The bad part about facing the Penguins without home ice advantage is playing in hostile Pittsburgh to start the series. The good side is that the Flyers get to play possibly two afternoon game at home on NBC. The series begins on Saturday in Pittsburgh, with game three, Sunday, April 19 and game six, Saturday, April 25, in Philadelphia on NBC. The rest of the games will be on VS.
Game 1 – Wednesday, April 15 @ Pittsburgh – 7:00 p.m.
Game 2 – Friday, April 17 @ Pittsburgh – 7:00 p.m.
Game 3 – Sunday, April 19 @ Philadelphia – 3:00 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday, April 21 @ Philadelphia – 7:00 p.m.
*Game 5 – Thursday, April 23 @ Pittsburgh – 7:00 p.m.
*Game 6 – Saturday, April 25 @ Philadelphia – 3:00 p.m.
*Game 7 – Monday, April 27 @ Pittsburgh – TBD
With the Flyers holding the 3-2 lead going into the final period, the visiting Rangers, with nothing to play for, scored two unanswered third-period goals, to beat the Flyers, 4-3, and drop them to the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The loss gives the Penguins home-ice advantage for the first two games of the opening round of the playoffs against the Flyers, which will begin on Wednesday.
All the Flyers needed was one point to clinch the fourth spot, but were unable to hang on due to goals by Blair Betts and Sean Avery. Philadelphia also gave up their first shorthanded goal of the season to Brandon Dubinsky, with 5:13 left in the first period. They were attempting to be the first time in three decades to go an entire season without giving up a shorty.
For most of March and all of April, it seemed as if the Flyers would be facing the Carolina Hurricanes in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The only variable being who would have home ice. Well on the last game of the season for most teams in the Eastern Conference, Pittsburgh defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 3-1, to leap frog past the losing Hurricanes into the fifth spot, directly into the warpath of the Flyers.
To win the uphill battle that would be game five, the Flyers needed big games from their big players and to come out like the season was on the line. What they got however, was a collection of listless play and a quick deficit that eventually led to embarrassing 6-0 loss, and the end the Flyers’ storybook season.
The Flyers hoped the surprise addition of Kimmo Timonen to the lineup would emotionally charge them to victory, but the Penguins had different plans. The Pens jumped to a quick 1-0 lead, 2:30 into the game, when Ryan Malone deflected a Sidney Crosby shot past a very average Marty Biron.
The Flyers’ mission to be the first team in 33 years in the NHL to come back from a 3-0 series deficit got a boost Sunday afternoon, when it was oficially declared that defensive captain Kimmo Timonen will be back in a lineup. The addition of Timonen should boost the Flyers’ confidence heading into the do-or-die affair, as well as improve special teams all around.
The same optimism can not be extended to budding star Braydon Coburn, who was officially scratched before game five, despite what was called a “very good practice” from the youngster Saturday morning.
After getting hit between the bridge of the nose and the orbital bone, causing a gash that needed 50 stiches in game three, Coburn’s eye was swollen shut for the next 72 hours, leaving him unable to play in game four. But the expectations that he would return once the swelling went down were dashed when it was hinted that Braydon was feeling some concussion symptoms, which is likely what has put him on the scratch sheet for game five.
Jaroslav Modry will be the odd man out, as Flyers coach John Stevens elected to go with 21 year old Ryan Parent, who has played respectably in his limited post season time.
Days after being diagnosed with what was expected to be a season ending blood clot in his ankle, Flyers’ number-one defenseman Kimmo Timonen, has made a quicker than expected recovery and will test the severity of his foot numbness Friday. The veteran rearguard is being reported by hockeybuzz.com as HIGHLY probably for game five.
“I’m going to skate tomorrow. I met the [Dr. Ronald Fairman] today and we took another ultrasound. Based on that, the doctor said I have a green light to give it a try,” Timonen said. “That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to skate [Friday] and see how it feels.”
The surprising news came directly off the heels of a 4-2 Flyers victory over the Penguins, a win that set momentum in the Flyers direction for the first time all series. Along with their first win in the series, the return of Braydon Coburn in game five and potential return of Timonen in the near future, may give the Flyers more then just a glimmer of hope heading forward – they might have a legitimate chance to make history.
An interesting side note also on the injury front.
During the post game analysis on Comcast, Flyers analyst Jim Jackson hinted that concussed Flyers forward Simon Gagne could begin workouts to get back into game shape. Gagne missed the majority of the season with a concussion before attempting a return only to suffer another concussion. At that point the Flyers organization pulled the plug on the 40-goal scorer’s season, allowing only a slight probability that he could return if the Flyers made it to the Stanley Cup finals.
The Philadelphia Flyers capitalized on two first-period power plays and got excellent play from goaltender Marty Biron to stay alive for one more game, defeating the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-2, to set the series at 3-1 heading back to Pittsburgh.
Seconds after Biron miraculously stopped a breakaway from Marian Hossa, Flyers’ forward Joffrey Lupul streaked into the Penguins zone and unleashed a slapshot that deflected off the defenders stick and over the left shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury to make the score 1-0, and give the Flyers the opening goal for the first time in the series.