Peter Laviolette on Philly finishing off Pittsburgh: “Every Guy Did All They Could and More to Knock Out a Powerful Team”April 24, 2012 – 6:15 am by Brad Gagnon
The Philadelphia Flyers survived a violent, intense and emotional first-round series with intrastate rival Pittsburgh, and now Philly coach Peter Laviolette has a chance to reflect on a well-played series while he and his team await results from other matchups before they can begin preparing for a still-unknown Eastern Conference Semifinal opponent.
Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette joined Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia to review Round 1 of the playoffs and explain why he’s not thinking about who the Flyers’ next opponent might be.
Looking back on the Pittsburgh series:
“I think everybody’s excited about the second round and moving on, but it was a big series. You look at our division and the way it panned out, with three of the teams being top five or six teams in the league, and just the way even the conference panned out. Having to play Pittsburgh, they’ve got a real good team and everybody knows that. A lot of teams had them favored to go all the way, so I think just — I don’t think anybody’s relieved but we’re glad it’s over and that we’re moving on. They’ve got a good hockey teams, they’ve been to the Cup a few years here recently and have a Cup, and a lot of those same players are back. So it was a great series, great challenge for our group and our guys really — they really answered the bell. And there’s really just one game you look back at and were not to happy with, and that was Game 4. But other than that, our guys really showed a lot of determination.”
On the desperation factor and momentum within a series:
“Momentum, it typically works against you. When you leave a loss, or when your desperation level rises, it really — in my opinion — is an advantage. And so we lose Game 4 badly and we did not play well, and they had that back-against-the-wall, ready-to-fight-to-death (mentality). And it’s one of those elements that you want to bring all the time and you want that to be part of your game, but really it’s something that you have to feel. You have to feel desperation as a team and as a player or organization. And they played better than we did, they had more jump, they were the better team that day. And I think that, accompanied with a much better performance in Game 5, but yet still a loss, I think that snaps you around. It puts the hair up on the back of your neck and it says, ‘OK, it’s our turn, we’ve gotta do this now.'”
On the pressure going into Game 6 at home with a 3-2 series lead:
“It’s really what athletes live for I think — like, a Game 6 back in your building where things have gotten interesting. Now 3-2 in the series and it’s tight. A team like the Penguins. Really that’s what athletes, I think they strive for — to be put in situations like that, where they can step up. And we talked about not just having one guy to deliver a performance that day, but we talked about all of our guys delivering a performance. And really, if you look at the game, to a man, every guy did all they could and more to knock out a powerful team. And it was our most complete game of the playoffs.”
On Philly’s next opponent (still to be determined):
“I think it’s always best just to let the cards fall. And nobody knows. You can’t do anything about it. It doesn’t matter what I think or what I hope for. It just doesn’t matter. … When it gets set, then we’ll worry about it and we’ll make sure that our team is prepared and ready to go.”