FLYERS at PENGUINS
(Philadelphia leads best-of-seven series, 3-1)
TV: NBCSN, TSN, RDS, CSN-PH (HD), ROOT (HD)
Big Story: Will this be the game that is all about defense and goaltending? There hasn't been one yet in this series between the two Pennsylvania rivals. The combined 45 goals scored are the most through four games of a playoff series in NHL history. The Penguins stayed alive Wednesday with a 10-3 victory. They scored five goals against Ilya Bryzgalov
and then five more against Sergei Bobrovsky
. The Flyers, though, can end it at Consol Energy Center, where they are 7-1 since the building opened its doors last season.
Flyers: Coach Peter Laviolette does not announce his starting goaltender, but if it's Bryzgalov he'll be getting tossed back in after giving up five goals on 18 shots in 23:07 Wednesday. Bryzgalov has allowed 17 goals on 109 shots in the series. He has a 4.95 goals-against average and .844 save percentage.
The problem for the Flyers is that Bobrovsky wasn't good in relief. He also gave up five goals on 18 shots.
"We've got a lot of confidence in Bryz," said forward Scott Hartnell
, who added that great goaltending is a key to victory. "He's a great goaltender. He has to step up and we've got to step up in front of him."
That could be difficult for the Flyers, who may not have defenseman Nicklas Grossmann
. He suffered an upper-body injury early in Game 4 and is considered day-to-day. It is believed that Grossmann has a concussion, but the Flyers have said nothing further than upper-body injury.
James van Riemsdyk
might draw into the lineup for the first time since breaking his left foot on March 1. Laviolette would not say if van Riemsdyk is going to play, but if he does it could be for Zac Rinaldo
, who is averaging less than five minutes of ice time per game in the series.
Penguins: They went into Philadelphia with the goal of winning one game, and they accomplished it with a barrage of goals, giving them momentum they hope to carry into Game 5.
The three most important things about Pittsburgh's 10-3 win on Wednesday were the stars shined brightest, Marc-Andre Fleury
steadied himself, and nobody got hurt or committed an act that would require a call from the League's Department of Player Safety.
had a hat trick. Evgeni Malkin
scored his first two goals of the series and added an assist. Sidney Crosby
had a goal and two assists. Fleury made 22 saves on 25 shots, raising his save percentage in the series to .817. It was at .798 heading into Game 4.
The Penguins power play was 4-for-9 and did not give up a shorthanded goal after allowing three over the past two games.
Now the Penguins will also get James Neal
and Craig Adams
back in the lineup as they have served their one-game suspensions. Neal has five points in the series and was a 40-goal scorer in the regular season. Adams is one of the most effective penalty killers.
"The more you trade chances like that the more you make it a 50-50 game and anything can happen," Crosby said. "When you're doing the right things and giving yourselves a chance to win you don't allow that one chance to change a game. If you're going back and forth like that it's almost like last goal wins. It's just a matter of playing the right way. You give yourselves the best odds by doing that."
Who's Hot: The question is who's not? Heading into the three games Thursday night, eight of the top-nine point scorers in the playoffs were in this series. Claude Giroux
has 10 points. Crosby has eight. Staal and Malkin have seven each. Danny Briere
, Chris Kunitz
, Pascal Dupuis
and Jaromir Jagr
each have six points.
Injury Report: Flyers defensemen Marc-Andre Bourdon (upper-body) and Grossmann (upper-body) are both day-to-day. Van Riemsdyk (left foot) hasn't played since March 1. … Pittsburgh defenseman Paul Martin
missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury.
Stat Pack: There were roughly 5.3 goals scored per game in the NHL this season; the Flyers and Penguins are averaging 11.25 goals per game in this series. … The goalies in this series (Fleury, Brent Johnson
, Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky) have combined for a 5.47 GAA and .818 save percentage.
Puck Drop: "I will definitely look for situations to see Sid and Geno (Malkin) together," Bylsma said.