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Flyers know importance of eliminating Pens quickly

by Adam Kimelman /

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers have a pretty good idea of what the Pittsburgh Penguins are going through right now.

The Flyers lead the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series 3-0, but just two years ago it was the Flyers who were in the 3-0 series hole. In the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Flyers lost the first three games to the Boston Bruins. They battled back, however, and became just the third team in League history to rally from such a deficit to win a series.

So the Flyers have a pretty good idea of what the Penguins' mindset will be going into Game 4 Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

"We've been down in this dressing room before a couple years ago," Scott Hartnell said. "Just have to win the next game, that's it. You can't win four games in one night. We know they're going to put all their eggs in one basket and we have to be ready for that."


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Hartnell is one of six players active in this series that played against the Bruins in the 2010 series, along with forwards Claude Giroux and Danny Briere, and defensemen Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen. (Injured Flyers James van Riemsdyk and Chris Pronger also were on that team.)

Knowing what happened two years ago, those players know how important it is to snuff the life out of the opposition at the earliest opportunity.

"I think in that Boston series we were playing better and better every game," Hartnell said. "We weren't getting the results we wanted in Games 2 and 3. I felt we knew that as a group we were the better team and it was just a matter of getting that first win. It took us until Game 4 to get it."

The series in 2010 turned for the Flyers when Simon Gagne scored in overtime of Game 4 in Philadelphia, and then after a 4-0 shutout in Game 5 in Boston, they won 2-1 in Game 6 in Philadelphia. In Game 7 in Boston, the Flyers were down 3-0 but rallied for a 4-3 win on a third-period goal by Gagne.

But it was that little bit of life the Bruins allowed the Flyers to steal in Game 4 that snowballed into Philadelphia's historic comeback. So having gone through it themselves, they know how important it is to close the series as quickly as possible.

"If it was the reverse position, they wouldn't want to bring it back to Pittsburgh, they'd want to close it here in our barn," Hartnell said. "The biggest thing is we have to have that killer instinct to play hard, be determined to finish them off tonight."

The Flyers didn't lose four straight in the regular season, but that doesn't mean it can't be done.

"We really don't want to give them any life," Giroux said. "They're a streaky team, they can win a lot of games in a row. I think it's important for us right off the bat we take that momentum from last game. We know our fans are going to be out of control again tonight. That's going to hopefully give us a boost and we'll play the same way."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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