Voorhees, NJ – The first step towards success against the Buffalo Sabres in Game Three for the Philadelphia Flyers as they return home on Wednesday night at the Wachovia Center is simple: forget about Game Two.
"In the playoffs you can't keep beating yourselves up over it," said Eric Desjardins of the 8-2 loss, which put the Flyers in a two-games-to-none hole. "We just have to look forward and make sure we regroup. We have to play a lot harder; we all know that and I think everybody knows that. We have to go in our building and take charge."
The team gathered for a meeting shortly after noon on Tuesday at the Sovereign Bank Flyers Skate Zone, and then most of the players went out for practice with assistant coaches Wayne Fleming and Terry Murray.
"We talked about things this morning and that we need to look forward," said Simon Gagne. "It's only 2-0, and I liked the atmosphere today in the locker room. We need to be positive right now."
"Everyone was disappointed but we talked about it this morning and we're in a more upbeat mood now," said Derian Hatcher. "We dug ourselves in a hole and we're going to go out [Wednesday] night and give it all we've got."
Returning home to the Wachovia Center could provide the spark that the team needs as it strives for better starts to games. The Sabres took advantage of a passionate crowd at HSBC Arena, and the Flyers will have to do the same in order to even things up and force a Game Five in Buffalo next Sunday.
"Home ice is a big advantage in the playoffs and that's why you fight for it all year," said Ken Hitchcock. "Buffalo took advantage of it in Game One, too. They came out storming the beaches there at the start and they were coming after us pretty good.
"They are a young, emotional team and we are going to have to match or better them starting [Wednesday]. I think we will."
Much has been made of Buffalo's team speed, which the Sabres have used to their advantage. While there is no denying that they are a fast team, the Flyers have given them too many opportunities to utilize it.
"A lot of it is focus. The first two-goals [on Monday] were odd-man rushes, and that's what you don't do," said Hatcher.
Hitchcock hopes that the emotion of returning to a raucous home crowd gives the Flyers some jump at the opening faceoff.
"We just can't wade into the game. They are excited to throw it out there at you so we have to be excited to throw the things we do well at them.
"When we play the way we can and they play they way they can with both team's maxing out, it's a heck of a hockey game. That's what we have to show. We have to throw out our best game. We have not played our best 60 minutes. We have no other way to play than that way tomorrow."
Gagne agreed with his head coach.
"You need to have the passion and energy, especially the first couple of shifts," he said. "We know they are going to come hard tomorrow. That's what they did the first two games. We need to be there at the start, because that could show the rest of the games. We need to bring that passion and emotion right away in the first period."
FLYERS NOTES Fans attending the game on Wednesday are reminded to use the ticket labeled "Round 1, Home Game 1." … Doctors will reevaluate R.J. Umberger on Wednesday morning, according to Hitchcock. … Esche will start in net in Game Three. … Despite some speculation in the media, Keith Primeau will not play in the game.