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Experienced Flyers confident playing from behind

by Adam Kimelman

VOORHEES, N.J. -- In October, with the Philadelphia Flyers sitting at the bottom of the NHL standings, captain Claude Giroux proclaimed his team would make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He made another prediction after his team lost to the New York Rangers in Game 3 to fall behind 2-1 in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series, and reiterated it after an optional practice Wednesday.

"I personally think we did a lot of good things [in Game 3], and if we play the same way we're going to win here Friday," Giroux said. "If we play our game, if we play the right way, we're going to win. We just have to make sure we play like that."

Claude Giroux
Center - PHI
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 2
SOG: 2 | +/-: 3
The Flyers will host the Rangers in Game 4 of the series Friday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS, TSN, MSG, CSN-PH).

Giroux's teammates said they can feed off their captain's confidence.

"It shows his character, that he really wants it," forward Sean Couturier said. "I think the whole team follows him. I think we'll be ready and we'll be ready to compete and get that win. … We definitely don't want to be in that hole, [but] we've come all year from behind. I don't see why we couldn't again."

Playing from behind has seemed to become a default setting for the Flyers. They started the regular season 1-7-0; their seven wins when trailing after two periods was tied for fourth-most in the League; and 11 times they trailed at some point in the third period only to end up with a victory.

And in Game 2 against the Rangers they trailed 2-0 midway through the first period but rallied to score the game's final four goals.

"I don't know if we're more comfortable [being down] but we're used to it now," forward Wayne Simmonds said. "We are comfortable in that situation. We're going to keep pushing no matter what happens. It's kind of what [identity] we've taken on in here. We're a resilient bunch. We're never going to say quit."

To make Giroux's prediction a reality there are a few things the Flyers know they need to do better, chief among them finding better ways to move the puck around the offensive zone to avoid the Rangers. New York blocked 28 shots in Game 3, including nine blocks on five Philadelphia power plays.

"They had lots of zone time [on the power play]," coach Craig Berube said. "Just didn't get enough pucks through. Too slow. Got to move it quicker. It was too predictable. Change it up a little bit, do some things quicker and get pucks through to the net. [Scott] Hartnell and Simmonds never had any rebound chances, so that means the puck never got there.

"Team blocks 30 shots, that's on us. We have to do a better job of getting pucks through and moving it quicker."

Berube said he wasn't planning on making changes in personnel or setup to his power-play units, putting the onus on the players to perform better.

"I don't think that [personnel] is the problem," Berube said. "I don't think … they've been a good power play all year and they're going to be again."

And while the team has played well when faced with adversity, the players know it's something they can't always depend on. One example was Game 3, when the Flyers again fell behind 2-0 early but were unable to match their Game 2 recovery effort.

"Our start of the game wasn't great," Berube said. "We can't go down 2-0 in the first period. It's two games in a row. The start of the game has to be better in the first period."

However, Berube was happy to hear his players aren't cowed by the challenge in front of them.

"Why wouldn't we be confident?" he said. "This is no time to put your head down. We lost a game at home, we're down 2-1. Got a game Friday and we've got to be positive and we have to do things a bit better, try to score some more goals."


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