The Flyers and Penguins square off in Game 5 of their playoffs showdown with the Flyers up 3-1 in the Best-of-7 showdown but the Penguins feeling good following a 10-3 beat down Wednesday night in Philly.
Despite the Flyers holding the series lead, the Pens have the momentum heading into Friday night in Pittsburgh.
Here are questions that should be answered on the ice in Pittsburgh.
1. Will JVR play?
Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk hasn’t played in more than six weeks after breaking his foot in early March. After practicing this week he wants to play but will he in Game 5?
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette didn’t commit one way or another to JVR playing, reports CSNPhilly.com’s Sarah Baicker.
If JVR suits up either Zac Rinaldo or Eric Wellwood would be the odd man out.
2. Is Bryz ready?
The Flyers two-month-or-so long hiatus from goalie controversy ended in Game 5 with Ilya Bryzgalov getting boot after allowing five goals on 18 shots. In stepped Sergei Bobrovsky, but after he gave up five more goals on 18 shots, the puck is likely once again going to stop with Bryz.
There is one problem though -- NBC10’s Howard Eskin reported that Bryz could be dealing with a hip injury but that report was denied by general manager Paul Holmgren.
Expect Bryz to start with a shorter leash than in Game 4. Of course if both goalies stink it up again in Game 5 the door could be open for Michael Leighton -- remember him -- to return in Game 6.
3. Can the Flyers hang tough?
Part of the problem in Game 4 was that the Flyers looked like a team that felt they had the series all but wrapped up. The played sloppy and didn’t exhibit much of the toughness that got them the win -- and national headlines -- in Game 3.
The Orange and Black must set the tone early Friday night with some tough play while avoiding the penalty box -- 64 penalty minutes in Game 4 -- or it could be another long night for Flyers fans.
4. Who will step up?
One of the problems in Game 4 was that the Flyers never had a guy step up once things started to go awry late in the first period. Look for a guy like Scott Hartnell or Danny Briere to be that guy.
5. If the Pens win Game 5 will they win the series?
Let’s just hope the Flyers wrap it up in Pittsburgh Friday night.