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ECQF Game 5: Finish them

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Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 5
#7 Philadelphia Flyers at #2 New Jersey Devils
Flyers lead series, 3-1
Prudential Center - 7:00 PM ET - Newark, NJ
TV: CSN Philly HD, MSG Plus, TSN, RIS -- no national TV in USA
Radio: 610 WIP (internet stream here), XM 205, SIRIUS 220
Get the New Jersey perspective at In Lou We Trust

PR ALERT! I'll be on WCWP 88.1 (college radio at Long Island University's C.W. POST campus) tonight at 6:15 ET to discuss Flyers-Devils. Tune in if you're in Port Washington, NY! Or: listen by clicking here.

Ilya Kovalchuk has guaranteed a win for the New Jersey Devils tonight. You don't want this bum to be right, do you, Flyers? No, the Flyers can just about guarantee that tonight will be Kovalchuk's last game as a Devil (barring him signing with the team as a free agent, but whatever), and that's really the highly preferred outcome here. At the very least, we can force number 17 to answer those questions while cleaning out his locker on Friday, and we all want to see that, don't we?

Yes, yes we do. And so do the Flyers. A Game 6 would not be good for several reasons. Yes, Philadelphia has three more chances to close this thing out, and two more should they lose tonight, including one at home where the Devils have been completely inept. But I go by the logic that, if you're playing a Game 6, it's anybody's series:  you're a bounce away from a do-or-die seventh game.

The Flyers need to end any of the Devils' hopes early. They need to come out and go ballistic on New Jersey. Silence whatever crowd they may have -- and considering I have a ticket for 55 bucks after service charges tonight, it should be interesting to see this crowd -- right off the bat, and spend all the time you can in the Devils end.

The Flyers will dress Ville Leino tonight, and for a guy who was inserted into the Wings lineup during the playoffs last year due to injury, it's kind of like deja vu. Hopefully he can harness some magic and bring back some of the chemistry he had with Danny Briere earlier in the year. The area of concern would have to be David Laliberte, who you remember had an impressive stint with the Flyers earlier in the year.

We don't need Laliberte to score tonight, but the real concern is making a rookie mistake on such a large stage. Let's just hope for a quiet, mistake free game out of him.

The other concern is still, of course, the penalties. A lot will depend on how the officials call the game tonight, but the Flyers can't continue to gamble with the penalty kill. You can't expect them to stop every Devils power play, right?

We'll have the game thread open tonight at 6 PM, just ahead of the 7 PM puck drop. Let's go Flyers. Put the Devils out of their misery tonight.