PHILADELPHIA — After he was dominated by Bruins center Patrice Bergeron at the faceoff dots during Game 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series in Boston, Mike Richards is hoping a little home cooking will help him gain an advantage.
Game 3 is tonight at Wachovia Center.
“Everyone cheats on faceoffs. It’s who does it the best. There’s a number of ways you can do it. On home ice I think it’s a lot easier to take faceoffs than it is on the road,” he said after the morning skate. “It’s obviously a lot better to play with the puck, so maybe we can use that to our advantage tonight.”
The cheating Richards was referring to mostly has to do with the home player not coming to a complete stop before the puck is dropped. Richard said the refs have mostly made sure guys pause rather than stop. Bergeron, who won 73 percent of his faceoffs in Game 2, disagreed and said that both guys have been approaching draws pretty cleanly.
Against Richards, Bergeron was just 7-for-15, but he was 9-for-13 against the Flyers captain in Game 2. The Bruins pivot knows he has to change his approach a bit to get the better of Richards on his home turf.
“Obviously the guy on the road’s got to put his stick down first,” he said. “So you anticipate, I guess, the puck coming down a little better [if you’re the home guy]. But I’m going to try to obviously be ready for that and make sure I stay strong and try to adjust if I need to.”
There are adjustments that have to be made throughout every game, and the series, on faceoffs. Bergeron figures Richards alters his game plan every five drops. Winning draws is going to be a major focus for Richards and his teammates, who all struggled against the Bruins in Game 2.
“They’ve got good faceoff guys and they use the home ice to their advantage,” said Richards. “The first game, we were slowly getting better. Last game, we stepped back. But tonight on home ice I think it’s an advantage for us.”