The Philadelphia Flyers are still alive! After an uncharacteristically hard-fought, down-to-the-wire contest Friday night, the orange and black will look to extend their Round One series against the Pittsburgh Penguins to seven games this afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.
Philadelphia has yet to show their hometown crowd anything worth boasting about, losing the first two games at the Wells Fargo Center 5-1 and 5-0. Getting off to a strong start will be imperative for both squads as the team to score first in each contest has come away with the victory.
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Line Combinations: Courtesy of NHL.com
Philadelphia Flyers Line Combinations
Claude Giroux – Valtteri Filppula – Jakub Voracek
Michael Raffl – Nolan Patrick – Travis Konecny
Scott Laughton – Sean Couturier – Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read – Jori Lehtera – Dale Weise
Ivan Provorov – Andrew MacDonald
Robert Hagg – Shayne Gostisbehere
Brandon Manning – Radko Gudas
Pittsburgh Penguins Line Combinations
Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel
Conor Sheary – Derick Brassard – Bryan Rust
Zach Ashton-Reese – Riley Sheahan – Tom Kuhnhackl
Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Justin Schultz
Jamie Oleksiak – Chad Ruhwedel
Three Storylines to Watch
The health and status of both Ivan Provorov and Evgeni Malkin are still uncertain. Provorov crash into the boards shoulder-first late in the final period while Malkin left the ice with an apparent lower-body injury in the first period and did not return. Malkin did not practice on Saturday and is considered to be a game-time decision. Ron Hextall would not provide any update on Provorov’s status for Sunday’s game. On a positive note for Pittsburgh, the Penguins could see the return of Patric Hornqvist to the lineup.
Home-ice and postseason hockey have not been an excellent combination for the Flyers recently. Philadelphia has been outscored 10-1 in the first two games at Wells Fargo Center and are 1-4 in their past five postseason home games. In a win-or-go-home scenario, the Flyers obviously need to turn their recent at-home failures around and put together a productive 60 minutes of hockey.
A significant amount of focus will be on the goaltenders of both sides in this game. Michal Neuvirth was stellar in his first postseason action this year, stopping 30 shots and leading the Flyers to victory. He will look to have a similar outing against a Penguins squad with a plethora of offensive weapons. Matt Murray has been a straight stud for Pittsburgh all series long and is 9-1 in his career after suffering a postseason loss.