|Philadelphia Flyers center Jeff Carter, left, celebrates after Simon Gagne, not shown, scored against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi (31), in the third period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup hockey finals on Monday, May 31, 2010, in Chicago. (AP Photo) |
(Chicago, IL) - Panic button? No way the Philadelphia Flyers are going near it.
Despite losing their second-straight game to the favored Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night and finding themselves in a 0-2 hole in this Stanley Cup Final, Philly's fight and determination were still very palpable.
After spotting the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead in a blink of an eye on goals by Marian Hossa and Ben Eager 28 seconds apart late in the second period, the Flyers finally put it into high gear in the third.
And, to a man, the Flyers are confident they can carry over that third-period enthusiasm into Wednesday's Game 3 at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS). The Flyers outshot the Hawks 15-4 in the third, while also outhitting (37-35) the home team for the game.
"We tried to put everything at the net and, not that we didn't do it early on, it's just that when you're down 2-0 (in the game) you have no choice but to get back in the game and tie the game," said forward Simon Gagne, the Flyers’ lone goal-scorer. "We opened the game up more and I think we were right there. Now we have to find a way to get the first goal and that's what we'll try to do the next game in Philly."
While it might have been a case of too little, too late, the Flyers did pound away at Chicago goalie Antti Niemi in the third. They pulled within one when Gagne connected for his eighth of the playoffs with his team on the power play 5:20 into the period -- but the rookie goalie was impenetrable from that point on. He made 14 of his 32 saves in the final 20 minutes.
"It was an attitude change (in the third)," Flyers forward Danny Briere
said. "We played with a little bit more desperation. The first two periods, we were just too conservative, playing on our heels. I understand we were trying to play better defensively, but we just sat back a little too much for my liking."
Briere admitted it makes no difference that his team finds itself down two games.
"We can't change it," he said. "We've been in a hole before and we found a way to climb back out. That's the same attitude we're going to adopt once again."
The Flyers became the third team in League history to rally from an 0-3 deficit in a playoff series when they eliminated the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Now they'll have to rally again, as they have all season long.
"At this point, we're still confident; there are two teams standing," Briere said. "We have to be confident, we have to believe in ourselves. We've never quit before and we're not going to quit now. We're certainly not leaving Chicago feeling like we can't win.
"Both games, I think a bounce here or a bounce there going our way and this series could be tied 1-1. But we are down 2-0 and we can't change that. We can't look back any more. Just like the Boston series, we have to find a way to move forward and create our own bounces now."
The odds are against them as teams winning the first two home games in a Cup series have won 31 of 33 series. On top of that, the Flyers own a 3-12 series record when they trail 2-0.
Imagine that. The Flyers have a shot at becoming the third team in League history to win a Stanley Cup Final after losing the opening two games on the road. Can they do it again?
"They defended their home ice and we have to do the same," defenseman Chris Pronger
said. "We've played very well at home and we'll have to do that again."
The Flyers are a League-best 7-1 on home ice in the playoffs this spring.
"We have to continue doing what we did so well in the third; the skating, the physical play, the intensity, the passion, it all needs to be there for 60 minutes," Pronger said. "We made some plays and played physical and we got on them, but at the end of the day, we'll need more than one goal to win."
The Blackhawks won the opening two games at home during the 1971 Cup Final, but wound up losing to the Montreal Canadiens in seven games. Last year, the Detroit Red Wings won the first two games at Joe Louis Arena before dropping a seven-game series to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers hope to add their name to this short list of successful comebacks.
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen
is confident the team will rebound at home.
"I felt like we could have played better in the first two periods," Timonen said. "We weren't at the level we could play and, in the third, we showed signs what we can do when we skate, really forecheck hard, cycle and get the puck down low. We hit their D-men and that's our game. I don't think we did that 60 minutes, we only did it for 25 minutes (on Monday)."