Well, the Penguins took a commanding 3-1 lead after yet another embarrassing 5-0 loss from the Flyers on Wednesday night. Now is the time for the Flyers to answer the bell and step up to the plate, down 3-1 facing elimination, and possibly shorthanded they’re going to need a herculean effort to stay alive on the road in Pittsburgh.
WATCH / LISTEN / FACE-OFF
TV: NBCSP, NBCSN
RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic
PUCK DROP: 7:00 P.M.
LINE COMBINATIONS (Courtesy of Daily Faceoff)
Philadelphia: (Flyers Line Combinations)
The Flyers are holding on to the hope that Sean Couturier will be ready to go in game 5, but Couts is once again a game time decision. If he can’t go Oskar Lindblom will fill in for him in the lineup. Defensively, Robert Hagg skated in the place of Travis Sanheim who’s been great this series, but we all know Hakstol and he absolutely has to keep that veteran presence in Manning and Gudas in the lineup at all costs. Hagg saw run alongside Shayne Gostisbehere, which reunited Provorov and MacDonald on the second D pairing. Despite a pretty poor performance so far, Brian Elliott remains the guy in between the pipes for this crucial game 5.
Giroux – Couturier – Voracek
Konecny – Patrick – Simmonds
Weal – Filppula – Raffl
Laughton – Lehtera – Read
Hagg – Gostisbehere
Provorov – MacDonald
Manning – Gudas
Pittsburgh: (Penguins Line Combinations)
The Pens will be without Hornqvist once again, even though it didn’t really seem to matter in game 4. Mike Sullivan isn’t expected to make any lineup changes after game 4, because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Matt Murray suffered an injury scare in practice on Thursday afternoon that gave the Flyers signs of life for all of about two hours until after practice when he laughed off questions of that injury holding him out of game 5. He’ll be ready to go.
Guentzel – Crosby – Simon
Hagelin – Malkin – Kessel
Sheary – Brassard – Rust
Aston-Reese – Sheahan – Kuhnhackl
Dumolin – Letang
Maata – Schultz
Oleksiak – Ruhwedel
THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH
After letting up 5 goals in Pittsburgh Hakstol decided that taking Sanheim out of the lineup was the best decision. The Flyers aren’t going to be able to survive if they give up another 5 spot to the Pens. Robert Hagg is more defensive minded and breaking up the Provorov and Gostisbehere pairing will hopefully add some much needed balance to the Flyers blue line. Brian Elliott has looked shaky all series and he’ll step in between the pipes again in game 5 hoping to bounce back from another bad game in game 4.
Sean Couturier is a gametime decision once again in game 5 and if he can’t go it’s going to be a big problem for the Flyers who have seen a stunning lack of production out of Giroux, Voracek, and Simmonds over the first 4 games of this series. If Couts is out again Jake and the Captain are going to have to get the wheels turning somehow if the Flyers want to live to fight another day.
This is it for the Flyers, their backs are officially against the wall in this win or go home game 5. They’re facing the first of 3 elimination games that they’re going to need to win if they want to fight their way into the second round of the playoffs. The tone will need to be set right from the opening face-off, if they come out flat, we’re probably in for another 5+ goal loss and the end of the Flyers season. If the Flyers can get on the board quickly they’ll give themselves a chance to steal game 5 on the road and shift this series back to Philadelphia with some momentum. It’s make or break for Hakstol and the Flyers tonight and we’re going to get a chance to see what this team is really made of.