Having led the Flyers back from an 0-3 hole in their playoff series against Boston, Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette has no intention of changing his team's routine now.
"We keep it the same," Laviolette said on Thursday's "NHL Hour with Gary Bettman" when the Commissioner asked if he planned to make any changes. "You don't want to mix it up too much. Hockey players are creatures of habit. Once they get used to something in their routine, they really thrive on it."
The Flyers are trying to become the first team since the 1975 New York Islanders to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series. But Laviolette said his team has been under pressure since the final day of the regular season, when they beat the New York Rangers in a shootout to earn the final playoff berth.
"I'd rather play at home. I always like home ice -- the fans and the energy in the building. I think when you get to a Game 7, from all that energy you take onto the ice with you, you get an additional blast. If the road team can survive the first five minutes, and all that energy, that determines the outcome of the game -- especially in a Game 7."
-- Flyers coach Peter Laviolette"We've already been in a Game 7 with Game 82 of our (regular) season. We had to win to make the playoffs, so that was as intense as a Game 7 could possibly be," he said. "I feel like our team is ready for that type of situation -- we're ready for the challenge of a Game 7.
"We should be in good shape. I think we'll come out and play hard. I'm sure the Bruins will also, but I think we're ready for this."
Laviolette, whose team forced Game 7 in Boston with a 2-1 home victory on Wednesday night, said
Laviolette, who led Carolina to Game 7 victories in the conference final and Stanley Cup Final in 2006, said that despite the success of road teams in this year's playoffs, "I'd rather play at home. I always like home ice -- the fans and the energy in the building. I think when you get to a Game 7, from all that energy you take onto the ice with you, you get an additional blast. If the road team can survive the first five minutes, and all that energy, that determines the outcome of the game -- especially in a Game 7."
One observer with more than a passing interest in that Game 7 will be Montreal Canadiens president Pierre Boivin, whose team won its own Game 7 by beating Pittsburgh on Wednesday and awaits the Boston-Philadelphia winner.
Like the Flyers, the Canadiens had to battle their way into the playoffs. Montreal, the last qualifier in the East, has pulled off back-to-back upsets by beating top-seeded Washington in seven games before knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champions.
"It's been a trying season on many fronts," Boivin told Commissioner Bettman. "Most fans know that we made some very significant changes in our roster last summer. Everyone knows that it takes a while for so many new players -- even veterans -- to come together.
"This team has really come together and shown a lot of courage. We've got great leadership from our veteran players, great goaltending -- and here we are, entering the third round. I don’t think a lot of people had us there at the end of the season. As we like to say, we've got eight victories to go."
Those eight victories, of course, are what the Canadiens need to bring the Stanley Cup back to Montreal for the first time since 1993. The 17-year drought is the longest in franchise history and hasn't made things easy for the Canadiens in a city that has more Cups than any other.
"People here are truly loyal and truly supportive," Boivin said. "Hockey is a religion in Canada, and it's no different in Quebec. Expectations are very high for the winningest franchise in the League. We had some tough years at the beginning of (this decade). We came out of the lockout with a lot of momentum -- I think the fans understood what the League did in terms of fixing the economic structure and giving every team a chance.
"It's been a great ride. It's ups and downs, but right now, we're in a good situation."