If you thought the 17,565 fans in attendance were loud at the TD Garden on both Saturday and Monday as the Bruins took a 2-0 series lead over the Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, then you’re right.
But if you think for one minute that the atmosphere in Philly will be any different, then think again.
You can put Philadelphia sports fans on another tier of obnoxious, derogatory, passionate and enthusiastic all in one. They have a reputation for showing avid devotion to their teams, through good times and through bad. The proximity of the four major sports teams to one another is a matter of blocks. And the hockey fans in town pack themselves into the Wachovia Center like sardines, pestering opponents to no avail.
Just ask New Jersey Devils netminder — arguably the best goalie of all time — Martin Brodeur. He had to listen to Flyers fans chant “Mar-ty, Mar-ty” and “Fatso” as the Flyers skated away with a 4-1 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series upset over the Devils last month.
There’s no respect for even one of the greatest players of all time, and you can bet that the Bruins won’t be receiving any free passes, either.
The City of Brotherly Love will be anything but when the Bruins and their fans show up for Games 3 and 4. Boston is only two wins away from an Eastern Conference finals appearance, but they have to get past a gritty and talented Flyers team that refuses to accept defeat.
The Flyers have yet to lead in this series, which is getting under their skin. They won’t go away and they don’t give up, and the Bruins know they have to play better when they take on the Broad Street Bullies on their home ice.
"We are happy about [the 2-0 series lead], but we know we have to play much better in Philly," said Bruins center David Krejci. "It’s going to be a tough one, but we have to play desperate just like we played [on Monday]."
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk echoed those sentiments.
"We're up 2-0, but we really can't look at it like that," he said. "We can't think we can go in there and close it out. We have to think it's 0-0 and at least get one win. If you think you're up 2-0, you might sit back on your heels and that's probably what they want."
That’s exactly what the Flyers want. Flyers fans know that their team, just like the Bruins, are undefeated at home this playoff season.
"These next two games are critical for us now, not getting the split that we wanted," said Flyers center Daniel Briere said. "We need to go one game at a time. But now we're going back to what is probably the toughest place to play in the playoffs on the road."
Flyers fans are among the loudest and rowdiest in sports, and this Philadelphia team could use that boost of energy. In addition, head coach Peter Laviolette can settle on his lines and matchups, since he will get to respond to Claude Julien's personnel each shift.
This series is far from over. A 2-0 cushion certainly helps, but it’s not the finish line. Silencing the Flyers and their fans would be the tape at the end of this dog race.
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