PHILADELPHIA -- The minds games continue.
First, Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette tried to put the onus on Antti Niemi by declaring the Flyers would crash the net on the young goaltender, who’s trying to help get a 49-year-old monkey off his team’s back.
Then Joel Quenneville intimated he’d be having conversations with the league about Chris Pronger and the lack of infractions being called against him.
On Friday, Laviolette returned to the press podium with a little more psychology.
“There’s pressure,” he said. “We’re in a position where the pressure for us, it’s almost like we’re on borrowed time.
“The pressure, I think, is more for teams that are expected to win, as the Blackhawks are, and everybody picked them before the series. I don’t know if we feel the pressure as much. We’re trying to keep it light.”
The Hawks are doing the same. Up 2-1, they remain a confident and loose group.
“This is awesome,” Kris Versteeg said Friday morning. “This is what you strive for your whole life. To be here now and be here today and battling like we are for every inch, makes it exciting and makes it so much fun.”
There is no indication who would come out of the lineup if Andrew Ladd is ready to play. Ladd is a game-time decision. Tomas Kopecky has played well in his absence but isn’t a true fourth-line energy guy, which he’d become if Ladd returns and Kopecky stays in the lineup for someone like Adam Burish. There is a thought that Joel Quenneville could dress 13 forwards and five defensemen, though Quenneville hasn’t shown an inclination to do so in the past. Jordan Hendry is averaging about seven minutes of ice time per game.
Jonathan Toews collected his 20th assist in Game 3. He is just three assists shy of most helpers in a postseason under the current playoff format, which was instituted in 1994.
In Game 3, Chris Pronger played over 30 minutes (32:07) in a playoff game for the eighth time this postseason. Duncan Keith ranks second with four 30-minute games.
Only two other Stanley Cup finals (1951,1968) have had more than three consecutive one-goal games to open the series.