PHILADELPHIA---Outside, with the Phillies hosting the Padres across the street tonight, the Chase Utley and Cole Hamels tees are mixing in with the Flyers faithful. Where are the Iggles fans?
Inside, here's more about Game 4, which, given the evenness of the teams, could go to OT again....
For all the shock and awe about the Flyers’ comebacks in the regular season and playoffs, there is a cautionary tale: The Blackhawks have rebounded quickly from recent adversity pretty well, too.
After dropping Games 1 and 3 to the Nashville Predators in the first round, Chicago captured 2 and 4 and advanced. Against Vancouver, the Hawks lost Games 1 and 5 and won 2 and 6 to eliminate the Canucks.
So recovering from Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Flyers, which gave Philadelphia a chance to square the Stanley Cup Final at two games apiece in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series, isn’t insurmountable at all.
“We like the response our team generally has,” said coach Joel Quenneville, “the personality that we have. We’re not happy about losing. Whether it’s adjustments or we have to be harder to play against, it’s kind of our mindset.”
The Flyers outshot the Hawks 15-4 in the third period on Wednesday, with Ville Leino’s goal to tie the game at 3 just 20 seconds after Patrick Kane’s breakaway wrister that zipped past Michael Leighton considered a turning point. In three games, the Flyers have outshot the Hawks 36-16 in the final 20 minutes of regualtion.
“Giving up that goal right away…we lost a lot of momentum and didn’t get it back in the game,” said Quenneville. “Still had a couple of chances after that. But it was a close game and a competitive one. But we need to be better, particularly in the third (period).”
Chicago also needs to improve on special teams: the Hawks haven’t scored on six power plays going into last night’s game; Philadelphia has scored on four of ten opportunities.
So was the pressure on Chicago, despite the 2-1 edge in games before last night? “I think it’s more for teams that are expected to win, as the Blackhawks are” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, never one to shy from a mind-game or two. “Everybody picked them before the series. It’s almost like we’re on borrowed time. At Christmastime, we were 29th in the league. It comes down to the last game of the season. We’re a resilient group. I don’t know if we feel the pressure as much.”
The Hawks are certainly feeling some muscle from the Flyers, who registered 40 hits on Wednesday. Chris Pronger has kept Dustin Byfuglien (minus-3, one assist, three shots) at bay in from of Leighton; Scott Hartnell has been at his physical best. But Laviolette dismissed the concept of a war of attrition.
“When you get to this point, I don’t know if you’re going to wear anybody down. Chicago plays a fast-paced game. We can play the physical game. We can play it for a long time. So that’s what’s leading to great hockey.”
Meanwhile, Quenneville said it was possible that big Chicago forward Andrew Ladd would return after missing the first three games of the series with an upper-body injury. For the Flyers, James Van Riemsdyk was apparently being considered as a replacement, perhaps for Dan Carcillo.
Both teams are certain about this: Game 5 is back at United Center in Chicago on Sunday. And it will be meaningful one way or another: With the Hawks either a win away from raising the trophy at home, or the Flyers with a chance to write another chapter in their comeback story.