The Philadelphia Flyers will look to rebound from their worst game in a long time when they visit the New Jersey Devils for Game 3 on Thursday, May 3. With the series tied at a game apiece, this is a pivotal game that will go a long way in determining which team will advance. The Flyers have looked mostly flat so far in the series, and the offense really bottomed out in Game 2. As a fan, I have to believe that Peter Laviolette found a way to fire up the team in this game. That is big because not only do the Devils have momentum but they are also getting Ilya Kovalchuk back. The Flyers need to make a statement early and regain their confidence. Here are a few things they need to do to make that happen.
1. Regain their swagger on the power play
Remember those 12 power play goals that came in the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins? They are a distant memory now because the Flyers have only scored once on 11 power play chances against New Jersey. They didn't even manage a shot on their first few tries in Game 2. That is unacceptable and you can't expect to win games when you play like that with the man advantage. At the very least, Philadelphia needs to attack on their first power play. Martin Brodeur is vulnerable when he is under pressure, so the Flyers need to make sure he feels it. If the power play works, everything else will fall into place.
2. Protect the zone
If you watched Game 2 of this series, you had to feel like the puck was in the Philadelphia zone for the entire game. That is because the Flyers failed to clear the puck in certain situations. They also turned the puck over at inopportune times. That can't happen in this game. The Flyers need to find a way to balance things and keep it out of their zone. Not only will this help set up the offense but it will also give Ilya Bryzgalov time to breathe. If he is under as much pressure as he was in the last game, we can expect the same result in the end.
3. Show some passion
The Flyers played with a ton of energy throughout the Pittsburgh series. However, they look like a team that has been sleepwalking so far against the Devils. That was even true in the game that they won. They need to come out and be aggressive in this game. A few good hits on some New Jersey players will help light the fire under this team. Not only that, but it could lead to the Devils committing bad penalties. It's time for the Flyers to get into the heads of their opponents once again.
* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and lifelong Flyers fan.
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