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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Saturday, 04.28.2012 / 2:31 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Grossmann unsure of Game 1 availability

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Saturday marked the second straight day Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann practiced with the full group, but his status for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC) remains unknown.

Grossmann hasn't played since leaving Game 4 of the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third period. In that game he sustained what the team is calling an upper-body injury but which at least one teammate called a concussion.

Grossmann skated Saturday with his usual defense partner, Braydon Coburn, and took part in all the drills.

"Nick's looked good," coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's moving up and down the ice well."

Grossmann said it felt good to be back with the team, but said he's unsure if he'll be ready to play Sunday.

"I don't know at this point, we'll see," he told reporters. "It feels good to be on the ice. I haven't talked to the doctors yet. I don't want to make any conclusions yet. I feel better every day and try to take it a day at a time."

If Grossmann is able to play, it's likely veteran Pavel Kubina will be a healthy scratch. Kubina on Saturday was paired with Andrej Meszaros, who likely won't be available until the middle of the series at the earliest as he recovers from back surgery last month. Kubina sat out Game 1 of the first round but played the final five games after an injury to Marc-Andre Bourdon; however, he averaged just 10:33 per game of ice time, fewest among Philadelphia defenders.

Other defense pairings featured Matt Carle and Kimmo Timonen, and Andreas Lilja with Erik Gustafsson.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.28.2012 / 11:21 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Flyers juggle a pair of lines

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers have taken the ice for their final practice before their Eastern Conference Semifinal series with the New Jersey Devils starts Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC).

The look was a bit different, as coach Peter Laviolette juggled two of his lines, splitting up the highly productive Danny Briere line. Briere was with James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek, while Brayden Schenn shifted back to the middle, flanked by Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read.

Whether those groups stay together for Game 1, however, remains to be seen.

The Flyers also had all eight defensemen on the ice, all wearing the same color jersey. Whether that means Nicklas Grossmann (upper-body injury) and/or Andrej Meszaros (back surgery) are ready for Game 1 remains unknown.

Here is how the rest of the Flyers' lineup looked in practice Saturday:

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Matt Read - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
James van Riemsdyk - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek
Maxime Talbot - Sean Couturier - Eric Wellwood

Braydon Coburn - Nicklas Grossmann
Kimmo Timonen - Matt Carle
Andreas Lilja - Erik Gustafsson

Jody Shelley and Zac Rinaldo skated as extra forwards. Andrej Meszaros and Pavel Kubina were the fourth defense pair.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.24.2012 / 4:19 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Flyers focus on staying sharp

VOORHEES, N.J. -- For their first practice after eliminating the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers spent Tuesday skating.

Lots and lots of skating.

Coach Peter Laviolette put his players through a number of drills during the 60-minute session that focused on moving up and down the ice, transition play and puck movement. 

"I think it's real important to keep the guys out there and moving," Laviolette said. "It was really good. We didn't want them to think too much about systems today or what we may or may not be looking at or what we may or may not be doing. Just getting them up and down the ice. I thought it was a really good clip, 30 minutes up and down, was a great pace."

With the Flyers off for at least another few days while awaiting the start of the second round, Laviolette said he's going to use this time to let some players rest while keeping the group moving.

"I don't know the schedule, but we're looking somewhere on the weekend [to start the second round]," Laviolette said. "We still have time to prepare and go over things. I think an important thing right now is to keep moving. Keep breaking a sweat and move up and down the ice. These guys want to work, they want to run. I thought today was good."

The only healthy regulars missing from the workout were forward Danny Briere and defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who received treatment and worked out off the ice. Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, skated earlier in the morning with the extra players.

Of the players who did skate with the main group, one noticeable participant was defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who is recovering from back surgery performed last month. He wore a gray, non-contact jersey, and likely is at least another two weeks away from returning. However Laviolette said it was nice to see the big blueliner back with the main group.

"Really encouraged," Laviolette said when asked what he saw from Meszaros. "He's a big part of our team. Any time you get a player back, that starts practicing, that's a positive."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.24.2012 / 1:46 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Meszaros, Grossmann on the ice for Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Nicklas Grossmann were on the ice briefly Tuesday as they attempt to recover from their injuries.

Grossmann is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury that kept him out of the final two games of the Flyers' first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He skated with the team's extra players prior to the start of regular practice.

Meszaros is recovering from back surgery performed March 21. He skated with the extra players and also was on the ice briefly with the main group wearing a gray, non-contact jersey. It's the first time he's skated with the team since leaving the lineup March 1. The original prognosis was for him to miss 6-8 weeks.

All but two of the healthy players were on the ice for Tuesday's practice. Center Danny Briere and defenseman Kimmo Timonen were absent from the workout, which was heavy on conditioning.

In Briere's absence, the Flyers shuffled two of their four lines, with the top trio of Claude Giroux with Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell staying intact, along with the line of Sean Couturier between Maxime Talbot and Eric Wellwood. The other lines saw Matt Read centering James van Riemsdyk and Wayne Simmonds, and Brayden Schenn between Zac Rinaldo and Jakub Voracek.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK






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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.22.2012 / 12:06 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Teams not giving anything away in warm-ups

PHILADELPHIA -- Each team engaged in a bit of gamesmanship in pre-game warm-ups, skating 12 forwards and seven defensemen, leaving lineup questions unanswered.

For the Flyers, the only sure thing is defenseman Nicklas Grossmann will not play. He sustained an upper-body injury in Game 4 and sat out Game 5. He skated Saturday, but apparently wasn't feeling well enough from what teammate Claude Giroux called a concussion to play Sunday.

In Grossmann's place, the Flyers had rookies Erik Gustafsson -- who replaced Grossmann in the Game 5 lineup -- and Brandon Manning out for warm-ups.

The Penguins have dressed seven defensemen and 11 forwards the last two games in the absence of Paul Martin (undisclosed injury), but Joe Vitale skated as the 12th forward, and remains a viable lineup option.

Here is what the lineups could look like when the teams hit the ice for Game 6 of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series (Noon ET, NBC, TSN):

PENGUINS
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Steve Sullivan - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Eric Tangradi - Craig Adams

Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen - Zbynek Michalek
Brian Strait - Deryk Engelland
Simon Despres

Marc-Andre Fleury
Brent Johnson

If Penguins coach Dan Bylsma elects to go back to 12 forwards and six defensemen, Joe Vitale would play on the fourth line with Tangradi and Adams.

FLYERS
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Brayden Schenn - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds
James van Riemsdyk - Matt Read - Jakub Voracek
Maxime Talbot - Sean Couturier - Eric Wellwood

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Matt Carle - Andreas Lilja
Erik Gustafsson - Pavel Kubina

Ilya Bryzgalov
Sergei Bobrovsky

Brandon Manning took pre-game warm-ups, and could potentially replace Gustafsson or Kubina on the third pair. The forward that would come out if Flyers coach Peter Laviolette elected to go with seven defensemen, however, is unknown.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.22.2012 / 10:24 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Flyers' lineup likely stays the same for Game 6

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers coach Peter Laviolette declined to speak with the media because of the early start of Game 6 on Sunday (Noon ET, NBC, TSN), so any lineup changes he might have planned won't be seen until the game starts.

However, it's doubtful the Flyers' lineup will look much different than the group that took the ice for Game 5. On Saturday, Laviolette was complimentary of the job James van Riemsdyk did in his return from a seven-week absence with a broken foot.

The only real change could be on defense, with the possibility of Nicklas Grossmann returning to the lineup. Grossmann sat out Game 5 with an upper-body injury he sustained in Game 4. Grossmann is listed as day-to-day by the team, but skated for a short time twice on Saturday. Whether that means he's healthy enough to play, however, is in question.

Here's the lineup the Flyers likely will have on the ice for Game 6:

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Brayden Schenn - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds
James van Riemsdyk - Matt Read - Jakub Voracek
Maxime Talbot - Sean Couturier - Eric Wellwood

Braydon Coburn - Kimmo Timonen
Matt Carle - Andreas Lilja
Pavel Kubina - Erik Gustafsson

Ilya Bryzgalov
Sergei Bobrovsky

If Grossmann is able to play, he would return to his usual spot alongside Coburn. Timonen and Carle would form the second pair, and Kubina would play on the third pair with Lilja or Gustafsson.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 4:43 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

In Bryz they trust

VOORHEES, N.J. -- After watching Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury steal Game 5 for his team, the Philadelphia Flyers would like to see their goaltender do the same thing in Game 6 on Sunday (Noon ET, NBC, TSN).

"Give credit to their defense and Fleury played a great game in Pittsburgh," Scott Hartnell said. "We had to fight for opportunities and when we had them he was there to make the save. I think it's time for our defense and our goalie to win us a game."

Hartnell quickly added that he thought Bryzgalov was playing well, saying, "You need a goalie who can make those stops. Not that Bryz has played bad, but we'd love to win 1-0 and get a shutout and move on and get some rest and get some guys healthy."

Bryzgalov had a solid outing Game 5, stopping 20 of 23 shots in the 3-2 loss. It was a far cry from his poor performance in Game 4, when he allowed five goals on 18 shots and was pulled early in the second period.

The belief in the team is Bryzgalov can reach the same level as Fleury in Game 6.

"Bryz has made some great stops in the first few games," Hartnell said. "It's 3-0 [in Game 1] and it could have been 4-0 or 5-0 and they could have had that first game in their books. … We believe in Bryz, our organization believes in Bryz, and more importantly, the fans believe in Bryz. We're going to get it done."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 4:42 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Is faster or slower better for Flyers?

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the Flyers and Penguins stood out because it was the first one that felt like a real playoff game.

After combining to average more than 11 goals per game in the first four games, Game 5 featured just five goals and 49 shots in the Penguins' 3-2 victory.

Despite losing, however, the Flyers were happy with the pace of the game, saying they preferred a low-scoring game to a track meet.

"They have some offensive players that can score a lot of goals," Claude Giroux said. "Anytime the score can be lower that's good for us."

"I like these low-scoring games that are tight and every play means a lot," Scott Hartnell added.

Coach Peter Laviolette, thought, said the final score in Game 6 on Sunday (Noon ET, NBC, TSN) was inconsequential.

"We need to win a game," he said. "If its 8-5, it's 8-5. If it's 1-0, it's 1-0. I don't really care how we win. I want to win a game. We want to limit the amount of chances we give them, that's part of it, but if we score eight goals, 10 goals, 20 goals, I don't care. We need to win a hockey game. It's irrelevant how it happens."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 4:39 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Even-strength play has been Flyers' weakness

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers have gotten ahead in their first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins thanks in part to their special-teams play. However, if they want to close the series, they'll need to be better at even-strength.

The Flyers haven't scored a five-on-five goal since Claude Giroux scored 27 seconds into the third period of Game 3. That's a span of 139:33 of game time, and they've been outscored 8-0 the last two games at even strength. The first three games, the Flyers outscored the Pens 11-9 in five-on-five play.

Coach Peter Laviolette said he didn't see anything different that the Penguins had done the last two games to win the even-strength battles.

"We had chances [in Game 5] at even strength," he said, "we just couldn't get it by them."

Claude Giroux agreed, saying he thought it was more about what the Flyers weren't doing to be successful rather than anything the Penguins were doing better.

"We haven't been skating like we can," he said. "We're a fast team. We got a lot of guys that can skate pretty fast. That's why we're first on the puck usually. We have to go back and be first on the puck, pay the price to want the puck."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 4:37 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Grossmann back on the ice

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Only 10 players took the ice here at Virtua Flyers Skate Zone on Saturday, but one was of particular interest -- defenseman Nicklas Grossmann.

Grossmann sat out Game 4 with an upper-body injury he sustained in Game 3, and still is listed as day-to-day. However, Grossmann took two short spins on the ice with volunteer assistant coach Blair Betts -- he skated early with the extra players and then again with the regular group. If he's skating so soon after what teammate Claude Giroux called a concussion, there has to be hope for a rapid recovery, and possibly even a return for Game 6 on Sunday (Noon ET, NBC, TSN).

Since arriving in Philadelphia just before the trade deadline, the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder has provided the Flyers with a strong, steady, shot-blocking presence in the defensive zone. Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said a lack of blocked shots was a big reason the team lost Game 5 on Friday.

With Grossmann in the lineup, the Flyers blocked an average of 16.5 shots per game in the first four games of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In Game 5, they blocked just 10.

"He's been great for us," Giroux said. "Defensively he plays against the best lines on the other side. He's a solid teammate. He's a guy that we rely on on the penalty kill and he racks up a lot of minutes on the ice. We'll see [if he plays]. It's good to have him on the ice."

The other players skating with the regular group were defensemen Andreas Lijla, Brandon Manning, Erik Gustafsson and Pavel Kubina, forwards Jody Shelley, Zac Rinaldo and Tom Sestito, and goalies Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory