While the Western Conference waits to see what sort of tomfoolery the Canucks Green Men are cooking up for the Blackhawks, the East is seeing orange. And black. And probably pain.
Home ice could be the great equalizer in the Philadelphia Flyers' series against the Boston Bruins, entering Game 3 tonight and with Boston up 2-0. In the second game against the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers were outshot 32-29 in a loss; the next two games at Wachovia Center, they outshot Jersey 62-50 and outscored them 7-3. Playing in front of that madhouse of passion can be exhilarating or debilitating; but in the regular season, Philly was 24-14-3 at home, going 6-3-1 down the playoff stretch. They're a better team at home.
Those feel-good vibes about Marc Savard's(notes) return? Yeah, they're back in Boston. This is an arena where there's a better chance Savard gets hit with pacifiers or false teeth than a sympathetic moment. This is a fan base that was just informed its women look like Magnum, P.I. This is a city that's set Tasers on stun.
This is hostile territory, and Savard told NESN that it's a familiar place for this Bruins team:
"You know we were in this situation last season up 2-0 heading into Game 3 at Montreal and the Bell Centre, and we just came out hard and quieted the crowd," Savard said. "That's what we need to do tonight: Just come at them, not wait for their best shot."
Home ice isn't a cure-all. It's still life without Jeff Carter(notes), Simon Gagne(notes) and Ian Laperriere(notes) for Philly. But those orange-clad maniacs might give Daniel Carcillo(notes) extra snarl. Or Mike Richards(notes) extra jump. Or Scott Hartnell(notes) an offensive game that isn't as paltry as his Beard-a-Thon total. ($15 through 6 p.m. EST, via Jeff I.; hell, Claude Giroux(notes) had $25).
Maybe we're giving home ice extra weight after seeing the symbiotic relationship between the Flyers and their fans from that HBO special. Or maybe the Orange Crush overwhelms the Big Bad Bruins to make it a series again.