The only one who could love that face.
7:30 p.m. CONSOL Energy Center
Game 5, Eastern Quarterfinals
Flyers lead series, 3-1
TV: CSN Philly, NBCSN, TSN, RDS, ROOT
RADIO: 94 WIP
PENS BLOG: PensBurgh
The Pittsburgh Penguins have all the confidence and all the momentum heading into Game 5 tonight. That's what happens when you beat a team 10-3 in the playoffs, regardless of how far down you are in the series when that happens. But think about it: The Flyers had all the confidence and momentum heading into Game 4 and it didn't mean a damn thing.
That's to say that, well, confidence and momentum can change in an instant, and it doesn't even necessarily carry over period-to-period, let alone game-to-game.
The Flyers can end Pittsburgh's season tonight. They can do it in an arena in which they've lost one game in eight all-time chances, and they can do it against a team they've defeated seven times in 10 chances this year.
We're all hoping for a calm game tonight. Three of the four games so far in this series have been absolutely crazy and lacking any semblance of defense, but after the 10-3 spanking on Wednesday, the Flyers seem to be focused on playing a strong defensive game across the board.
They'll be without Nicklas Grossmann tonight, and it looks as though Erik Gustafsson will replace him. That's a drop off, but some adversity here might help the Flyers focus and tighten up on D a bit.
Up front, it's unclear whether or not James van Riemsdyk will play tonight. According to an NHL.com report, van Riemsdyk didn't participate in an optional skate this morning, but his gear was hanging in his locker, which would be an indication that he's ready to go. Zac Rinaldo would almost certainly be the one to come out of the lineup should JvR play tonight, and given his antics in Game 4, that seems like a good thing.
In goal, it does look like Ilya Bryzgalov will be in goal despite the Howard Eskin report last night that claimed he had a hip injury. Eskin is almost always right with Flyers injury news, but it doesn't look like that was the case this time. Sergei Bobrovsky will backup Bryzgalov.
In Pittsburgh, here's the lineup that took the ice for the morning skate, according to the team:
Cooke - Staal - Kennedy
Kunitz - Malkin - Neal
Sullivan - Crosby - Dupuis
Tangradi - Adams - Park
Eight defensemen rotated in during the skate: Kris Letang, Zbynek Michalek, Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, Deryk Engelland, Simon Despres, Ben Lovejoy and Brian Strait. If Wednesday's game is any indication, Lovejoy will sit and the Pens will roll with Strait or Despres as a seventh defenseman. But that's something we won't know until game time. It's definitely possible Pittsburgh goes back to six defensemen now that Adams and Neal are off suspension.
The Flyers gave Pittsburgh hope on Wednesday. The building will be loud tonight, but the Flyers have been a great road team all year. They know how to shut down a raucous atmosphere in systematic fashion, and we should expect them to do just that tonight. Time to yank that hope away, boys.