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Flyers Playoff Gameday: ECSF Game 2 vs. Devils

May 1, 2012, 7:06 AM ET [1266 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
UPDATE 11 AM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk will miss tonight's game with a lower body injury, suspected to be a groin pull. Also, highly touted defenseman Adam Larsson, who has been a healthy scratch in each of New Jersey's first eight playoffs games, is expected to make his playoff debut tonight.


PREVIEW 6:45 AM EDT

Looking to take a two games to none lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinal series, the Philadelphia Flyers return to action tonight against the New Jersey Devils. Tonight's game start at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast nationally in the U.S. on NBCSN and across Canada on CBC.

On Sunday, the Flyers rode two Danny Briere goals and single tallies by James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux to a 4-3 overtime win in Game 1. New Jersey got goals from Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Petr Sykora.

The Devils dominated the first period of Game 1. Thereafter, the Flyers took over the game for the remaining 44-plus minutes of regulation and overtime. Ilya Bryzgalov was outstanding early as he limited the early damage to one goal. Later, he struggled on a pair of questionable goals in the second and third periods.

For New Jersey, Martin Brodeur had a good -- but not great -- performance on Sunday. He cost himself a goal (van Riemsdyk's) on a bad turnover and his second-shot recovery ability looked suspect at times. But the future Hall of Famer also made numerous vintage saves and cleared many dumped-in pucks to safety early in the game.

As Sunday's game progressed, the Devils appeared to run out of gas. They were unable to contain the Philadelphia forecheck from holding the puck in the offensive zone or prevent the Flyers from carrying the puck with speed over the blueline.

Was it simply a matter of a rested Philly team taking advantage of a tired New Jersey team that was about 60 hours removed from a double-overtime Game 7? Or will the Flyers' depth be able to wear down the Devils as each game progresses? We will start to learn the answer tonight.

In Game 2, the Flyers will try to get everything in synch at the same time -- offense, defense and goaltending. All of the elements were in place at different phases of Game 1, but were never put together simultaneously.

The Flyers converted only one of six power play opportunities on Sunday. However, the team moved the puck well on five of the chances (and got booed by the home crowd on the one where they couldn't get set up) against the NHL's number one ranked regular season penalty kill. New Jersey scored on one of three of their own power play chances.

Devils' superstar forward Ilya Kovalchuk is widely rumored to be playing through a groin pull. He was ineffective in Game 1 and did not practice yesterday. Likewise, shutdown defenseman Anton Volchenkov is believed to be dealing with a similar injury.


PROJECTED LINEUPS (subject to change)

FLYERS

Hartnell - Giroux - Jagr
JVR - Briere - Voracek
Talbot - Couturier - Wellwood
Read - Schenn - Simmonds

Carle - Timonen
Grossmann - Coburn
Lilja - Gustafsson

Bryzgalov
[Bobrovsky]


DEVILS

Ponikarovsky - Zajac - Kovalchuk
Parise - Elias - Zubrus
Sykora - Henrique - Clarkson
Carter - Gionta - Bernier

Harrold - Volchenkov
Zidlicky - Salvador
Greene - Fayne

Brodeur
[Hedberg]

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