Flyers-Penguins Game 5: Pittsburgh Poised to Finish Series & Will

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, April 19, 2018 12:30 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 19, 2018 12:30 PM UTC

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ hopes of a third straight Stanley Cup title will remain intact for at least one more round as they should finish off the rival Flyers on Friday.

Game 5: Philadelphia (1-3) at Pittsburgh (3-1)Free NHL Pick: Penguins PL (& Over)Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Three matchups on the Friday NHL Stanley Cup playoffs schedule and all could be elimination games: Winnipeg is back home with a chance to finish off Minnesota (and should), and Nashville is back home and will end Colorado’s season. The first team in the Eastern Conference with a chance to advance is Pittsburgh as the Pens return home with a 3-1 lead over the arch-rival Philadelphia Flyers. Friday’s puck drop is 7 p.m. ET from PPG Paints Arena on the NBC Sports Network.

Should the Pens prevail in this one, they will face the winner of the Washington Capitals-Columbus Blue Jackets series in the conference semifinals. I have a feeling that series will go at least six games, so Pittsburgh will have some time to rest. The Pens ousted the Capitals in the East semis in each of the past two seasons on the way to the Stanley Cup. Philly, meanwhile, hasn’t made it past the first round since 2012.

On the NHL futures odds, Pittsburgh is +275 to win the East and +650 to threepeat as Stanley Cup champion.

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Crosby Makes History

Not sure if you heard, but that Sidney Crosby guy is pretty good. In Wednesday’s 5-0 shellacking of the Flyers in Philadelphia, Crosby was the No. 1 star with a goal and assist. In the process, he passed another fair player named Mario Lemieux to take over the Penguins’ all-time playoff scoring lead Crosby with 173 points -- coming on 62 goals and 111 assists in 152 games. Lemieux had 76 goals and 96 assists for 172 points in 107 playoff games. Crosby broke the record with his second-period goal that made it 4-0. Crosby has five goals and four assists in the series, but then he always torments the Flyers.

Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin each had a goal and assist; Malkin is up to 61 goals and 162 points in 153 career playoff games. Matt Murray stopped all 26 shots for his second shutout of the series and to improve to 25-10 in his playoff career.

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With his 5-0 shutout tonight, @mattmurray_30 recorded his 25th career playoff win in 36 games played, making him the fastest NHL goalie to reach that milestone. pic.twitter.com/K7DtVdqDJI

— Penguins PR (@PensPRLady) April 19, 2018
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The Flyers lost Games 3 and 4 at home for the first time since the 1989 conference finals. They were hamstrung as it was entering Game 4 as top forward Sean Couturier sat with an undisclosed injury suffered in practice. He had 76 points during the regular season, three in these playoffs, and was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy. Nolan Patrick took his spot centering the No. 1 line next to Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Obviously, that line was held without a point. Giroux was minus-3 and has just an assist in this series.

Your guess is as good as mine as to whom is in net for Philadelphia on Friday. Brian Elliott was yanked after allowing three goals on 17 shots in Game 3 and replaced by Michal Neuvirth, who allowed two goals on 13 shots. Elliott now has a 4.74 goals-against average and .856 save percentage in this series. Wouldn’t shock me if it’s Neuvirth on Friday.

  • Flyers are 3-8 in their last 11 road games.
  • Penguins are 10-2 in their last 12 conference quarterfinals games.

Every game in this series has seen the winning team score at least five goals and been a blowout. Philadelphia is just 2-6 in its past eight in Pittsburgh, so this is an easy call: Penguins for a Friday NHL pick to advance.

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