NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, May 8th
(All times Eastern)
(6) New Jersey Devils (3-1) at (5) Philadelphia Flyers (1-3), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers will try to stave off elimination
tonight without the help of their top offensive weapon, as they host the New
Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The sixth-seeded Devils have recorded three straight victories in this best-
of-seven series after losing Game 1 in overtime. New Jersey won Sunday's Game
4 by a 4-2 count and Flyers star forward Claude Giroux has been suspended for
tonight's game for his actions in Philadelphia's latest setback.
Giroux has been suspended one game by the NHL for his hit on Devils forward
Dainius Zubrus. As time was winding down in the second period, Giroux struck
Zubrus in the head with his shoulder after the Devils forward had dumped the
puck in the Philadelphia zone. Zubrus, who scored twice in Sunday's win, was
not injured on the play.
Giroux led the fifth-seeded Flyers with 93 points in the regular season and he
is pacing all NHL players this postseason with 17 points (8 goals, 9 assists)
in only 10 games. However, 14 of those points came in Philadelphia's first-
round win over Pittsburgh, while Giroux has managed two goals and an assist in
this series against the Devils.
New Jersey will try to take advantage of Giroux's absence tonight and wrap up
this series. A win this evening would give the Devils their first trip to the
conference finals since winning their last Stanley Cup title in 2003.
Brodeur celebrated his 40th birthday in style on Sunday, as he led the Devils
to a Game 4 victory and a 3-1 lead in this series. The future Hall of Famer
allowed two goals in the first period, but blanked the Flyers over the final
two frames and finished the game with 20 saves while adding an assist.
"For me, I don't take anything for granted," said Brodeur. "I really
appreciate every moment, especially this series because it has been awesome
for me. We're not out of the woods, it's been a good three games but the
fourth one is the hardest to get."
Petr Sykora and Marek Zidlicky each posted a goal and an assist to go with
Zubrus' two-goal night.
Giroux posted a goal and an assist while Scott Hartnell had the other score
for the Flyers, who defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games to advance
to the conference semifinals.
"They work harder and win battles," said Giroux. "It just looks like they want
it more than us. It's frustrating because the whole season we've been
outworking the other team and now it's the other way around."
Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was brilliant in a losing effort, allowing
three goals on 42 shots.
Philadelphia posted the first two goals of the game on Sunday and is now 1-5
when scoring first in these playoffs. They are 4-0 when allowing the first
The Flyers are 1-14 in their history when trailing three games to one and the
only series victory was in the 2010 conference semifinals against Boston,
which held a 3-0 lead in the series before losing the final four games.
Philadelphia is 3-2 at home in the playoffs after posting a 22-13-6 mark at
the Wells Fargo Center during the regular season. New Jersey is 3-3 as the
guest in this postseason and was 24-15-2 on the road in the 2011-12 campaign.
If the Flyers can win tonight, the Devils will host Game 6 on Thursday.
New Jersey and the Flyers have met four times previously in the Stanley Cup
playoffs and each team has claimed two series. New Jersey beat Philadelphia in
the 1995 and 2000 conference finals, but the Flyers have won the last two
series, having ousted the Devils in five games in the opening rounds of the
2004 and 2010 postseasons.
05/08 10:50:42 ET