The Flyers have dominated the final stanzas of the last two games. In a seven-game series for the league championship, this is enough to qualify as a sample size.
"It seems like we're putting more emphasis on doing the right things in the third period," said Philadelphia captain Mike Richards. "When we do so, we have success. We just seem to go at them and throw it all out there."
"We've done an excellent job of wearing them down during the game, I guess," said Flyers wing Arron Asham. "If you play the body consistently, it can take a toll on the other team. I'd like to think that's one of the reasons we've had success at the end of the last two games."
Blackhawks vs. Flyers Series Page
Down 2-0 heading into the third period in Game 2 on Monday, the Flyers scored the only goal of the third period and out-shot Chicago, 15-4. In Game 3 on Wednesday, Philadelphia again out-shot the Blackhawks, 15-4, and out-chanced Chicago by more than a 2-to-1 ratio. The Flyers won the game on a goal by Claude Giroux at 5:59 of overtime.
The Blackhawks lead the Stanley Cup Final two games to one with Game 4 on Friday night at Wachovia Center. However, a clear-cut favorite, the bonafide better team has yet to emerge in the series. Antti Niemi's performance in Game 2, especially in the third period, prevented the Flyers from getting a split of the opening pair of games in Chicago.
By the end of Game 4 on Friday night, we'll know if the NHL could produce a series for the ages or if the city of Chicago can begin preparations to celebrate its first Stanley Cup in 49 years. To plan a parade, the Blackhawks will have to score a power play goal or two. Incredibly, they don't have one through three games of the Stanley Cup Final.
Chicago is 0-6 on the power play the last two games after the Flyers were not penalized in Game 1 last Saturday. A team that can ice a first unit with the talents of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Dustin Byfuglien and pointmen Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp should not be shooting blanks in the Stanley Cup Final.
"We haven't had a lot of opportunities, but we have to make it more effective," Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said of his team's power play. "We can be much better on it. We'll talk as a team about where we need to improve for Friday."
"Special teams can go in slumps, and sometimes they can get hot," said Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith. "A lot of times it's a lucky bounce here and there. Having said that, there's no question we have to be a lot better on our power play."
The Flyers have managed to play passionate, yet disciplined hockey over the series. Before the Final began, head coach Peter Laviolette would have gladly signed up for his team allowing an average of only two power plays per game. Better yet, the Flyers have demonstrated grit and smart positioning in going 6-for-6 on their penalty kill.
"Our penalty kill has been outstanding," said Richards. "We've been putting a lot of pressure on them. We build momentum for us after killing a penalty."
The Flyers are also 4-for-10 on the power play, including 2-for-3 in the overtime victory on Wednesday. Combining masterful special teams, third period dominance and home-ice advantage, Philadelphia is in position to even the Stanley Cup Final.