(Montreal, Quebec) – In one of his more eye-opening (or ear-opening?) moments as the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, Mike Richards didn’t mince his words when he addressed the media at the Bell Centre following Thursday night’s 5-1 loss to Montreal in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Richards was quickly out of the locker room and the first player to speak with reporters.
“That was an old fashioned ass-kicking. They handed it to us right from the get-go,” he said. “I don’t know if we thought we just had to throw our sticks on the ice and it was going to be easy, but give them credit. They played hard. They were all over the ice, they won every puck battle, and obviously it shows with the score.”
|Mike Richards (seated) gets into a scrap late in Game 3 at the Bell Centre on Thursday night. (Getty Images) |
Philadelphia entered the game on the momentum of a six-game playoff winning streak, including back-to-back shutouts in Games 1 and 2 of its series with Montreal. Any thoughts of a series sweep against the Canadiens dissipated with every passing moment of Game 3, as Montreal controlled play for essentially the duration of the game.
Richards thinks his club may have been a little over-confident. In fact, the captain was not all that impressed with the first two games of the series, either, despite the 9-0 combined score.
“Maybe we got a little cocky or a little full of ourselves just thinking we could go out there and play,” he said. “This was a long way coming. We didn’t play all that well the first couple of games and relied heavily on our power play, and our five-on-five play wasn’t the greatest, either. Like I said, that was just a beat-down.”
Was this game a wake-up call for the club?
“It better be. I’m not calling anyone out except myself leading. It’s going out on the ice and playing for it instead of just going out there and hoping.
“You always say you want to move on after a game and forget about it, but hopefully we can take this bitter taste in our mouths and bring it the next game.”
The Flyers will still have a chance to get a split in Montreal on Saturday when the teams meet for Game 4 (3:00 p.m., NBC). The series shifts back to Philadelphia on Monday, and the team would like nothing better than an opportunity to win the Eastern Conference title on its home ice.
Richards seems ready to do everything in his power to make sure that Game 4 is not a repeat of Thursday night.
“It’s my responsibility being the leader and the captain of this team that we were not ready to play. It’s got to change, and obviously, in a hurry.”