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ECQF - Game #4 - Flyers vs Penguins

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Flyers need to end this tonight and not let the Pens get any hope of a comeback.

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Rookies have been part of the solution for the Philadelphia Flyers since the start of training camp.

It's why they're not a problem now.

Philadelphia has used at least five rookies in all three games of the series against Pittsburgh (six rookies played in Game 1), and some of them deserve credit for being major factors in why the Flyers are up 3-0 in the series heading into Game 4 Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).


Pens' Bylsma shocked, disappointed

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

Down 3-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma captured his team's feelings on Monday, saying he was "a little bit in shock." READ MORE ›

"When you're getting put in key situations throughout the season, toward the end of the year you don't have to feel so tense when you step out there," Brayden Schenn said. "Everyone feels comfortable and we're just trying to do our jobs, make the most of it."

Schenn has five points, including the game-tying goal and two assists in Game 1, when the Flyers had to claw back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in overtime.

Sean Couturier had a hat trick plus an assist in Philadelphia's 8-5 win in Game 2, but he's getting more attention for the work he's done in shutting down Art Ross Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin, who has no goals and one even-strength point in the series.

Matt Read scored twice in Game 3 to help the Flyers win 8-4.

And although he doesn't have a point yet, Eric Wellwood saw his minutes rise to over 16 in Game 3 because of the confidence coach Peter Laviolette has in him.

"He has a lot of confidence in all of us and he throws us in every situation," Wellwood told NHL.com. "He mentioned before the playoffs that he was going to play us like he played us during the regular season, and that's what he has been doing. You gain confidence from your coach when he's playing you, and [when] your teammates are encouraging and have trust in you, as well."

These Flyers rookies, including Zac Rinaldo and the injured Marc-Andre Bourdon (upper body), are oozing with confidence for good reason.

They've watched the Penguins unravel in part because of how well the rookies have performed and how composed they've remained in the intense chamber of emotions of this rivalry series.

"I thought it would be maybe a step below what it is right now, but maybe it's just a rival, the playoffs, playing the Penguins, in-state," Read told NHL.com. "This is great hockey and I love to play it."

Couturier has thrown Malkin off his game, so much so that the Penguins superstar center has tried on more than one occasion to throw punches at the 19-year-old rookie.

"If he's punching me back I must be doing something good," Couturier said. "I just try to focus on what I have to do. If I can get him to go to the box, good."

Schenn has gotten under the skin of Sidney Crosby. He's also used his size (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) to play an imposing physical game.

Paul Martin took the brunt of it in the first period Sunday when Schenn hit him hard and received a charging minor for it. Schenn also was on the receiving end of a high cross-check and a subsequent punch to the back of the head from the Pens' Arron Asham."He mentioned before the playoffs that he was going to play us like he played us during the regular season and that's what he has been doing. You gain confidence from your coach when he's playing you."

-- Eric Wellwood

"The players grow into their roles and you find out where else you can utilize them in their team concept and your identity," Laviolette said. "I talked with Brayden [on Tuesday], and I think he's doing a terrific job of using his speed, his skill and his physical presence."

Read has been using his offensive instincts to create space for scoring chances. Veteran Jaromir Jagr found him on the power play in the second period by threading a pretty circle-to-circle pass. Read, who was set up in the left circle, blasted a one-timer past Marc-Andre Fleury to put the Flyers up 5-3.

It was Read's second goal of the game.

"It's confidence," Read said. "Everyone, all of our young guys, our rookies have been given roles throughout the year. The coaching staff puts you on the ice in certain situations, and you learn how to play in those situations and how to deal with those situations and how to succeed. Every rookie has been given a role and it's great to see everyone succeeding and doing well. Having confidence out there helps so much, and it stems from the regular season. It's just continued here in the playoffs."

Laviolette credited general manager Paul Holmgren and his scouts for finding these players and bringing them into the organization. He then credited the players for running with the opportunity right from the beginning.

His confidence in them is a result of the growth they've shown throughout the season.

All that's growing now is that confidence.

"Back then they were truly rookies," Laviolette said, referring to the early part of the regular season. "They were getting their first tastes of practices, NHL rinks, systems, coaches, the travel, the grind of the NHL. From there I think they've grown. Sometimes you can look at it and say, 'Well, they can wear down at the end (of the season).' In this circumstance it seems like they've grown into the players that they are, which is really necessary for our success."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Looking to complete a sweep of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, the Philadelphia Flyers return to action after a two-day layoff to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast locally on CSN Philly, nationally in the U.S. on NBC Sports Network and nationally in Canada on TSN.

"Discipline" has been the buzzword of the last few days, in light of the video game-like scoring pace throughout the series and the three Pittsburgh suspensions that arose from Game 3. The goaltending was not very good on either side in Game 3, and both Ilya Bryzgalov and Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury will likely need to play better tonight in order to give their respective teams a legitimate chance to win.

As a result of the suspensions handed down this week, Penguins will be without their top offensive winger, James Neal, for tonight's game, along with checking forward Craig Adams. Former Flyers forward Arron Asham has been banished for the remainder of the series (no matter how long the series goes).

Even without Neal, any team that has Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, Steve Sullivan and defenseman Kris Letang still has plenty of firepower. The Penguins real issue is this series has been their porous defense, inability to kill penalties, breakdowns that have led to shorthanded goals for Philadelphia and a lack of clutch saves (sometimes routine ones) by Fleury.

Neal suspension for tonight means that Roxborough native Eric Tangradi will get into playoff game in the city of his birth. Although Tangradi's offensive game has not manifested itself yet at the NHL level, he is a capable player who has shown himself to be a scoring threat at the AHL level. Joe Vitale (the player who had incidents with Nicklas Grossmann and Danny Briere a few weeks ago in Pittsburgh) will be back in the lineup. Dustin Jeffrey practiced in Neal's spot yesterday, but he could switch lineup spots with Tyler Kennedy or even Tangradi depending on how Dan Bylsma manages his lines tonight.

On the Flyers end, the club has fallen behind in each of the first three games. Coming back is a non-issue for this club, but the team's momentum has often been generated by what happens after -- not leading up to -- their first goal of a game. In all three games to date, the Penguins have had an odd-man rush within the first 90 seconds of the game.

Thankfully, the Flyers enjoy outstanding offensive depth that runs about 10 players deep. The Claude Giroux, Danny Briere and Sean Couturier lines have all taken turns activating the goal light with regularity. Even so, no team can hope to forever get away with giving up the first goal of a game. Sooner or later that needs to change. For Philly, it may as well be tonight because the Penguins response to giving up a first goal has been to collapse defensively and yield numerous other tallies.

For the balance of Game 3, the Flyers played decent team defense. Two of the four goals that got past Bryzgalov were preventable ones, and the Penguins' puck movement was outstanding on the sequence that led to Neal's second goal of the game. Overall, however, the Flyers did a good job of protecting -- and then adding -- to their lead once they got it. The team did the same in the latter stages of the third period in Game 2.

The Flyers figure to dress the same lineup as in Games 2 and 3. Marc-Andre Bourdon remains day-to-day with an upper body injury. James van Riemsdyk (foot surgery) is close to being ready to return, as is Tom Sestito (torn groin). Andrej Meszaros (back surgery) is still a few weeks away.

Hockey often has a way of defying the script of a series. All signs point toward another high scoring game tonight, but the play could suddenly turn tighter checking. If there's one thing this series has show, it's that anything is possible.

PROJECTED LINEUPS (subject to change)


Hartnell - Giroux - Jagr

Schenn - Briere - Simmonds

Talbot - Couturier - Voracek/Rinaldo

Wellwood - Read - Rinaldo/Voracek

Carle - Timonen

Grossmann - Coburn

Lilja - Kubina




Kunitz - Malkin - Jeffrey

Sullivan - Crosby - Dupuis

Cooke - Staal - Kennedy

Tangradi - Vitale - Park

Martin - Letang

Orpik - Michalek

Niskanen - Engelland



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We had really better keep our heads on a swivel tonight and be ready for anything. Everybody is talking about how the Flyers may seek payback but it's more likely Vitale and Letang take their physical game up a few notches - not to mention that scumbag Cooke.

Crosby, Malkin and Kunitz will be going for goals as always, but the rest of that club is dangerous to us. They remind me of the Leafs from '04 when D(M)arcy Tucker, Domi, Antropov, Belak etc. were throwing cheapshots at our best players every other shift.

Bryzgalov - you better PLAY WELL TONIGHT you freaking head-case. Our offensive firepower should give Bryz a few goals to work with easily enough, then the TEAM D has to lock it down. It may seem like we've played okay with the lead but it's because we keep answering with goals. I want to see some TEAM D tonight - once we make swiss cheese out of Fleury again.

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Bryzgalov - you better PLAY WELL TONIGHT you freaking head-case. Our offensive firepower should give Bryz a few goals to work with easily enough, then the TEAM D has to lock it down

This is the one key I'm really hoping to see tonight...... after scoring 20 goals in 3 games, the only thing that can make us more complete is to win the series and head into another with our goalie winning us a game..... I know its hard to say an 8-5 game was aided by your goalie, but I DO think Bryz was a big reason we won Game 2..... after being down big again, I believe 3-1 -- if he doesnt stand on his head and make some of those saves, we may not have been in a position to come back.

A stellar game from Bryzgalov is key if the Flyers want to make us all believers in their chances to win the East.

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Surprised the Pens would start Fleury again..he's been lit up like a Christmas tree. I would go with Johnson and see what happens..

Tsn reporting Martin out for the game tonight and Mikalek a game time decision. Man if this is the case, the flyers BETTER take advantage!

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BTW --- am I the only one that HATES we had to sit thru 2 off days in between games in the SAME CITY??!

I could get the delay in between Games 2 & 3 moving from one city to another..... but this extra day sucked.

When you're playing well -- you dont want to sit around...you want to keep the momentum going and w/ all the drama Pitss brough on themselves,

keeping in their heads and playing last night woulda been better....

That SAID..... I still say:


Edited by NJSikkbreed
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A win tonight will make the length of those suspensions irrelevant. I'd like to see a complete, professional dismantling type of game a la g5 VS Montreal in 2010. this should be where the story ends for the pens in 2012.

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Yeah that kind of game (Flyers/Habs G5) would be a terrific way to finish R1 but I'm not expecting it. Any ol' way we win is fine by me as long as our guys finish in one piece.

Vitale, Cooke, Engelland - never mind Crosby and Malkin - I'm a little worried the Pens may go all out in the headhunting department. If the Pens are still looking at a sweep in the 3rd, or conversely if they're ahead and feel they can hold off the Flyers, we may be in for worse than what happened Sunday.

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I hate these games when everything is set up perfectly for a win -- and that's when strange things happen.... some young call-up plays outta his skull

since he's getting a chance to play in the playoffs, the Flyers come in fat n happy -- facing a wounded animal -- and BOOM! they bite you in the *** before

eventually dying.

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This game 4 is riding heavily on Bryz's shoulders. He needs to play extremely well so the Flyers can ultimately move on. Bryz cannot allow any 'cheap' or soft goals that will give the Pens the slightest confidence...

I would also like to see the Flyers close this out... who cares about the suspensions at this point? the bigger prize is for the Flyers to take.

Also take the "nonsense" that has been going on the first 3 games in stride... its over and done with.. don't reflect on it, don't rehash it, just play the game hard, go to the net and seize the opportunities!

I have a feeling the refs will try their best to keep the game in check... even though the Pens were the instigators of much of the broo-ha ha in the first 3 games, the Flyers must remain disciplined... you will see some soft calls against the Flyers, but again, do not give anything to the Pens that will result in PPs for that team. Malkin is overdue and obviously the other players not suspended will definitely step up their game.. but if the Flyers keep pace, they will take this one.

Edited by KnucklesNilan
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exactly. And you avoid that "trap" by playing smart, tough hockey. Keep the game simple and outwork the opposition, one shift at a time. Bryzgalov will be fine if our TEAM D is on top of its game.

I hope the Flyers think of tonight as a Game 7. Win tonight and we get to rest while the remaining teams battle on.

Edited by canoli
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Tsn reporting Martin out for the game tonight and Mikalek a game time decision. Man if this is the case, the flyers BETTER take advantage!

According to head coach Dan Bylsma, D Paul Martin is out for Game 4 and D Zbynek Michalek is expected to be a game time decision. D Simon Depres is likely to draw in for Martin. - TSN

Projected Lines vs. Flyers:


Kunitz - Malkin - Kennedy

Sullivan - Crosby - Dupuis

Cooke - Staal - Tangradi

Jeffery - Vitale - Park


Letang - Engelland

Orpik - Niskanen

Lovejoy - Depres

That Pens defense is of the icky variety for sure.

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Bylsma said he would start Fleury the next four games, tonight and to open the pre-season next year. I would like to take him at his word and let Fleury take this loss, utterly destroying his confidence.

And yes, Brygalov needs to show that he can play like a playoff goalie. Not many teams would be up 3-0 with a goalie giving up 4 goals a game.

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Surprised the Pens would start Fleury again..he's been lit up like a Christmas tree. I would go with Johnson and see what happens..

I would start Johnson too.

If Fleury starts the game tonight & the Flyers score early, it's all over; I think the rout would be on.

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Game 1 - Pens up 3-0 before Flyers comeback to win

Game 2 - Pens up 2-0 before Flyers comeback to win

Game 3 - Pens up 1-0 before Flyers comeback to win

Game 4 - Flyers need to score early and often. Run the score up.

I'm not worried about the Pens trying to hurt the Flyers players with dirty play. I'm pretty sure the refs won't allow any extracurricular stuff to happen without being penalized. Anything borderline will be called.

I think Bryz has played pretty good in this series. For the most part, he's made the saves he should make and even some that he shouldn't. Agree with everyone who already said it. Time for Bryz to stand on his head.

Just over an hour till game time. Can't wait. LETS GO FLYERS!!!

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