Flyers need forwards to step up
Potential elimination game
Rob Longley, QMI Agency
|Philadelphia Flyers' Danny Briere (C) celebrates with teammates Wayne Simmonds (L) and Braydon Coburn (5) after scoring as New Jersey Devils' Steve Bernier (R) and Adam Larsson (L) skate away in Newark, New Jersey, May 3, 2012. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)
Rapidly running out of cards to play, the Flyers will have to rely on a heaping dose of desperation Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
While both Western Conference series are wrapped up, this is the first potential elimination game in the East with the Flyers trailing the mildly surprising New Jersey Devils, three games to one.
The Flyers have been drastically outplayed throughout and now must keep the series alive without their leading scorer, Claude Giroux.
Is it too much to ask for the team that entered the series as the clear favourite to battle their way back in while Giroux serves his one-game suspension for clocking Devils forward Dainius Zubrus in Game 4?
"Desperation in this game is critical and fear in your belly of getting beaten or getting embarrassed," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said when asked what he expects from the Flyers on Tuesday night. "You take Giroux out and they're going to have some of that in their gut."
Zubrus, who returned to the game after taking the shot in the head from Giroux late in the second period Sunday night, said he was fine with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan's decision, which came down on Monday.
"He did a good job of explaining his thought process and how he is looking at things," Zubrus said. "He called what he saw.
"It doesn't change anything, really. If there was no suspension it wouldn't have changed my approach or this team's approach to this game at all."
The Flyers, meanwhile, will be hoping to channel the comeback vibe from two years ago when they trailed the Bruins 3-0 in the conference semi-final before reeling off four in a row.
On the other hand, they are just 1-14 in series that they have trailed 3-1. In their history, the Devils have a 6-3 record in Game 5 of a series that they are leading 3-1.
Obviously the Flyers can't spend any more time worrying about Giroux's absence. Instead, they need other struggling forwards to step up and create some offence against a Devils defence that has stymied them so far.
"Tonight will be what we do have, not what we don't have," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.