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Posted On Tuesday, 05.08.2012 / 12:19 PM

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

Meszaros could make return to Flyers' lineup

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers will be without their top player for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) in center Claude Giroux, but they could be getting back a major part to their defense in Andrej Meszaros.

Meszaros, who is one day shy of seven weeks removed from March 21 back surgery to remove a disc fragment that was impinging on a nerve root, went through the morning skate and left the ice with the regulars. Andreas Lilja, who has played less than 15 minutes in three of four games against the New Jersey Devils, remained on the ice for extra skating with frequent healthy scratches Pavel Kubina and Jody Shelley, as well as assistant coaches Craig Berube and Jeff Reese.

If Meszaros does play, it would be his first game since March 1. He had seven goals and 25 points in 62 games, and would give the Flyers another experienced, puck-moving defenseman who can help get the puck out of the defensive zone, something Philadelphia has struggled with in this series.

Coach Peter Laviolette, who never reveals information about his lineup prior to game-time, would not talk about Meszaros' playing status.

"[Meszaros] has looked good for the past seven days, 10 days," he said. "He's looked good."

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




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Posted On Monday, 05.07.2012 / 4:34 PM

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

Flyers feel adversity will bring out their best

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Some teams seem to thrive on adversity, and the Philadelphia Flyers believe they are that kind of team. Whether it's been injuries or scoring slumps or streaks of poor play, the belief in future success never is farther than the next game.

"I have a tremendous amount of confidence we can win a game [Tuesday]," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I don't say that as a sales pitch. This team has had success all year long. Regular season had success, first round had success, Game 1 [against the Devils] had success. … We need to do things better and we need to do them quicker and faster. I think if we do that, then we'll find the results that we're looking for."

They'll have to find those results without top scorer Claude Giroux, who will sit out Game 5 as punishment for his hit to the head of New Jersey's Dainius Zubrus in the second period of Game 4 on Sunday.

However, it's just another slice of adversity for the team to get past.

"It's the belief first of all in your teammates," Danny Briere said. "We've shown all year we can come back. We've faced adversity all year and we've shown we can come back from it. Obviously this is the biggest challenge of the year. But we've shown all year we're not quitters. And that's what makes me believe that the guys are not going to just quit at this point. I might be wrong -- we'll see [Tuesday]. But the character that we've shown all year I really believe is going to come out [in Game 5]."

Kimmo Timonen said part of the message delivered in meetings Monday was for each player to focus on his individual role, and not to worry about trying too hard, or to do someone else's job.

"I'm sure everybody was a little down today, obviously, but stay positive, think about [Game 5] and do your job," he said. "Everybody has a role. If we do our role … everybody can do their role much better than they have been the last three games. That's why I'm really confident and I believe in our team and we can do a better job."

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


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Posted On Monday, 05.07.2012 / 4:12 PM

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

Flyers using 2010 comeback as touchstone

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Only once in their history have the Flyers rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to win in the playoffs.

It was their magical rally against Boston in the 2010 conference semifinals, when they lost the first three games of that series before winning four straight.

Seven players from that team are still active on the current roster -- forwards Danny Briere, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and James van Riemsdyk, and defensemen Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle.

Peter Laviolette, who coached that team, said he didn't believe what happened two years ago could have much effect on this year's team.

"It's hearsay," he said. "It's a story from a different team in a different day. … To tell a story or have someone tell a story, I'm not sure if that's going to get the deal done [in Game 5]. It's going to be how we play in certain areas and certain things we do better that will dictate the outcome. Not a good story form a couple years ago."

His players, though, felt different, and believe the lessons they learned in surviving that series can help them now.

"We believed we can beat those guys that time," Timonen said. "We just focused game by game. Don't think about what happens if we lose this game or win this game -- just focus on [Game 5] and believe we can win, we can be a better team than we've been the last three games."

Briere said he doesn't think the story needs to be re-told, because whether his current teammates were there for it or not, they certainly know what happened.

"There's a lot of guys that were there and they remember very well," he said. "Lot of guys have seen it. I think everybody has heard about it. … Definitely it's something that can make you believe. I know I'm using that."

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


 
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Posted On Sunday, 05.06.2012 / 7:22 PM

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

Flyers' Couturier will play in Game 4

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier will play in Game 4 of the team's Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New Jersey Devils.
 
Sean Couturier
Center - PHI
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 4
SOG: 15 | +/-: 2
Couturier sustained a lower-body injury in the first period of Game 3 on Thursday, but did not look restricted in the morning skate Sunday, took line rushes in pre-game warm-ups in his usual spot, between forwards Maxime Talbot and Eric Wellwood.
 
Couturier, the eighth pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, has three goals and an assist in nine playoff games, but has developed into the team's best defensive center.
 
"Sean is an important piece of the team," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said following the team's skate Sunday morning. "He looked good skating out there. He's smiling, that's always good."
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Posted On Sunday, 05.06.2012 / 1:27 PM

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

Flyers hoping for continued road success

NEWARK, N.J. -- History shows the Philadelphia Flyers are not in a good situation right now. In the 28 times in team history the Flyers have trailed 2-1 in a series, they've won just seven times. They've lost the last five series they've trailed 2-1, dating to the first round of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when they trailed the Toronto Maple Leafs after three games, but rallied to win the series in seven.

However, this current group of Flyers isn't affected by that bit of history. They point to their League-best 25-13-3 regular-season road record, which includes a 2-1-0 mark at Prudential Center.

"I think that we're comfortable either way," coach Peter Laviolette told NHL.com. "It hasn't really seemed to affect this group. We don't seem to get intimidated by circumstances or surroundings, so I don't see that being an issue."

Scott Hartnell said home or away, the Flyers need to improve in every area of their game if they want to win Game 4 Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).

"It's not rocket science," he said. "You work hard, you win the battles, you're more than likely to win the game. … It's us winning the battles in the [defensive] zone, having good breakouts, having good dumps, keeping them away from [Martin] Brodeur. It's not just one thing we have to focus on. It's not going to be our power play, it's not going to be our penalty kill -- it's every aspect of our game that has to be picked up."

Hartnell said in his case, it's getting to the net and creating havoc in front of Brodeur.

"I've got to get to the net," he said. "That's where all my goals come from, that's where all the stuff happens. It's been way too easy for Marty to make the saves that he's had to make. Especially paying with Jags [Jaromir Jagr] and G [Claude Giroux], or whoever we're playing with. Got to make it harder on him. Can't stop what you can't see. If he gets frustrated he'll get off his game. Got to make it hard on him. Just have to be skating. I have to do what I do that makes me a good player out there."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Sunday, 05.06.2012 / 12:52 PM

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

Flyers rule Meszaros out for Game 4

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros has been ruled out for Game 4 of the team's Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).

Meszaros hasn't played since March 1, and is 6.5 weeks removed from March 21 back surgery to remove a disc fragment that was impinging on a nerve root. He's been skating with the team for more than a week, and Saturday went through what he said was his hardest day on the ice. He took part in the full morning skate Sunday, but prior to leaving the arena, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said Meszaros would not play.

The only Flyers missing from Sunday's practice were center Danny Briere and defenseman Kimmo Timonen, but that's a usual occurrence; both are healthy and will be in the lineup.

The Flyers didn't skate in line combinations for defense pairings, but with Meszaros out and rookie center Sean Couturier a game-time decision but likely to play, here's how Philadelphia could look when they hit the Prudential Center ice:

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

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

Ilya Bryzgalov
Sergei Bobrovsky

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Sunday, 05.06.2012 / 12:48 PM

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

Couturier a possibility for Flyers in Game 4

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers rookie center Sean Couturier will be a game-time decision for Game 4 of the team's Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New Jersey Devils (7:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC).

Couturier left Game 3 on Thursday in the first period with a lower-body injury sustained when he became tangled with New Jersey's David Clarkson. He skated for less than five minutes by himself in a track suit Saturday, but was on the ice for all of the team's morning skate Sunday and did not look restricted.

"Sean is an important piece of the team," coach Peter Laviolette said. "He looked good skating out there. He's smiling -- that's always good."

Multiple media outlets said the injury was a skate cut to his right leg, but Couturier declined to describe the details of the injury, only saying it was "scary at the moment."

"Just battling and it just didn't feel good at one point," he said.

However, Couturier said he's feeling better now, and hopes for further improvement as the day goes on.

"Every day it gets better and better, every hour it gets better and better, so we'll see," he said.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Sunday, 05.06.2012 / 11:15 AM

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

Briere delivers for young hockey player

The Stanley Cup Playoffs seem to be motivation enough for Danny Briere, who scored the 50th goal of his playoff career in just his 106th game in Game 3 of the Flyers' Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.
 
After the game, Briere told RDS reporter Renaud Lavoie that he wanted to send a message to a friend of his -- 11-year-old Michael Pageau of Gatineau, Que. Pageau had spent 14 hours in surgery on Monday at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa as doctors attempted to remove a large brain tumor.
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Posted On Saturday, 05.05.2012 / 3:06 PM

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

Meszaros still working his way back

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Andrej Meszaros said Saturday's practice was the hardest he's worked since having back surgery March 21. But, he remains unsure if the next step for him is a return to the lineup.
 
"It's a long process," Meszaros said. "It's getting better day by day, but every day is different."
 
Meszaros hasn't played since March 1, and had surgery to remove a disc fragment that was impinging on a nerve root. The original prognosis was a 6-8 week recovery; May 2 was the six-week mark.
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Posted On Saturday, 05.05.2012 / 2:50 PM

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

Flyers don't think Giroux is pressing

Claude Giroux
Right Wing - PHI
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 8 | PTS: 15
SOG: 35 | +/-: 3
VOORHEES, N.J. -- After the Flyers beat the Penguins in Game 6 of the first round, Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette started a response of Claude Giroux demanding to start the game, "When the best player in the world comes up to you …"
 
The moniker was picked up on by fans and hockey experts throughout North America, with few disagreeing.
 
But as dominant as Giroux was in the first round, he's been mostly quiet through the first three games of the conference semifinal against New Jersey. He has just one goal -- a power-play goal in Game 1 -- and is a minus-3 with seven shots, and he's winning just 47.8 percent of his faceoffs. 
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Quote of the Day

It was a different game in the past, that's for sure. It's not exactly what I was expecting but I think the experience paid off for a lot of our guys that realized what it takes in a Game 7. Realistically the effort we put forward, we might not even had to put 60 [minutes], but we just couldn't get a couple bounces to go our way and we just kept pushing.

— Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby on Washington's play in Game 7 vs. the Islanders