Line changes, Cup chances, Game 7s

June, 8, 2010

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers' top line of Mike Richards centering Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne hasn't produced much offensively. Given the dramatic results the Chicago Blackhawks got from changing their lines, one wonders if Philadelphia shouldn't consider doing the same. But don't count Richards among those thinking that way.

"I don't think we're playing poorly," Richards said Tuesday. "I think we are getting a lot of great looks at the net. We're just not scoring goals. Confidence is such a big thing in hockey, where if you have it, you're almost unstoppable. If you don't, it's tough to get anything going.

"But we're getting great chances at the net. You have to think, sooner than later, they're going to go in. Let's hope tomorrow night is the night."

It has to be for the Flyers to have a chance. Philadelphia has been carried in this series by Danny Briere's line with Scott Hartnell and Ville Leino; but with the Hawks now finding offense from its top three lines in Game 3, the Flyers must have Richards' unit produce.

"Like Mike said, we've played some good games this series with the lines we've got going," Carter said. "I think last game we basically just didn't play our game. I don't think it's a matter of panicking and going out there and changing our lines up. We have to get back to playing Flyers hockey and playing the way we've played to get here at this point."

Carter hasn't looked the same since returning from a foot injury. He was asked Tuesday if his foot has impacted his play in the Cup finals. "It hasn't, no," Carter said.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said Carter has looked good to him.

"He still looks like he can contribute," Laviolette said. "He's probably not at 100 percent, but I would expect a good game out of Jeff, as well."

Expect the Hawks to stick with the lines that produced a 7-4 Game 5 victory.

"I liked the way we exited the game with the lines," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday. "We'd like to improve off of the level and the intensity and the rotation of all four lines bringing it. I think that's going to be how we want to approach the game."

The Cup winners

Tomas Kopecky, Andrew Ladd and John Madden were trotted out to the podium Tuesday -- they are the three Cup winners on the Blackhawks' roster. They know what's like and they want to experience that feeling again.

"When I was with Detroit, the memories that stay with you for the rest of your life, that feeling is unbelievable," said Kopecky, a Cup winner in 2008.

Ladd took it home in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes.

"It's just a special feeling you can't really describe," said Ladd, perhaps influenced by that terrific NHL commercial in which former Cup winners are speechless.

"For me, there was no better feeling in hockey," said Madden, a two-time Cup winner with New Jersey. "The look on your teammates' faces when you've all come together and accomplished your goals, there have been trials and tribulations, you've been able to overcome a lot. It's a real nice feeling to have."

Closing it out

John Madden was been on both sides of the coin when it comes to having a chance to close it out in Game 6 of the Cup finals. He knows what is at stake Wednesday night.

"You know you want to take care of business when you can," Madden said. "You don't want to leave the chance for a Game 7. We have an opportunity tomorrow. All I can say is, we have to be focused on that opportunity and not look at having another game to go to. You have to care of business and treat it like it's an elimination game."

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer



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