GAME 3 PREVIEW: FLYERS VS. PENGUINS
Dave Hakstol's Philadelphia Flyers host Mike Sullivan's Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series. Game time is 3:00 p.m. EDT. The game will be televised on NBC.
After the Penguins pummeled the Flyers
, 7-0, in Game 1 on Wednesday, the Flyers pushed back for a 5-1 victory
in Game 2 on Thursday.
Sean Couturier led the offense on this night with an even strength goal and two power play assists. The Flyers got power play tallies from Shayne Gostisbehere and rookie Nolan Patrick -- the first playoff goals of their respective careers -- as well as a Travis Konecny even strength goal off the rush. Andrew MacDonald scored an empty net goal for the final margin of victory. Ivan Provorov had two assists. Team captain Claude Giroux had one helper for his first point of the series.
Brian Elliott had a bounceback performance
in Game 2, getting better as the match moved along. He finished with 34 saves on 35 shots.
Matt Murray stopped 15 of 19 shots in a losing cause for the Penguins. Patric Hörnqvist scored the lone Pittsburgh goal, cutting a 4-0 third period deficit. Hörnqvist was also tagged with 16 penalty minutes in the game. Overall, Game 2 was much chippier than the series opener.
The Flyers went 2-for-3 on the power play in Game 2, and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. While the team does not want to put the deadly Pittsburgh power play to work that many times again, the penalty kill stepped up on Friday night.
The Flyers held an optional practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees on Saturday. There will not be a morning skate on Sunday. It is likely that the Flyers will dress the same lineup and line combinations as in Games 1 and 2.
After practice, Konecny said that the team has discussed the importance of feeding off the energy of the Wells Fargo Center -- which is certain to be rollicking from the get-go -- without getting off their games. As the old saying goes, the home crowd can take your legs or give you wings.
Giroux has yet to truly have his "A" game yet in the series through two games. A big performance from the captain and a strong game in goal from Elliott would go a long way toward a second win in the series.
The Penguins held a full practice on Saturday in preparation for Sunday afternoon's game. Letang, whose hand was cut in the collision with Giroux in Game 2 and missed much of the second period, took a maintenance day.
From a Penguins' standpoint, there is not much to change at 5-on-5. Phil Kessel has yet to get untracked in the series but both the Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin lines have have their share of dominating shifts. The power play is not yet in a rhythm, the penalty kill had tough night in Game 2, and the team has taken a few undisciplined penalties. Murray played well in both games despite his mediocre stat line in Game 2.
(subject to change, will be updated)
28 Claude Giroux - 14 Sean Couturier - 12 Michael Raffl
54 Oskar Lindblom - 19 Nolan Patrick - 93 Jakub Voracek
11 Travis Konecny - 51 Valtteri Filppula - 17 Wayne Simmonds
21 Scott Laughton - 15 Jori Lehterä - 24 Matt Read
9 Ivan Provorov - 53 Shayne Gostisbehere
47 Andrew MacDonald - 6 Travis Sanheim
23 Brandon Manning - 3 Radko Gudas
37 Brian Elliott
[34 Petr Mrazek]
Scratches: 20 Taylor Leier (healthy), 22 Dale Weise (healthy), 8 Robert Hägg (healthy), 29 Johnny Oduya (healthy), 40 Jordan Weal (healthy), 30 Michal Neuvirth (lower body).
59 Jake Guentzel - 87 Sidney Crosby - 17 Bryan Rust
62 Carl Hagelin - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 72 Patric Hornqvist
43 Conor Sheary - 19 Derick Brassard - 81 Phil Kessel
34 Tom Kuhnhackl - 15 Riley Sheahan - 46 Zach Aston-Reese
8 Brian Dumolin - 58 Kris Letang
3 Olli Määttä - 4 Justin Schultz
2 Chad Ruhwedel - 6 Jamie Oleksiak
30 Matt Murray
[1 Casey DeSmith]
Scratches: 22 Matt Hunwick (healthy), 12 Dominik Simon (healthy), 16 Josh Jooris (healthy), 37 Carter Rowney (day-to-day, upper body).