Game 3 Skate In Philly: Rangers Ready To Weather The Storm

Jim Cerny
BlueshirtsUnited.com

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Tuesday night the first-round playoff series between the Rangers and Flyers shifts locales from Madison Square Garden in New York to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for an important Game Three, after the teams split the first two games on the Rangers' home ice.

Wells Fargo Center has a well-earned reputation as one of the loudest buildings in the NHL, one that houses some of the most passionate fans; and after their respective morning skates Tuesday, players frm  both teams acknowledged that it is going to be one wild scene in Philly tonight.

"We've got to expect a storm to start the game," offered Rangers alternate captain Brad Richards. "They're going to come. It's going to be loud...we've got to weather it."

The Flyers, who won 24 games on home ice this season, seemed excited to be playing in front of their raucous fans, but almost to a man they added that it was important not to let their emotions get the best of them, especially at the start of the contest.

"Obviously the crowd is going to come out pretty strong tonight, but we have to keep our focus on how we play the game," stated Flyers captain Claude Giroux. "Everybody's aware how the fans will be tonight. The first five minutes will be to make sure we play our game. We've had success in this building this year. We know how to win here."

The Rangers did win 25 times on the road this season, more than any other team in the Eastern Conference, and establishing a new franchise record along the way. That fact is not lost on either side heading into Game Three in Philly.

"That's a team over there that can play on the road," said the Flyers Jakub Voracek. "In the regular season they gave us a hard time when we played here in Wells Fargo. We have t make sure we bring the same game we played Sunday."

New York has lost three of its last four in Philly the past two seasons, including 2-1 and 4-2 defeats in 2013-14. In both games this season the Rangers fell behind early, rallied to tie, but eventually lost.

"Whether it's home or road we don't change anything, we try and do the same things," offered Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. "I'm really not sure why we've been so good on the orad, except for the fact that we don't try and do anything different."

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Reporters from New York and Philadelphia were full of questions about the Flyers now having the chance to make the final line change, since they will be the home team for the first time in this series. The questioning is relevant because it would seem to behoove the Flyers to get Claude Giroux's line away from the defense pairing of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi. Giroux has been held without a shot on goal through two games, and has produced just one assist, while largely skating against the Rangers top defensive pair.

However good the line of questioning was, players and coaches from both sides weren't taking the bait.

"The only matchup that matters is our will against their will," stated McDonagh.

Added Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault, "They've got plans that they want to implement, and we've got an idea of what we want to do. So we'll see what happens."

The statements from the Flyers side were equally as short and evasive.

"I don't think we're too worried about that," said Philly's Wayne Simmonds. "But it's up to Chief (Flyers coach Craig Berube). Whatever he wants to do."

And what was Berube's take on he subject of line matching and Philly having the last change?

"I don't know, I'm not really looking at that to be honest with you," answered Berube. "I thought that last game I played my guys, and wanted to get my guys out there, and that's what we did."

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Vigneault would not divulge his lineup for Game Three, and the team did not skate its lines during Tuesday's morning skate. However there seemes to be the chance that former Flyer Daniel Carcillo could replace rookie Jesper Fast tonight.

The head coach told reporters that the answer to any lineup question would come at 8:00 tonight, though when asked about Carcillo, Vigneault had several good things to say.

"Dan is an experienced player," said Vigneault. "He brings energy to the team. He's a hard, smart player, goes to the tough areas, and when he has the opportunity to lay a good physical hit he does that. With him in our lineup this year we've had a very good record."

The Rangers were 19-9-3 in the 31 games Carcillo played with New York during the regular season after being acquired from Los Angeles. His first goal as a Ranger came against the Flyers, at Madison Square Garden on January 12th.

The Flyers look to be going with the same lineup in Game Three, though Berube is tweaking his lines just a bit. Vinny Lecavalier will move up from the fourth line and skate with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, a move that originally was made during Game Two in New York. Lecavalier had started the series skating on the Flyers fourth line.

"Those are three big guys that can control the game down low," explained Berube.