It’s an understatement to say tonight’s Game 6 from the Wachovia Center is a huge game.
However, it’s no understatement to proclaim tonight’s matchup as the most important game of the season for every Flyer on that roster.
The motivating factor here for Philadelphia is that they know the Chicago Blackhawks will not sit back and hand the Flyers a game 6 win. They have to earn it.
“I don’t expect them to sit back tomorrow,” said Danny Briere. ”They want this just as bad but we’re in our building, and we’ve been feeding off a lot of energy from our fans throughout this playoff run, and I expect the same thing tomorrow.”
The one repetitive comment that is heard throughout the Flyers locker room since Sunday’s 7-4 loss was they got away from playing ‘Flyers Hockey.’ Guys like Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell stated that quite a few times during post-game interviews. For the Flyers to beat the Hawks tonight, they will have to back to their style of hockey. The same style that has made them this successful and helped get them where they are right now.
“We might have been a little bit overconfident or thought the momentum of our two games at home would have carried right into Chicago,” said Flyers captain Mike Richards. ”Obviously we were awakened pretty early in that game that it wasn’t.
“I expect us to get back to the way we’ve played throughout the series. Last game was obviously just a blip, hopefully. We’re going to have to play physical and play hard and relentless and fast-pace if we’re going to have a chance to win tomorrow night.”
The Flyers have to find a way to come out more desperate than they have been. As many times as that word has been filtered out regarding this hockey club, it’s never rang more true until now.
Simon Gagne, Philadelphia’s longest tenured athlete, knows how important game 6 is to not only the hockey team, bit to himself personally.
“Tomorrow is going to be the biggest game that personally I’m going to have to play,” Gagne said. “I’m going to be ready for that. It doesn’t matter what happened in that Stanley Cup Final, if our line didn’t produce like we wanted to.”
So, what are the chances of pushing this series to a final showdown in game 7?
“We have a chance to make that all behind us tomorrow if we have a big game. I’m sure our line is going to be ready. Me, Richie and Cartsie, going to be ready to play the biggest game of our life.
“And not only us, but I think the whole team is going to be ready to play the biggest game of the season.”
The game 5 loss in Chicago should play as a pleasant wake-up call for Philly. They saw the Hawks best and now can build from there. The Flyers played their worst game of the series and still lost by essentially two goals discounting the empty-netter. A couple bounces here and there, Richards getting robbed by Niemi on a one-timer tap-in, and the Flyers could have won this game. Even at their worst.
The only aspect that can prove problematic for the orange and black is if they can’t match the Hawks intensity right off the faceoff. The first period will be huge for the Flyers. If they can somehow notch the first goal and not look back , this series will no doubt head to a game 7 in Chi-town.
Now, can the Flyers channel their inner Broad Street Bully?