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Posted On Tuesday, 05.08.2012 / 12:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Devils get Carter back after one-game absence

PHILADELPHIA -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer confirmed on Tuesday that fourth-line forward Ryan Carter will return to the lineup for Game 5 against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semifinal series at Wells Fargo Center.
 
Carter was forced to sit out Sunday's 4-2 victory in Game 4 after suffering a case of food poisoning the previous night.
 
"It was a food-born illness," Carter said. "After practice [on Saturday], I went home to eat and had some dinner and lunch -- one of those two meals was the culprit. I'm much better now and I'm good to go."
 
Devils captain Zach Parise feels having Carter back in the lineup is a plus. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound left wing has one goal, three points, a plus-2 rating and 14 hits in 10 games.
 
"I think he's been playing really well for us," Parise said. "That fourth line has done a great job of putting pressure on their defense, and even chipping in with some goals, so it's good to get him back."
 
Carter will take his usual spot on the fourth line alongside center Stephen Gionta and right wing Steve Bernier, a line that has combined for five goals and 10 points in 10 playoff games together.
 
Carter said watching the game on television on Sunday turned out to be a pretty enlightening experience.
 
"You get a much different perspective than playing during the game," Carter said. "The crowd was really into the game [at Prudential Center] and I think that helped with our momentum. I also learned the importance of wearing them down and working hard on the forecheck."
 
Here are the probable line combinations for Game 5:
 
Zach Parise - Patrik Elias - David Clarkson
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Adam Henrique - Dainius Zubrus
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
 
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Adam Larsson
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
 
Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg
 
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale


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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 Monday, 05.07.2012 / 3:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

DeBoer: 'We want to end this as soon as we can'

NEWARK, N.J. -- As has been the case after every game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring, New Jersey Devils coach Pete DeBoer kept his team off the ice during the following off-day as preparations began for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
 
A win on Tuesday will enable the Devils, who hold a 3-1 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers, to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in eight seasons.
 
"We want to end this as soon as we can," DeBoer told the media at AmeriHealth Pavilion on Monday afternoon. "We know they're going to play their best game. I'm confident we're going to bring our best game. They're a dangerous team at any point in the series, and this one is always the toughest to win. I like how we're playing so we have to continue to do what we've been doing."
 
The one-game suspension given to Flyers forward Claude Giroux for his illegal hit to the head on Dainuis Zubrus in Game 4 was announced after DeBoer spoke to the media. But he was asked if Giroux's absence would make a difference, one way or another.
 
"If he doesn't play, teams in that situation have a tendency to rise to the occasion," DeBoer said. The Devils were without Ilya Kovalchuk (lower body) for Game 2 in Philadelphia and came away with a series-tying 4-1 victory.
 
Meanwhile, forwards Dainuis Zubrus, who was on the receiving end of Giroux's hit late in the second period, and fourth-line wing Ryan Carter, who was sidelined for Game 4 with a stomach virus, are both expected in the lineup for Game 5.
 
The two-game series lead also holds some added significance as the Devils have never lost a playoff in which they've opened a two-game lead at any point -- they are 14-0. Not since their 2006 conference quarterfinal sweep of the New York Rangers have the Devils enjoyed the luxury of leading a best-or-seven by at least two games.
 
DeBoer said his team would like to continue doing the things in Game 5 that have frustrated the Flyers to a point where they seemingly have no answers.
 
"I think coming into this series we saw what they did to Pittsburgh and wanted to make sure that didn't happen to us," DeBoer said. "We knew that composure and discipline were going to be at a premium for us. When we got our heads wrapped around the fact that we're going to have to walk away from those types of situations and take a punch in the head at different points and not retaliate, I think everything else fell in place."
 
DeBoer also said that the experience his team gained in their seven-game series victory against the Florida Panthers in the conference quarterfinal round has been taken to good use against the Flyers.
 
"They are similar teams … Florida had a big speed-rush type of team just like Philly and that helped prepare us for this series," DeBoer said.
 
Here are the probable line combinations for Game 5:

Zach Parise - Patrik Elias - David Clarkson
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Adam Henrique - Dainius Zubrus
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
 
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Adam Larsson
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
 
Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Monday, 05.07.2012 / 10:26 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Brodeur makes 40th birthday a night to remember

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur got his birthday wish on Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semifinal at Prudential Center.
 
In addition to turning back 20 shots in securing a 4-2 victory on the day he turned 40 years old, he also added an assist for a little icing on the cake. The Devils now lead the best-of-seven series, 3-1.
 
Brodeur, who said the day would have been even sweeter had he been able to post a shutout, also established another hockey standard. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Brodeur became the first goalie in NHL history to appear in a playoff game in his teens and his 40s.
 
Brodeur's first postseason game came as 19-year-old when he replaced Chris Terreri in an 8-5 loss to the New York Rangers on April 27, 1992. His victory on Sunday before 17,625 was the 106th of his illustrious career. He is now 2-2 all-time in games played on his birthday.
 
"A shutout would have been better, but that's all right," Brodeur said. "It's great. The guys played awesome. It started a little rocky, but apart from that we were really good. We were on the puck, we were physical and we did the good things to win hockey game tonight."
 
Midway through the first period, backup goalie Johan Hedberg, who turned 39 on Saturday, and Brodeur had their names displayed on the center ice scoreboard to the delight of those in attendance. The ovation was loud, but Brodeur said he didn't see his name until the last second.
 
Brodeur assisted on an empty-net goal by Dainius Zubrus with 44.4 seconds remaining in the third period. The helper enabled him to become the oldest player in NHL history to record a playoff assist on his birthday.
 
"The guys played really well in front of me," Brodeur said. "It's nice to win the game. A lot of people talked about me turning 40 today. I was kind of center stage for whatever reason that is, but it's kind of nice to pull out a win."
 
He now has 12 career playoff points on one goal and 11 assists, moving him ahead of Patrick Roy into second place all-time among goaltenders behind only Grant Fuhr, who had 14 career playoff points (all assists).
 
Devils rookie center Adam Henrique was asked after the game if the team sang "Happy Birthday."
 
"No 'Happy Birthday,' just a big win and that's extra special," he said.
 
Zach Parise said the team presented Brodeur with the best gift possible this time of the year.
 
"A win … that was it," Parise said, grinning.
 
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale


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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 / 5:50 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Sestito to make postseason debut for Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils left wing Tim Sestito will make his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut on Sunday on the fourth line when his team plays host to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal at Prudential Center.
 
Sestito will replace Ryan Carter in the lineup. The official announcement came via the Devils' Twitter account almost two hours prior to the opening faceoff. Carter was receiving treatment earlier on Sunday during the team's morning optional skate at Prudential Center.
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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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