BOSTON — By the end of Game 3 tonight, Bruins fans will either witness an eerily similar situation from last year’s series or they’ll see the Flyers win their first game of the series.
Either way, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette is already starting his mind games by trying to put pressure on the Bruins, much like he did before Game 4 last May.
“When you lose the first two games in your building, I would say there’s a real expectation for the Bruins to win the series now,” Laviolette said after the Bruins 3-2 overtime win in Game 2 on Monday. “It relieves us of the pressure now. I believe, a little bit, to just go in and play a game in Boston. And while it relieves us of some of the pressure, it certainly mounts on them to be successful now that they have a 2-0 lead.”
While Laviolette is using that same mind set from last year, Bruins coach Claude Julien isn’t buying any of it. In fact during his pregame press conference, Julien didn’t even comment on how the Flyers bench boss is putting pressure on Boston again.
Given last year’s circumstance, the Bruins know very well that this series is far from over. In fact they were on the opposite end last series, trailing 0-2 to the Canadiens going into Game 3 in Montreal.
Now that they have the 2-0 series lead, the Black and Gold know things can turn around in a flash, much like it did after they defeated the Habs in Game 3.
“If we got the third game then the series would turn around completely and the pressure would be on them and we’d be right back in it,” reflected Bruins forward Brad Marchand on the teams mindset last series. “The third game is a huge turning point and we knew that and that’s what we want to focus on. We definitely want to bring that mind set with us.”
With injuries to Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who is listed as day to day, and forward Jeff Carter, a game-time decision, the Bruins have an opportunity to put a stranglehold on Philly for the second year in a row.
The Flyers are indeed a desperate team going into tonight and Marchand emphasized the importance of matching their desperation.
“They’re a desperate team right now, and we need to make sure we match that,” said the Bruins’ rookie. “We have to make sure we match that.
“We need to make sure we play desperate hockey and that’s the most dangerous hockey. If you’re playing a desperate team they’re always very dangerous and they come out very hard and we need to make sure we come out with the same mentality.”
It’s no secret that the Flyers have pulled a few tricks up their sleeves in the past. In fact, when they were on the ropes against Buffalo last series — trailing three games to two in game six — they dug deep and sneaked past the Sabres in seven games to advance to this round.
It’s also no secret, however, that the Flyers want to avoid trailing 0-3 to the Bruins for the second year in a row. In fact they are treating tonight’s game like they would during a Game 7.
“We’ve got to play with a lot of desperation,” stated Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk. “We need this one.”