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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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Posted On Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 4:21 PM

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

JVR feeling OK

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The day after his first game in about seven weeks, Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk said he felt pretty good.

In his first game since breaking a bone in his right foot blocking a shot in a game March 1, van Riemsdyk played 11 shifts totaling 7:31 in ice time in the 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Despite the loss, van Riemsdyk said he was feeling good.

"All things considered, not too bad," he said. "It's the time of year you want to do everything you can to get in the lineup and do everything you can to contribute."

Coach Peter Laviolette said he would have given van Riemsdyk more opportunities to contribute, but couldn't because of all the special-teams play in the first two periods. Five of van Riemsdyk's 11 shifts came in the third period.

"[van Riemsdyk] was good," said Laviolette. "There were quite a few penalties right off the bat both ways, situational play that came up and if you don't factor into that, it's difficult to get into the roll of the game right away. We used him a bit more in the third period, and I thought he got going in the third. It wasn't his fault he didn't get the ice time in the first few periods, just the situations, the way they arose."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com.  Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 7:47 PM

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

Game 4 lineups for Flyers and Penguins

PHILADELPHIA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins entered Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Philadelphia Flyers with a new-look lineup due to the suspensions of forwards Craig Adams, Arron Asham and James Neal. In addition, defenseman Paul Martin sat out with an undisclosed injury.

The Penguins opted to dress seven defenseman and 11 forwards, while the Flyers' lineup remained the same from Game 3.

Here's how the teams lined up for Game 4:

PENGUINS:

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Tyler Kennedy

Steve Sullivan - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis

Eric Tangradi - Jordan Staal - Matt Cooke

Joe Vitale - Richard Park

Kris Letang - Brooks Orpik

Zbynek Michalek - Matt Niskanen

Deryk Engelland - Brian Strait

Simon Despres

Marc-Andre Fleury

Brent Johnson

FLYERS

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr

Brayden Schenn - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds

Maxime Talbot - Sean Couturier - Eric Wellwood

Zac Rinaldo - Matt Read - Jakub Voracek

Kimmo Timonen - Matt Carle

Nicklas Grossmann - Braydon Coburn

Andreas Lilja - Pavel Kubina

Ilya Bryzgalov

Sergei Bobrovsky

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 1:51 PM

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

Likely lineup for Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers had nearly every healthy player on the ice for practice Wednesday, but did not skate in line combinations. But after winning the first three games of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, it's doubtful there will be any lineup changes going into Game 4 Wednesday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

So here is what the Flyers likely will have in the lineup for Game 4:

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

Braydon Coburn - Nicklas Grossmann
Kimmo Timonen - Matt Carle
Pavel Kubina - Andreas Lilja

Ilya Bryzgalov
Sergei Bobrovsky

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 1:50 PM

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

Flyers non-plussed by Pittsburgh suspensions

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Flyers are clear their game plan isn't going to change one bit, no matter which players the Penguins have in the lineup for Game 4 on Wednesday.

In the wake of suspensions to forwards Craig Adams (one game), James Neal (one game) and Arron Asham (four games), all announced Tuesday, the Flyers said neither the term of the suspensionsnor the resulting rosetr makeover for the Penguins, will make a difference to them.

"It is what it is," Danny Briere said. "I can't change anything about that. Peter [Laviolette, coach] told us that suspension or not, it would be irrelevant to the game and I truly believe that. These guys have their backs to the walls so I expect them to play with a lot of desperation and that's why we have to be ready and leave it out all there tonight if we want to clinch."

"[NHL Vice President of Player Safety] Brendan Shanahan, I think, did a good job," forward Scott Hartnell said. "For us it really makes no difference who they put in there. We have to play the same way, have to have a good start. It's not like they're going to roll over and die just because of what happened. Whoever they put in there we have to do a job against the top guys and be disciplined."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 1:32 PM

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

Flyers scoring even without Hartnell chipping in

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Flyers' 20 goals have been scored by nine different forwards. The only three forwards to play in the series and not score are Eric Wellwood, Zac Rinaldo and Scott Hartnell -- the team's leading goal-scorer in the regular season.

Hartnell had a career-best 37 goals in the regular-season -- the sixth-most in the League -- but he hasn't found the back of the net in the first three games.

Adding more incentive for Hartnell to score is the fact that Wednesday is his 30th birthday.

"Everyone would like to score on their birthday," Hartnell said. "I had some chances, hit the post last game in the last game. Not too, too worried about it."

No one else in the Flyers' locker room is, either.

"I think Scott's done a good job in the series," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "I'm sure at some point you'll see him crack the score sheet, but right now we think he's playing a physical game and getting to those areas."

"Scotty doesn't have to score goals to be good for our team," linemate Claude Giroux added. "He's been in their face, he's been hitting, he's been winning battles. He's playing great right now. I know the score sheet doesn't show any goals, but he's doing a lot of good things for us."

The players believe the fact that their leading goal-scorer hasn't scored and yet they're up 3-0 in the series is a testament to their scoring depth.

"It doesn't matter who scores the goals," Jakub Voracek told NHL.com. "All four lines can score the goals and that's what we're doing right now, and that's why we're scoring so many goals."

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



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Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 5:43 PM

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

Penguins' Fleury pulled after second period

PHILADELPHIA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins started the third period with Brent Johnson in goal, in place of Marc-Andre Fleury.

Fleury allowed six goals on 28 shots through two periods as Philadelphia led 6-4 after 40 minutes.

Fleury entered the game with a 5.45 goals-against average, and in just more than eight periods in the series, he's allowed 17 goals on 84 shots.

The last time Fleury was pulled from a playoff game was Game 5 of the Penguins' first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning last year, when he allowed four goals on 14 shots in 25:10 of action.

The move didn't help much as the Flyers scored on the first shot they took on Johnson, by Claude Giroux, 27 seconds into the period.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 3:00 PM

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

Projected lineups for Flyers, Penguins

PHILADELPHIA -- Here are the projected lineups for the Flyers and Penguins for Game 3 Sunday at Wells Fargo Center (3 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN).

PENGUINS
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Steve Sullivan - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham - Richard Park - Craig Adams

Kris Letang - Paul Martin
Brooks Orpik - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen - Deryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury
Brent Johnson

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

Nicklas Grossmann - Braydon Coburn
Kimmo Timonen - Matt Carle
Pavel Kubina - Andreas Lilja

Ilya Bryzgalov
Sergei Bobrovsky

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 1:29 PM

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

Laviolette holding off on Couturier comparisons

PHILADELPHIA -- After his outstanding performance in the first two games of the series -- especially his Game 2 hat trick -- Flyers rookie center Sean Couturier has become the talk of the postseason in Philadelphia.

The 19-year-old has received rave reviews for his play at both ends of the ice, including the job he's done limiting the League's leading scorer, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, to just two assists in the first two games.

Some have compared Couturier to another tall, lanky defensive-minded center who can chip in offensively -- the Penguins' Jordan Staal. Teammate Jaromir Jagr went even further, comparing Couturier to one of his former teammates -- Hockey Hall of Famer Ron Francis.

"I don't know if I know any words to describe his game today. Awesome? Maybe something better than that?" Jagr said to reporters after the game. "I would say he's our best defensive forward. Age 18, 19 years old. Ron Francis was kind of like that."

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, who coached Francis for one season and worked with him for three seasons in Carolina, said it was a bit early to make that comparison.

"Sean is a good player, he's a young player, he's done a good job for us," Laviolette said. "It's his [third] playoff game. For the sake of Sean, let's let him develop into the player he is and maybe hold off on calling him Ron Francis, who's the … fourth-leading scorer in the game.

"[Sean is] doing a real nice job for us. Let's let him grow into his position here in Philadelphia."

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