Friday, April 22, 2011

Pronger to Play Tonight: Flyers v. Sabres Game 5

The veteran leader for the Flyers D will suit up and play for the first time in the 2011 playoffs.

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)

Buffalo Lines

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. 
I predict that the Flyers squeak out a 3-2 victory at home. The Flyers find their consistency for the most part tonight, but still struggle beating Miller. Richards plays better and gets an assist. Giroux, Briere and Zherdev get the goals. Boucher plays well enough to win, but does not get overly tested.

*with all the traveling this weekend, we won't be using zeleCHAT most likely for Game 4 or Game 5.

Let's Go Flyers!

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