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Flyers down Penguins on road to force Game 6

22 April 2018

You could see it, and it was certainly understandable. He's hurting, but it's the playoffs.

Saskatoon's Chandler Stephenson, who played throughout the Washington Capitals lineup during the regular season, was skating on the left side of the second forward unit during Thursday's morning skate. The Flyers did trail the Pens 2-1 but scored the final three goals of the game and it was Sean Couturier, who scored the game-winner with just 1:15 left in the game.

Philadelphia got a boost from a returning player Friday. Couturier, while clearly not 100 percent, rose to the occasion, and it is the reason that the series is heading home.

It proved to be the right decision. "It's got to be our best game".

Mario Lemieux had one question for Sidney Crosby after the Pittsburgh star slipped past his boss as the Penguins' career playoff scoring leader during a Game 4 romp over Philadelphia.

Couturier's long shot found its way past Murray and sent the Flyers' bench jumping to its feet.

Everyone, that is, expect Ivan Provorov. The brawl resulted in 62 penalty minutes, with Craig Adams and Scott Hartnell dropping the gloves and four players were given game misconducts.

Filppula did some hard work behind the net and Voracek relayed the puck to Giroux at the right hash marks for a shot past Murray at 17:29.

But it was Crosby, who would go on to win the Calder Trophy with a 102-point rookie season, who had the last laugh, beating Flyer's netminder Antero Niittymaki in overtime on a breakaway for his second goal of the game. He added a second assist on Matt Read's empty-net goal in the closing seconds.

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He went to the dressing room but returned for the second period, playing sparingly.

Even without one of their top forwards, the Penguins didn't miss a beat on Wednesday in Game 4. Everything was going Pittsburgh's way. They took the lead on a weak goal. "We just felt that Neuvy has looked sharp in practice". Knowing that, they came out and had arguably their best start of the series. "It's a fun time of year to get to play", Murray said.

With Pittsburgh on their fourth power play of the game, Valtteri Filppula picked up the puck and skated up the ice. "We didn't give up a whole lot of chances, especially in the third period, and one of them ended up in our net".

Can the Flyers match it and force and anything-can-happen Game 7? Locked in a duel with Pekka Rinne with his team facing elimination, the Hamburglar stopped 44 of Nashville's 45 shots to steal a 2-1 Avalanche win and stave off elimination. If Neuvirth can at least give the Flyers a chance on Sunday, there is a real chance this series could go seven and the Flyers might just have a chance to steal this series.

Much is made of Pittsburgh's offense when it is rolling, but the back end has been solid as well and 23-year-old goaltender Matt Murray has been in good form three of the four games. No one really gave them a chance in Game 5. In addition to being a feisty 0-0 game, there have been only three penalties. There was physicality. There were plenty of extra-curriculars. There was that sense of a heated rivalry and a competitive series, something that was lacking in the first four games.

Coach Dave Hakstol was pleased with the Flyers' defensive pairs' play on Friday, "but I think we can all raise the level a little bit, and honestly we're going to have to do that to push this to a seventh game".

So Sunday brings Game 6 of the series to Philadelphia. After the hit, the two teams went to war, with Deryk Engelland and Wayne Simmonds dropping the gloves and the teams combining for over 40 minutes of penalty time in the final 1:03.

Crosby scored in the second period for a 4-0 lead and passed Pittsburgh owner and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux for most playoff points with 173. It was Filppula's first goal in his last 14 games, including the regular season.

In the third, the shot attempts were very close.

Flyers down Penguins on road to force Game 6