Facing adversity is a matter of been there, done that for the Philadelphia Flyers.
They lost the first three games of their second-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins and trailed, 3-0, in Game 4 before rallying to win the series. In the Eastern Conference final, they absorbed a 5-1 pasting from the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 but regrouped and allowed only two goals in winning the last two games and the series.
FOR THE RECORD:
Stanley Cup finals: Helene Elliott's column in Tuesday's Sports section on how the Philadelphia Flyers have been able to come back to win games this postseason said the Flyers trailed the Boston Bruins 3-0 in Game 4 of the second round of the playoffs before rallying to win the series. They were down 3-0 in Game 7 of that series. —
But few teams have done what the Flyers must accomplish Wednesday, when the Stanley Cup finals resumes at the Wachovia Center with the Blackhawks holding a 3-2 series lead and needing one win to skate off with Lord Stanley's cherished chalice.
"To have our back against the wall, we'll be comfortable with this," Flyers Coach Peter Laviolette said Monday, a day off for both teams.
"I have no question that our team will respond in a manner in which it should so that we can be successful."
In the previous 20 finals that were tied 2-2, the Game 5 winner claimed the Cup 14 times. One exception occurred last spring, when the Pittsburgh Penguins lost Game 5 at Detroit but won Game 6 at home and Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena.
In this series, though, momentum hasn't carried from game to game. Expecting the Penguins' year-ago comeback to set a trend is a big stretch.
Nor can the Flyers count only on their experience against Boston, because the Blackhawks are deeper offensively, have more scoring potential from their defense corps and are more rugged than the Bruins.
"If you look at the final, it's like a novel. And there could be seven chapters in it, and each chapter is its own story," Laviolette said.
The Blackhawks' 7-4 victory Sunday was Chapter 5. The leading character was the previously invisible Dustin Byfuglien, who broke out for two goals and two assists after Coach Joel Quenneville reconfigured the top three lines to get a better balance of speed and physicality.
"They were probably happy with what they did, and we were not," Laviolette said. "It moves on to another day and another chapter. Our team will be ready to give it."
Wednesday's chapter takes the Flyers home, where they are 9-1 in the playoffs, including victories in Games 3 and 4 of the finals. They'll have the last line change to help them counter Quenneville's moves and they'll have video of the late Kate Smith singing "God Bless America" to rev them up.
They'll have to control those emotions. In Game 5, they took more penalties than the Blackhawks did, a first in the series, and Chicago converted two of four chances.
"We were gritty, hard, and had speed," Blackhawks center Dave Bolland said Sunday. "We were doing everything right."
The Flyers did almost everything wrong.
"Maybe we might have been a little bit cocky and might have thought we had [only] to throw our sticks on the ice, but obviously that's not the case," said center Mike Richards, an underachiever in the finals with one goal and a minus-6 defensive rating.
The lack of continuity has been odd but the goaltending has been even stranger, leading to the highest-scoring finals since 1994.
Chicago's Antti Niemi has been the best of a bad bunch with a 3.54 goals-against average in the finals. Philadelphia's Michael Leighton, who on Sunday became the first goalie to be yanked twice during the finals since Minnesota's Jon Casey in 1991, has a 4.02 goals-against average in this series. Brian Boucher is at 3.75 after two relief appearances and two losses.
Laviolette said he had chosen a starter for Game 6 but wouldn't disclose that to the media before speaking to his goalies.
Quenneville doesn't have to worry about changing goalies. He doesn't want to switch up anything his team did Sunday.
"Same emotion," he said. "One shift at a time. Fine-tune it and don't look at the big picture, look at the small picture."
Just take it one chapter at a time.