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Flyers Showed Penguins What Home Ice Advantage Is All About

It started well before the puck was dropped for the opening faceoff of their Game 3 tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The roar was at times almost deafening, and continued throughout what proved to be an extremely long and entertaining Sunday afternoon in South Philly.

They are the Philadelphia Flyers seventh man -- the Wells Fargo Center crowd, all 20,092 of them, or roughly 103% capacity -- and they were a definite factor in the way Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals played out.

After the Flyers took both games in Pittsburgh to snatch home ice advantage away from the Pens, the prevailing thought was this could be one of those series where the road team wins the majority of games.

With the victory, it doesn't look that way anymore. It was almost as if the Penguins were swallowed up by the cresting sea of orange, as they were enveloped from the opening moments of the afternoon.

The outpouring of love for their team was well-deserved, as the comeback performances in Games 1 & 2 in Pittsburgh fueled the frenzied applause.

The reverberations began before the Orange-and-Black took to the ice for the pre-game warmups, and hit a fevered crescendo as anthemist Lauren Hart and the late Flyers' good luck charm Kate Smith (via video) sang an emotion-provoking version of "God Bless America".

"That was amazing", said Philadelphia forward Danny Briere, who scored two goals in the wild 8-4 Flyers' victory. "I think everyone in here got fired up so much. They were loud and ready to go right from the warm up. The atmosphere was electric out there. It got us going there early on."

"Our fans are great," beamed Brayden Schenn after his first playoff game in Philadelphia. "They were great all day. Even in warmups they had the 'Let's Go Flyers' chants. They were ready. Anytime you get the hometown fans on your side, with that much energy in the building, it's awesome."

While the rousing, game-long ovation made a huge difference for the Flyers, those visiting also took note.

Rob Rossi, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, sent this into cyberspace via Twitter early during the contest:

Rob Rossi ‏ @RobRossi_Trib What an environment by #Flyers fans. If there is a Game 5 #pens fans should take notes

Coming from a Pittsburgh-area reporter, that is a tremendous amount of respect for the level of passion being shown for the home team in the City of Brotherly Love. Especially to go as far as to tell the fans back home they could learn a thing or two from their rival's supporters.

While the Flyers played better away from their home arena for much of the regular season -- 25-13-3 as opposed to 22-13-6 at Wells Fargo -- they looked pretty good in South Philly on Sunday afternoon. And in an afternoon game, no less! That was one of the most lethal combinations for the Flyers all year. An afternoon home game was like kryptonite for the Philadelphia players.

Not Sunday.

Still playing well and continuing to find success away from home, if they can consistently bring the kind of effort exhibited in Game 3, Philadelphia could be a force to be reckoned with the rest of the way in the NHL postseason dance.

With a healthy dose of help from the Flyers' faithful.

You can bet the Philly throngs will once again be in rare form for Game 4 on Wednesday night, providing their usual unbridled passion as their beloved Flyers go for an improbable sweep.