Posted on April 21, 2008 02:23 PM | Permalink
Flyers changed their lines again in warmups. R.J. Umberger goes to Jeff Carter's line with Scottie Upshall while Patrick Thoresen goes back to Mike Richards' line with Joffrey Lupul. Stevens had said at the morning skate he would go with different lines but admitted tonight he had a half dozen ideas in mind.
Flyers defenceman Jaroslav Modry is a healthy scratch, replaced by Lasse Kukkonen. It was thought Modry had returned to the Czech Republic to be with his family. His father died last week of colon cancer. But Modry apparently has decided to remain here through the entire series.
All the Flyers have talked about since losing Game 5 on Saturday in Washington was getting back on home ice for Game 6.
As we’ve already seen in the Anaheim-Dallas series, the so-called “home-ice advantage” is really a myth, even though every NHL coach swears they would rather play a Game 7 or series “closeout” on home ice.
In the Anaheim series, the road team won the first three games; the home team won the next three. Go figure.
Flyers fans of home ice
The Flyers count their 19,000 fans as their seventh player on the ice. The Caps realize how they appear in the opening 10 minutes of the first period could either save or sink them in Game 6 at the Wachovia Centre.
“They are going to want to set the tone and get the crowd behind them," the Caps’ Matt Bradley said at this morning’s skate. “We know how they are going to come out, and they're going to come out strong. We have to meet their push. The first period, I think, is going to decide who comes out on top.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau seems to have the right approach. He said he wants his players to “touch the puck” right away and get all that nervous energy out of the way. Given how physical the Caps were in Game 5, the best way to start this one is to hit some people.
Which is exactly how the Flyers will respond. John Stevens promised his club would be different in Game 6 and initiate instead of react. We’ll see.
Riley Cote, the Flyers’ enforcer, is back in the lineup. From a “body” standpoint, he is taking the place of right wing Mike Knuble, who is out the remainder of the series with a left hamstring tear. Cote won’t handle Knuble’s minutes. That will fall to R.J. Umberger.
Carter, Richards to move around
Stevens is changing two of his lines. Jeff Carter is expected to centre Umberger and Scottie Upshall. Mike Richards will centre Joffrey Lupul and Patrick Thoresen. Stevens said this morning at the Flyers’ skate, that how he begins the game and how he ends the game will likely change, with regards to his lines.
As for why Steve Downie won’t make his playoff debut, well, Cote has already played a game in post-season while Downie has been a healthy scratch for weeks now, going back to the regular season.
“Riles [Cote] has done a good job on our fourth line before and played in the series already,” Stevens said.