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Hartnell's humongous effort goes to waste

by Shawn P. Roarke /
CHICAGO -- Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell likely had his best game of the playoffs in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

But he was in no mood to revel in personal accomplishments after his team suffered a wild 6-5 setback Saturday night at the sold-out United Center, a game that saw goalie Michael Leighton pulled after allowing five goals on just 20 shots.

Philadelphia coughed up three leads in the game as well, then lost when Tomas Kopecky scored the only goal of the third period against backup Brian Boucher.

Philadelphia's second line was the best line Saturday night. Hartnell led the way with a goal and 2 assists, finishing plus-2. His center, Danny Briere, had a goal and 3 assists and also finished plus-2. Ville Leino, the other winger, had a goal and an assist and finished plus-1.

That trio and defenseman Chris Pronger were the only Flyers to finish Saturday night with plus ratings.

Afterward, Hartnell talked about Game 1 and what the Flyers must do better in Monday's Game 2 back at the United Center.

Your thoughts after that one?

Hartnell: Well, if you score five goals, you should more than likely win a hockey game, and I think our defensive-zone coverage was quite poor. I feel like they were getting chances right in front of our net. It's not Leighton's fault. It was guys coming in and making moves. We'll definitely be watching some video tomorrow. We played well enough to win, but we have to tighten up big-time.

Q: Can you put your finger on why they were a little more aggressive around the net?

Hartnell: That's their motto. It seems like they go behind the net and they make passes out to the slot and their guys are right there and it's right on their stick. We've got to do a better job of taking their time and space away and have guys in the slot. Six goals is way too much for us.

Q: It's really not the kind of game you expected for first game of Stanley Cup Final, is it?

I'm sure NBC is happy with all the goals and that stuff, but it's real frustrating the way it all ended up. I think we all realize we can play a little bit better and we're going to have to be better to win.

Q: A lot of their scoring plays were generated below the goal line. What can you do to take that away?

Hartnell: Get sticks on pucks. (Marian) Hossa and those big guys create a lot of space with their bodies and are able to put the pucks out front. We have to get our sticks on pucks and tie up guys in front of the slot. We can't let (Kris) Versteeg and (Troy) Brouwer and those guys come right down the pipe, snapping it home.

Q: Do you take any positives out of this game?

Hartnell: I'm sure they are not happy with the way they played, but it doesn't matter because they scored one more goal than us. It's going to be, I'm sure, a defensive battle in Game 2. That's more our style. We don't want to run and gun with these guys. I don't know how many points (Patrick) Kane and (Jonathan) Toews had, but it seemed like all the other lines were doing the damage.

Q: Did you say anything to Michael?

Hartnell: No I didn't get to see him. But, a lot of those goals weren't his fault; they were going right under the bar -- one-timers from the slot. We just got to do a better job fronting pucks, getting pucks on sticks and not making our goalies make the unbelievable save all the time.

Q: To have the lead three different times in this game, does that make it tougher to walk out of here without a win?

Hartnell: It's frustrating any time you lose a game, especially the first one -- because we wanted to get this one. Now, we are going to have to go out there guns a blazing in Game 2 and go after them, hit ‘em, cycle, get pucks to the net and bear down on our chances again.

Q: Can you talk about the job Brian Boucher did?

Hartnell: It's definitely not Bouch's fault. Right at the beginning of the third period, they almost get a tap-in right there back-door. Defensively we have to be much better. It's almost embarrassing the chances that they got and they capitalized. They have a very skilled hockey team with a lot of guys that can put it in the net and we found that out tonight.

Q: Everybody is going to be wondering who starts Game 2.

Hartnell: I'm glad I don't have to make those decisions. Leighton's been strong since we picked him up and Boucher helped us get us into the playoffs and in the first round. It doesn't matter who is between the pipes, we have to play better.

Q: Your line had a pretty good showing?

Hartnell: We battled around the net. I think we were getting those rebounds and a lucky bounce on the first one where it went off (Niklas) Hjalmarsson's face and in. I chipped the second one and Danny was able to get a lucky bounce and pout it in. We have to keep up with that.

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