skate Saturday here at Virtua Flyers Skate Zone, the players said the past needs to be left behind them, with the focus fully shifted to the next game.
"From my experiences, you can't really sulk from game to game or if things aren't going well," defenseman Matt Carle said. "You have to be ready for the next game. If you dwell on the past too much, it's going to affect the next game."
Giroux said he feels the team's collective mindset is in a good place. He said no one appears overly nervous or is squeezing the stick out of frustration over having missed two chances to close the series -- even if Giroux himself exhibited a fair bit of frustration himself, demolishing his stick after the final whistle by smashing it over the crossbar.
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"We're pretty confident about our game," he said. "We know we can beat them, we know we can outwork them. We're aware they're a pretty good team -- one of the best teams in the League. They got some good offensive players that can score goals, but I do like our game last game. I think guys played well."
Added James van Riemsdyk, who played 7:31 in his first game since March 1 due to a broken foot: "We're a confident bunch. We have a lot of great leadership in the [locker] room. We didn't expect this to be easy. They've got a lot of great players over there. We knew they were going to fight for every inch and fight it out for everything they got in the series. We knew it was going to be a tough series. And this next game should be no different."
The players that spoke to the media Saturday said they hope the way the team played in the final half of the third period of Game 5 carries over to Game 6.
Over the final 12:51, trailing 3-2, the Flyers out-shot the Penguins 14-2 and had multiple chances to tie the game.
"Obviously that was our best hockey in the last two games," Giroux said. "We kind of went back a little bit to what we were doing before, skating hard, winning battles, working as a team. Coming out in front of our fans, I think right off the bat we have to pretty much do the same thing."
Scott Hartnell said he thinks his team needs to have a "Game 7 atmosphere" Sunday.
Giroux agreed: "It's pretty much do-or-die, that's how we have to play our game. If we play do-or-die, I think guys are going to be jumping, guys are going to be playing the way we should. I still feel we haven't played our best 60 minutes yet in these playoffs. I think we're due for a great 60-minute, all-round team effort. And hopefully it's going to be that time in Game 6."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK