In Game 5 against Canadiens, Flyers look to avoid rerun of Round 1
IT'S IMPOSSIBLE to ignore the similarities. After losing the first game of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals and winning the next three, the Flyers went to Washington for a closeout date with the Capitals in Game 5 and lost.
IT'S IMPOSSIBLE to ignore the similarities.
After losing the first game of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals and winning the next three, the Flyers went to Washington for a closeout date with the Capitals in Game 5 and lost.
With Washington confident that it could win, the Flyers found themselves pushed into a Game 7 that went to overtime before it ended.
That is not a situation the Flyers want to repeat as they prepare for another Game 5 closeout opportunity tomorrow in Montreal. The Flyers are ahead in the Eastern Conference semifinals, 3-1. Like the first round, the Flyers lost Game 1 and won the next three. The lessons are not lost on the coaches or players.
"I think we not only learned from [the Washington] series, but we learned from watching other series like it," said goalie Marty Biron, who has been outstanding in his playoff debut.
"We were up, 2-nothing, in Game 6 at home against Washington and ended up losing that one. I think you have to know that, until the job is totally done, anything can happen and that is where our desperation and our urgency in our game has to come from.
"In the NHL, any team on any night can beat anybody," Biron said. "The fact is that when you play a team that is desperate, they don't see any other option but winning. That gives them an edge and, being on the other side, you have to get that same edge in your game. That fourth win is the toughest in the whole season and postseason."
Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau knows this. Montreal went through the same thing and needed seven games to close out Boston. Carbonneau knows the Canadiens have played well, created chances, even outskated the Flyers for large portions of every game.
But they didn't get the goals or the goaltending.
And now he takes his team back to the Bell Centre where the Canadiens will have the home crowd voicing support.
Carbonneau said as much right after the Flyers' Game 4 win at the Wachovia Center on Wednesday, and his tone suggested he really did believe what he was saying.
"I am still really confident that we can win this series," Carbonneau said. "It's going to have to go 1 day at a time. We have 2 days now to recharge, but then after that, three games in 4 nights and I like our chances."
Still, after pulling rookie goalie Carey Price and putting in Jaroslav Halak, the seed of doubt has to exist that his team can win.
But that is not the Flyers' concern. To win, Daniel Briere said, the Flyers have to think about what they will do, not what Montreal will do.
"The focus for us is all on us and trying to close out the series," Briere said yesterday. "We also know that the last win will be the toughest yet, and I am expecting Montreal to play with a lot more urgency. A little bit like Washington did to us in Game 5, 6 and 7."
Still, there has to be preparation for a team that might come harder than in any game before.
"I don't really know if they can play better or not," Briere said. "I'm sure if you ask them, they will say yes. I would have to assume that, yes, they can play better, but so can we.
"It's been a weird series so far. But at the same time, we have said it all along: We can't worry about the other team. We have to worry about us. We are trying to improve our play." *