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Laviolette: Flyers need to tighten up defensively

by Mike G. Morreale /
BOSTON -- In addition to a better start, Peter Laviolette expects the Philadelphia Flyers to tighten up in the defensive zone in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Boston Bruins Monday (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS) at TD Garden.

Following a brisk afternoon skate Monday, Laviolette spoke about coverage in front of goalie Brian Boucher, who needed to stop 41 shots in the opener Saturday. That included 13 in the first period and 14 in the overtime of a 5-4 loss.

The nine-goal total in the opener is unusual when you consider the clubs pride themselves on solid defense this time of year.

"I'd rather see more defensive-minded hockey from our group; we need to tighten up a little bit. We gave them too much on the rush. In front of our net, we had players that were left unattended." -- Peter Laviolette

"I'd rather see more defensive-minded hockey from our group; we need to tighten up a little bit," Laviolette said. "We gave them too much on the rush. In front of our net, we had players that were left unattended. We're a team that likes to mark and we're at our best when we're playing that way, so we need to continue to push that way, need to continue doing it in a manner where we're not giving up maybe quite as much as we did (Saturday)."

"Most of their chances came in the first (period) and overtime, but we played our style in the second and third and limited their chances," Laviolette said. "We need to get back to that."

The Flyers yielded a total of 30 shots in the first period and overtime and just 16 in the second and third periods in Game 1.

Flyers defenseman Matt Carle knows his team must bear down and not allow any secondary rebounds to the aggressive Boston forwards.

"I think against any team you play, the majority of goals are all right around the crease and our coaches actually did some statistics on it and I think 60-70 percent of the goals come off rebounds, so any team against any goalie is going to be looking to get traffic in front," Carle told "Anytime you produce a shot, it's going to make it difficult for a goalie as well as a defenseman to try and find that rebound and clear it. It's easier for the forwards to come in since they're looking at the puck, where we have to turn around and find it. I think any offensive attack is going to try to get pucks at the net and generate rebounds and secondary scoring chances."

While the Bruins will be looking for second and third chances, the Flyers are looking forward to getting back to the defensive game that proved so successful in their five-game elimination of the New Jersey Devils in the opening round.

"I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary (with Boucher's game), and in the last series, when there were rebounds, I thought we did a nice job of tying up guys in front and limiting those second chances," Carle said. "We cleared the pucks into the corners and we'll continue to try and do that (Monday)."

Laviolette also is hoping to receive a little more secondary scoring in the absence of injured forwards Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter -- in particular from Ville Leino, James van Riemsdyk and Scott Hartnell.

"I think we are trying to find what it is that we are looking for," Laviolette said. "We had two guys do down (Gagne and Carter) and a third guy do down (Ian Laperriere), so really three lines were affected. The Richards line, the Carter line and the (Blair) Betts line was affected, so we're trying to put people back in place.

"We have to get big performances out of guys like JVR and Hartnell and guys that have maybe had the luxury of being behind a guy like Simon and a guy like Jeff. You get those luxuries that you can be a second wave to the offense, but they're guys we are counting on now. We need for our forwards to dig in here, and not only that we're good defensively, but that we're generating as much as we can offensively."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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