Scott Niedermayer: More aggressive play led to Philadelphia's win in Game 3 of Stanley Cup finals
Four-time Stanley Cup winner Scott Niedermayer of the Ducks shares his unique perspective and thoughts with The Times' readers during the Stanley Cup finals. Here he reviews the Philadelphia Flyers' 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3.
Another close, competitive, hard-fought game. This has been a great series to watch with all the games going down to the last minute. It seemed to me that Philadelphia was more aggressive. They finished more checks, they had an extra jump in their step, they were moving the puck better, they were putting the puck on net and had guys crashing the net more than Chicago did. I think they got rewarded for doing all of those things.
Getting that tying goal 20 seconds after falling behind was a huge thing for Philly. They seemed to carry the momentum after that. They had most of the opportunities after that and then getting the win in overtime. So, to be able to answer a goal like that very quickly was a huge help for them.
For Philly to get two power-play goals and to hold Chicago to none, that’s a huge advantage. Chicago is going to need a power-play goal here at some point to win the series and get their power play going. It seemed to me that Chicago’s power play last night was very much around the outside. They weren’t trying to direct the puck to the net or get people in the middle of the ice as much as they need to. So maybe that’s something they can try to do a better job at.
In the third, I think Philly just had that extra jump in their step. They seemed to be the team that was instigating a lot of things. They were the aggressive team trying to get the puck to the net. When you do that, you’re going to get shots and opportunities. It’s a big reason why they won the game.
Obviously [Claude] Giroux will get a lot of attention with the overtime winner – he played well. I was impressed with actually [Ville] Leino and Hartnell, I thought they played very hard. Philly always seems to have a guy in front of the net. More often than not, it was [Scott] Hartnell in front there, taking a check, distracting the goalie or whatever it was. Leino can really control the puck well and make smart plays. Philly seemed to do a great job of that last night, just getting the puck on net, shooting it and following it. They got rewarded with a couple of goals that way and I think that was the difference in the game.
Chicago I’m sure is disappointed coming so close but losing in overtime, but a huge part of playoff hockey is being able to rebound and forget about it. You have to come out the next game and play even better and try and get the next one. Whether you win or lose, that’s the challenge…I think Chicago will answer that. They’ve seemed to do it all playoffs and I will expect them to be better Friday night.
From Philly’s perspective, there’s a big difference between 2-1 and 3-0. For them to come home to such a loud rink and the fans being so passionate about their hockey and their Flyers, to be able to get the win for them, I’m sure they’re feeling good about what they can do going forward. I would expect them to have another strong game Friday.
Well I was correct about my prediction for last game, so I’m feeling good about being 1-0. I don’t really want to ruin a good streak here. But if I have to, I’ll pick Chicago…so I guess my record is on the line now!
-- Scott Niedermayer
Photo: Claude Giroux celebrates his game-winning goal. Credit: Tim Shaffer / Reuters