Flyers know the score
Comeback starts with one victory
When the Flyers took the ice for practice yesterday at TD Garden, the scoreboard was turned on, their 5-1 loss from Game 3 Wednesday night still illuminated. If any of them noticed, it wasn’t evident. They went about their business, getting ready for tonight’s Game 4 against the Bruins.
After the workout, the Flyers said all the right things, but they also acknowledged the obvious bottom line: If they don’t win tonight, their season is over.
Coach Peter Laviolette tried to light a fire under his team with a motivational speech.
“We’re capable of giving more than we gave [in Game 3],’’ said Laviolette, when asked to capture the spirit of the speech. “I truly believe that. We’ve done it so many times.
“Without making excuses, it wasn’t good enough. We’ve got to be better. Individually, we’re accountable to ourselves. We got down, 2-0, before we even got into the game. We battled back, but once it got to be 3-0, the fight seemed to leave us.
“There’s got to be a commitment to fight all game long. We’re not in a position we want to be in, but we’re here. We’d rather be in a different situation, but we’re not. The only scenario that works is to go out there and fight for something. We’ve got to go out and play a game and we’ve got to win a hockey game.’’
They could well be trying to do that without defenseman Chris Pronger and forward Jeff Carter, neither of whom skated yesterday. Laviolette declined to say would start in goal, but it’s quite possible he will go with Sergei Bobrovsky over Brian Boucher.
Whoever is in the lineup, the Flyers vow to give it everything they have, something they clearly did not do in Game 3. Defenseman Kimmo Timonen said there was virtually nothing positive to take out of Wednesday night.
“The only thing we can do now is look at the one game,’’ said Timonen. “Don’t look at the big picture and bring our skating and forechecking and be aggressive, and that’s our game. If we’re able to do that, I think we’re in good shape.’’
When the players arrived at the rink yesterday, Timonen said, everyone was ornery.
“It was a tough morning,’’ he said. “But you know what? There are ups and downs, and this is a down moment for our team. As long as there are games, there’s a chance. We look at the one game and make sure we bring everything we’ve got.’’
Last year, the Bruins had a 3-0 series lead on the Flyers but Philadelphia roared back and won four straight. Timonen said this doesn’t feel the same, given the way the Flyers have played.
“Out of the three games, two games we [didn’t] play that good,’’ he said. “Game 2 at home, I think we should’ve won that, but we weren’t able to put the puck in.
“If we’re able to play that kind of game, I think we’re in good shape. Last year was last year and this year is this year. Obviously, we’re not happy with the way we’ve been playing in this series, but there’s still a chance.’’
The Bruins’ top line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton, and Milan Lucic has presented a multitude of problems for the Flyers.
“They’re a good line, one of the best lines in hockey,’’ said Timonen. “They’ve got everything. They’ve got good size, they’ve got speed, they’ve got skill.
“But I still think we haven’t played our game, and when we play our game, we can stop pretty much anybody. I’m not worried about their line, I’m worried about us and how we play.
“[In Game 3], it felt like we were skating in the sand. It was heavy, it was rough, and we couldn’t get anything going. But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves now.’’
The Flyers’ best chance of staying alive is getting a lead. It didn’t work in Game 2, but playing from behind has been disastrous.
“Right now, it’s really important for our team to start strong and play the best they are capable of playing and win the hockey game,’’ said Laviolette, “and then, the next day, you worry about going back home and all the what-if scenarios.
“But right now, it’s real simple. We’ve got to come out and play our best of the year.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.