Chris Pronger was out on the ice today at the morning skate shooting pucks and is in tonight's lineup after missing the first 4 games, and quite a bit of the regular season, with a broken hand.
This is a huge boost to Philly. Pronger has a calming effect that should keep the Flyers in the driver's seat no matter what the situation is. He will also clear the front of the net, which is the only deficiency in the Flyers' defensive game right now.
Game 5, in Philadelphia, starts at 7:30 tonight. With the series tied at 2, it's beneficial to have home ice in such a crucial game. The winner of this game will have the series' reigns in their hands.
Expect tonight to be chippy. Game 4 ended in a scrum and I expect it will start with much the same passion. The Flyers do not want to give up any territory on the ice, but also know they can't take penalties as Buffalo's powerplay has been effective this series.
Here are the projected Flyers lines:
Zherdev Richards Versteeg
Hartnell Briere Leino
JVR Giroux Powe
Holmstrom Betts Carcillo
Pronger, Carle, Mez, Coburn Kimmo, O'Donnell (Flyers had no set D pairings at morning skate)
Scratches: Carter (lower body), Shelley, Bobrovsky, Nodl (upper body)
Flyers keys to the Game:
- Powerplay- If the Flyers fail to cash in on the man advantage, they might have the same fate as Game 1 and Game 4: shutout. Getting their true PP quarterback back in Pronger will help.
- Being Consistent- The Flyers have had trouble with this all year. They play a good period of physical hockey then take a period off. They have to stick to the game plan of physical, get to the net hockey for all 60 minutes.
- Mike Richards- Richards' line, especially himself, needs to step up with Carter out and the lack of scoring. He doesn't have to supply the fancy goals, or even all the goals, but he needs to generate chances and get (and keep) the ice tilted in Philly's favor.
*with all the traveling this weekend, we won't be using zeleCHAT most likely for Game 4 or Game 5.
Let's Go Flyers!