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Flyers' top line on a roll

Schenn-Giroux-Simmonds combination helped Philadelphia get to Game 5 against Capitals

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers' best line during the regular season had Claude Giroux centering left wing Brayden Schenn and right wing Wayne Simmonds.  

That line reunited for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Washington Capitals Wednesday, and the result was a 2-1 Flyers victory that extended the series. 

Game 5 is at Verizon Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, CSN-DC, CSN-PH). The Capitals lead the series 3-1.

The Flyers did not skate Thursday, instead attending a celebration of the life of founding owner and team chairman Ed Snider, who died April 11. 

"It's a celebration of Mr. Snider," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said prior to the ceremony. "I'm sure it's going to be one that's pretty emotional for a lot of us. ... It's a great day. It's a day of celebration."

The celebration had more of a positive feeling because of the Game 4 win.

"The focus would have remained on the celebration for Mr. Snider," Hakstol said. "But no question it's a much better scenario for all of us to be able to come to the rink today knowing that we're preparing for another playoff game tomorrow as well as being able to come here and be together for this ceremony."

Further raising the Flyers' spirit was positive news regarding forward Scott Laughton, who was released from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Thursday after being held overnight for precautionary reasons. General manager Ron Hextall said Laughton did not travel to Washington for Game 5. but that he's doing well and there will be another update on his condition in the next few days. 

Tweet from @Laughts21: Thankyou to everyone for the well wishes and messages to me and my family. Means the world. Go flyers!!Laughton was injured in the first period of Game 4 when he fell into the boards. He was removed from the ice on a stretcher.

Without Laughton there will be another lineup change, but it's doubtful it will affect the top line.

In Game 4, Simmonds had two assists, and Giroux and Schenn each had an assist. It was the first points in the series for Giroux and Simmonds, who led the Flyers in points and goals, respectively, during the regular season. 

"I think with [Giroux] in the middle, we have a pretty simple game," Simmonds said. "Me and [Schenn], we like to get pucks deep, we like to play the body, we like to shoot pucks. And [Giroux] is in the middle and he likes to distribute. I think the three of us go well together."

Video: WSH@PHI, Gm4: Gostisbehere blasts puck home for PPG

They went well together during the regular season. They were put together for the first time for a game against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 16, and in 21 games together down the stretch, they combined for 24 goals and 63 points. 

"We did play pretty well together," Giroux said. "We had chemistry. We feed off each other. For me, it's fun to play with those two guys. They can skate, they can make plays. Hopefully we can get more chemistry."

The change seemed to spark Giroux, who had the primary assist on Shayne Gostisbehere's game-opening power-play goal. 

"He's our captain and he's our leader," Hakstol said. "He takes a lot upon himself. He takes a lot on his shoulders when things don't go the right way for our hockey team. For him to get off to a great start [Wednesday] night was a great signal for our hockey team."

In addition to getting the top line going, the Flyers felt Jakub Voracek's move to left wing on a second line with center Michael Raffl and right wing Sam Gagner created two dynamic scoring options. 

"I think it makes things harder on the other team," Simmonds said. "You don't know who to check. Jake's out there with [Gagner and Raffl] and they played a heck of a game last night. It makes them have to split up [Matt] Niskanen and [Karl] Alzner. For us that's a good thing. You have two different points of pressure offensively."

Now the Flyers will try to keep that pressure going in Game 5. 

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