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Penguins playing at championship level in playoffs against Flyers

23 April 2018, 02:53 | Stacy Ballard

NHL Playoffs 2018 Friday schedule, scores, updates, news, odds highlights: Jets up big on Wild, Flyers on the brink

Penguins won't have Hornqvist; Flyers lineup murky for Game 5

He played in 20 playoff games last season and recorded three assists.

Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol, perhaps fighting for his job, made his first significant change in an effort to keep his team's season alive, giving Neuvirth his first playoff start in almost two years after Elliott couldn't shake out of a funk that saw him pulled in Game 1 and again in Game 4.

Lightning, at Devils 1: A feisty Nikita Kucherov scored two goals, set up another and knocked New Jersey's top defenseman out of the game with a big hit, and the Tampa Bay Lightning moved within a game of making the Devils' first trip to the playoffs in six years a short one with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday night.

Claude Giroux picked up his first goal of the series and Matt Read added an empty-netter. They still trail 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Sunday but counterpunched effectively against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. In Friday's other two games, the Winnipeg Jets will advance to the next round after dominating the Wild 5-0. A second period goal by Nicklas Backstrom to the high corner of the net was his only blemish of the day as he finished with 28 saves on 29 shots.

Regardless, when it came to last night's 3-1 loss in Game 4, Mike Babcock didn't mince words about Toronto failing to exploit the Bruins' absence in the form of Patrice Bergeron.

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Welcome to the Battle of Pennsylvania, even if it took until the fifth game for the series to get a personality.

The Flyers found themselves back in the playoffs this year after missing the previous season. "Sure, we're disappointed that we didn't get the job done yesterday, but we still get to go play hockey for a living". At minimum, Toronto would like to see his finishing touch pay off a bit more in the postseason after the agitating center generated 32 goals in each of the past two regular seasons.

The Philadelphia Flyers face a must-win game tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brian Elliott (2.80 goals against average and.905 save percentage) has been the main option in goal for Philadelphia. Murray stopped Lehtera's shot, but a hustling Filppula beat Kris Letang to the puck and scored on the rebound, tying the game at 2-2 with 1:45 left in the second.

Matt Grzelcyk Looking Good For Game 4
The Maple Leafs have gone 20-23 on the road for the year and they have averaged 3.24 gpg and have allowed 2.87 gpg in those games. The Toronto Maples Leafs will try to even their opening round series with the Boston Bruins in Game 4 Thursday night.

Watching from the stands or on television, it might have been the most dramatic moment of Game 5.

The Penguins have an excellent supporting cast up front with Jake Guentzel, Patric Hornqvist (out for Game 4 with upper-body injury) and Carl Hagelin, and Matt Murray has proved he is a superb playoff goalie with two Stanley Cup triumphs under his belt.

On Sunday, with his team holding a 3-2 lead in the best-of- seven series, Crosby will probably spend lots of time matched against one of the Flyers' unlikely heroes in Game 5, veteran center Val Filppula.

With Elliott having given up 14 goals in four games, the Flyers turned to Michal Neuvirth as their starter for Game 5.

The Flyers' rookie defenseman who was in the top-6 nearly all season until getting injured and promptly losing his spot in only two post-injury outings, appears to finally be getting a chance come Friday night.

The under is 1-0-3 in the last four Flyers games versus the Eastern Conference. But Pittsburgh was not done and with Murray on the bench and an extra attacker on the ice, the Penguins continued to pepper Neuvirth.

The Flyers may win one more game in this series or possibly extend the series to seven games, but that's where it will come to an end because of Pittsburgh's edge in talent and experience.

The Flyers prevented Pittsburgh from winning its ninth consecutive playoff series (for the time being at least).

Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier didn't rule out a return for Friday's Game 5 against the hometown Pittsburgh Penguins. Crosby gained control of the Puck behind the Flyers net.

The Flyers seemed to get more offensive chances this game and while the defense was still struggling which allowed Pittsburgh to get some good opportunities, Neuvirth was there to make the stops when he needed to. They did. Now the series comes home and gives the Flyers a second chance - or third really - to give the home fans a show.

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