Flyers-Penguins Game 4 Essentials; Sean Couturier Ruled Out

Updated: 6:35 p.m.

Here's everything you need to know Wednesday night for Game 4 of the Flyers-Penguins best-of-seven first-round playoff series.

Flyers vs. Penguins (Penguins lead series 2-1)
7 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia; Pregame Live at 6 p.m.

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Philadelphia Flyers

Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Flyers and their rivals in the NHL from NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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Projected lineups (without Sean Couturier, who has been ruled out)

Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Travis Konecny-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Oskar Lindblom-Valtteri Filppula-Jordan Weal
Scott Laughton-Jori Lehtera-Matt Read

Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere
Travis Sanheim-Andrew MacDonald
Brandon Manning-Radko Gudas

Brian Elliott
Petr Mrazek

Scratches: Forwards Sean Couturier (lower-body injury), Taylor Leier and Dale Weise; defensemen Robert Hagg and Johnny Oduya; goalie Michal Neuvirth (injured).

Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Dominik Simon
Carl Hagelin-Evgeni Malkin-Phil Kessel
Conor Sheary-Derick Brassard-Bryan Rust
Zach Aston-Reese-Riley Sheahan-Tom Kuhnhackl

Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang
Olli Maatta-Justin Schultz
Jamie Oleksiak-Chad Ruhwedel

Matt Murray
Casey DeSmith

Scratches: Forwards Patric Hornqvist (injured), Josh Jooris and Carter Rowney (injured); defenseman Matt Hunwick.

What to watch for …

John Boruk
Keep an eye on: 
Flyers' puck management
During Dave Hakstol's press conference prior to Game 4, the Flyers' head coach mentioned the importance of controlling and taking care of the puck, which has been abundantly lacking in their two losses. With Couturier not playing, there's even a greater emphasis in this area since the Flyers may not have their best defensive forward. Careless puck play in the defensive zone (think Couturier turnover in Game 1, Michael Raffl's in Game 3) has been the Flyers' demise and it must improve for the team to have a chance in this series.

Bold prediction: Jordan Weal will score in his first game. With Hakstol shaking up his lines, there's an opportunity for Weal, who led all Flyers with four points in his four games against Pittsburgh during the regular season. With Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist out for Game 4, Weal's line may get an opportunity against Pittsburgh's fourth line that has yielded some scoring opportunities in this series. Weal brings an element of much-needed speed in the Flyers' bottom six. He has proven to be a streaky player and Game 4 would be the ideal time to start a new streak.

Tom Dougherty
Keep an eye on: 
How Flyers respond 
Sunday's 5-1 Game 3 loss was demoralizing, sure, but the game was far closer than the score indicated. The Flyers outplayed the Penguins in the first period but couldn't crack Matt Murray. Pittsburgh struck first and the Flyers responded well. Then came the Pens' second goal. Take out the penalties and there was plenty to like about the Flyers' effort. Come out tonight with the same effort, play disciplined and don't let doubt creep in if the Pens go up, and they'll be fine.

Bold prediction: There will be a fight. The hatred between these two teams finally started to come back in Game 2. It bled into Game 3. This one will get chippy and there will be some fisticuffs.

Jordan Hall
Keep an eye on: Flyers' first line
This line will look a lot different, especially without Couturier, so let's see if some old chemistry clicks again to make up for his absence. It's absolutely vital Claude Giroux and company get going to join the Penguins' big boys this series. If the top line warms up, the confidence will trickle down.

Bold prediction: Wayne Simmonds makes his presence felt - someway, somehow. It looks like he'll join the second line and opportunity could ignite the Flyers' emotional leader. There have been times in which you don't realize Simmonds is on the ice or off it, and that's typically not the case with the power forward.

Recommended reading
• Flyers preparing to play without Couturier

• Couturier part of nasty collision at Flyers' practice

• Simmonds, Flyers must help each other

Flyers desperately need Giroux to find his form

• Hakstol's admission symbolic of Flyers' state

• Flyers play roulette too many times with Penguins' PP

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