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Hartnell leading the way for Flyers

by Dan Rosen
PHILADELPHIA -- Before every game, Scott Hartnell goes through the same mental preparation. Speaking only to himself, Hartnell's inner voice says, "you want to hit, you want to move your feet and you want to shoot the puck early to get into the game."

He was prolific in all three areas Wednesday, setting the tone for Philadelphia en route to a 4-3 overtime victory against Chicago that got the Flyers back into the series.

"You're going to take your licks on whoever you can out there," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "Scott Hartnell had a good physical game for us tonight."

Hartnell assisted on the Flyers' first goal and scored their second one with a deflection that was eventually allowed after a lengthy review. He added six hits, including three whoppers over his first four shifts -- two on Niklas Hjalmarsson and another on Brent Seabrook that knocked the Blackhawks' pillar on defense to the ice in a flash.

"Personally, I'm effective when I'm moving my feet, getting on the body, finishing checks and things like that," Hartnell said. "When I'm not, I'm a very ineffective player to say the least."

Hartnell wasn't all that effective for most of the first three rounds of the playoffs, but he's been one of the Flyers' three best forwards through three games here in the Stanley Cup Final. His linemates, Danny Briere and Ville Leino, are the other two.

But unlike Briere and Leino, who were big-time contributors in the wins over New Jersey, Boston and Montreal, Hartnell is coming on at just the right time. He had only 3 goals and 5 assists through 16 games coming into the Final, but already has 2 goals and 3 assists in three games against the Blackhawks.

Hartnell had a goal and a pair of assists in Game 1 to go along with his one-goal, one-assist effort in Game 3.

"Especially the last four or five games, (we) really started to notice him physically and on the scoreboard," Laviolette said. "He's playing with a lot of confidence right now. That line was terrific."

That line with Briere, Hartnell and Leino is the reason the Flyers were able to get to overtime. All three players in regulation, and Briere had the secondary assist on Claude Giroux's game-winner.

"They were dominating at times," Laviolette said. "The puck is on their sticks, they are generating scoring chances. When we popped any one of those guys down with (Claude) Giroux and (Arron) Asham, which we did a couple times, it produced a couple of goals for us. They seem to be really on their game right now."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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