PITTSBURGH -- Danny Briere
and Nicklas Grossman
both played coy Wednesday morning and said their status would not be decided until game time. The Flyers didn't want to wait that long to make it official, so shortly after the media session with the players was over, the team revealed on its Twitter page that Briere and Grossmann will play in Game 1 against the Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).
The news is not surprising since both players have been practicing this week and they came off the ice with the rest of the regulars after Wednesday's pregame skate.
They each missed the last three regular-season games after being injured in the teams' game April 1, both on plays involving Penguins center Joe Vitale
. Grossmann was left with a lower-body injury after colliding with Vitale in the first period. In the game's final moments, Vitale's hard shoulder check on Briere left the Philadelphia center with a back contusion that caused back spasms.
Now with Briere and Grossmann set to go, the Flyers will have their full lineup. Defenseman Pavel Kubina
, who played the last 10 games of the regular season, and forward Jody Shelley
will be healthy scratches.
Briere is one point shy of being a point-per-game player in his playoff career (96 points in 97 games). He'll center the second line, between Brayden Schenn
and Wayne Simmonds
"In the playoffs he's been pretty good and we hope he plays the way he can," Claude Giroux
said of Briere. "I have no doubt for him. The last few practices he's been flying out there. He just finds a way to get it done."
Grossmann has been a key addition to the Flyers' lineup since arriving in trade just before the trade deadline. He has been using his 6-foot-4, 230-pound body to clear space in front of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
, who was the NHL's Player of the Month in March.
Grossmann recognizes how important his job will be against the high-powered Penguins.
"They've got a lot of skill up front, obviously. They have two, I think, real high-skilled lines that can score a lot of goals," Grossmann said. "If everyone is on the same page and doing the right things it's going to make us successful in helping Bryz out."
Here is the Flyers' likely lineup for Game 1:
- Claude Giroux
- Jaromir Jagr
- Danny Briere
- Wayne Simmonds
- Matt Read
- Eric Wellwood
- Sean Couturier
- Zac Rinaldo
- Matt Carle
Brayden Coburn - Nicklas Grossmann
- Andreas Lilja
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl