Thu May 06 10:58am EDT
Despite the underwhelming result, Philadelphia Flyers fans made a difference for their team in Game 3. As the Boston Globe put it, the Flyers "came out knocking heads, dropping bodies, and putting heat on Tuukka Rask(notes) early" before scoring the first goal for the first time in the series. The fans also put the heat on Marc Savard and, as you can see above, suggested ways for the Bruins' goaltender to be neutralized.
Wachovia Center remains a tough place to play ... but not the toughest. According to a Sports Illustrated poll out in the latest issue, sampling 272 players, here are the five toughest road arenas to play in for the NHL:
Please note all five of the toughest places to play are hosting playoff games in May.
It's a shame SI didn't publish full results because it would have been interesting to see where strong home teams like the Washington Capitals (59-14-9 in the last two seasons), Pittsburgh Penguins (50-25-7) and Phoenix Coyotes (52-25-5) would have ranked; as well as teams that struggled a bit more at home like the Los Angeles Kings (40-28-14 in the last two years).
While "most intimidating fans" doesn't perfectly sync up with "toughest place to play," it was a question ESPN asked back in 2007. Here's what it found, as a point of contrast. (Full survey is here, and it's a bit hilarious.)
Again, the presence of the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers here could very well speak to how tough it is for players on the home team to compete for demanding fans, but there's still some crossover validation between SI's list in 2010 and this one. The one glaring difference being that the Blackhawks were still a meandering franchise off local television back in 2006.
Does San Jose have the best home-ice advantage in the NHL? From where you've been, which arena feels like the most unwelcoming for a road team?