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Pens Hope To Increase Lead In Philly

by Joe Sager / Pittsburgh Penguins

PHILADELPHIA – A 2-0 lead is good. 

But the Pittsburgh Penguins know it’s not enough.

The Penguins trek across Pennsylvania from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to meet the Flyers on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Wachovia Center. 

With two wins in Pittsburgh to open the series, the Penguins know the Flyers will be desperate to take Game 3 on their home ice.

“Every game is a challenge, no matter where you are, whether you’re at home or on the road,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “On the road is a different challenge. We’ve been in that position in the playoffs. We won two games at home, we go there, and we know the other team’s going to be desperate. It’s about concentrating on the things we should do to be successful. It’s not concentrating too much on the other team. It’s not concentrating on the crowd. We’ve got to make sure we’re focused.

“This is a young team that matured really quickly through the course of the season and through the course of last year to this year. But we’ve got to focus and think that we can control how we play and that’s the most-important thing,” he continued. “We understand Game 3 is going to be a good challenge. It’ll be a good challenge to everyone. That’s not an easy place to play. Well, you know what, Madison Square Garden, that was not an easy place to play, and the guys did a great job. So, we’re going to have to be having another good game. Because, you know, so far in the playoffs we’re playing pretty solid and we’ll have to be solid again.”

The Penguins own an NHL-best 10-1 record in the playoffs so far. They are 7-0 at home, which set a franchise record for consecutive home playoff victories in one season, and own a 3-1 record on the road. Their only loss came at New York’s Madison Square Garden in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Rangers. 

The Penguins want to keep it that way, too.

“Obviously we stressed it the whole playoffs – we want to play well at home. Going to Philadelphia up 2-0, that’s the best position we could have been in at this point,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “We know it’s going to get tougher from here on in.  

“I think going home, they want to play well.  Every game is important, but they want to make sure that they win this next one, there is no doubt.”

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury agreed. “It was big for us to get the 2-0 lead here at home, in front of our crowd. That’s big going into their building.  It is always a tough place to play.  I am sure everyone will feel comfortable going there.” 

While the Penguins have outscored the Flyers, 8-4, so far in the series, Penguins center Maxime Talbot expects an even tougher challenge Tuesday night.

They are a tough team to play against and they are playing great,” he said. “I think it’s going to be even tougher in their building. The Wachovia Center is a tough place to play in and they are going to be waiting for us. It’s nice to win two games at home, but we’re going to have to win on the road, too.”

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