Flyers vs. Devils, ECSF Game 5 preview: Last game of the season? Return of the Mesz?

MONTREAL, CANADA - DECEMBER 15: Andrej Meszaros #41 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates his game winning goal during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on December 15, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Flyers defeated the Canadiens 4-3. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

7:30 p.m., Wells Fargo Center
South Philadelphia

Game 5, Eastern Semifinals
Devils lead, 3-1
TV: NBC Sports Network, CBC
RADIO: 610 WIP
NJD BLOG
: In Lou We Trust

The last game of the season? Ugh, this could be the last game of the season.

In all honestly, there's not much room for optimism heading into tonight's Game 5 against the Devils. Claude Giroux is suspended, and New Jersey has rolled all over the Flyers in the last three games of this series. There's nothing to truly make us believe that the Flyers will be able to overcome this deficit or even win this game, if we're judging off of what we've watched in the last seven days of hockey.

Maybe they can be the comeback kids again. They've done it all year, and it would be fitting for the Flyers if they were able to make up this deficit with three straight wins. And if they pull out a win tonight, Game 6 gets mighty exciting when Giroux returns to the lineup.

We're not confident heading into this game, but that hardly matters. We're going to drive down to the WFC or head out to a bar or flip on our TV's at 7:30 anyway, even if we think the Flyers have a better shot at losing than winning. That's what being a fan is all about. Watching the game and hoping -- praying, even -- that they can somehow pull this out of their collective butts. Win a game tonight, Flyers. We don't want it to be summer just quite yet.

On the bright side (maybe?), Andrej Meszaros looks ready to return to the lineup tonight. We say maybe because reports suggest that he's hesitant to test his surgically repaired back, and well ... hesitant is the last thing we need from Flyers defensemen right now. But Meszaros is undoubtedly better at this hockey thing than Andreas Lilja and Pavel Kubina, so that's a plus.

In order to win tonight, the Flyers are really going to have to interrupt that deadly New Jersey forecheck. STOP GIVING THEM SO MUCH ROOM WITH THE PUCK, GUYS. Seriously, that's the game plan, at least on the defensive side of the ice.

Offensively, they just need a little bit of creativity. The Devils are keeping them to the outside and away from the dangerous areas of the ice, and let's hope they saw something in their tape session yesterday to help them beat that. They've been dominated at five-on-five because of this, and with Zac Rinaldo in for Giroux, it's more than likely that the special teams battle won't come easy tonight. They need even strength goals. Plain and simple.

Looks like just one change for the Devils: Ryan Carter will be back in after suffering from apparent food poisoning prior to Game 4. That means Tim Sestito will sit out after making his playoff debut in Game 4.

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