National Hockey League playoffs: Penguins, Preds, Lightning stretch series leads to 3-1

There was no bigger goal in the game than Couturier's, but this one was a close second. In Neuvirth's first start in the series, he made 30 saves and would seem the likely starter Sunday. The same holds for the Colorado Avalanche as they host the Nashville Predators in Game 4.

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.

The OddsShark NHL Database shows that the Penguins are 8-4 in their last 12 road games during the playoffs in April.

Back in Washington for Game 5, the Flyers struggled to generate any offensive opportunities on Washington goalie Braden Holtby.

The Penguins got their first goal from Evgeni Malkin at 4:33 in the first period.

Matt Read scored an empty net goal with 17 seconds to play. He just loves the game. A second period goal by Nicklas Backstrom to the high corner of the net was his only blemish of the day as he finished with 28 saves on 29 shots.

BC-HKN-Flyers-Penguins, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 800Couturier scores late, Flyers edge Penguins to force Game 6AP Photo PAGP106, PAGP108, PAGP109, PAGP111, PAGP113, PAGP114, PAGP104, PAGP105, PAGP102Eds: Flyers 4, Penguins 2. The total has gone over in five of the Devils' last six games. That's a substantial improvement over the regular season when they allowed 31.1 shots against per game, ninth-fewest in the league. Josh Jooris' reassignment to Wilkes-Barre on Friday was a clear indication that Rowney, who has been practicing in full lately, is ready to return.

Or, play a little more like the Penguins, who have shrugged off a sometimes uneven regular season to look very much like the team that celebrated with raucous championship parades through downtown Pittsburgh each of the last two Junes.

Filppula helped set up the Flyers first goal of the game, scored by Giroux.

Watching from the stands or on television, it might have been the most dramatic moment of Game 5.

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Neuvirth was dressed as the backup for Game 4 coming off a lower body injury that prevented him from dressing since March 28th.

The Penguins have three convincing wins in this series, with the Flyers only managing a Game 2 victory.

With Elliott having given up 14 goals in four games, the Flyers turned to Michal Neuvirth as their starter for Game 5.

Well, Friday night they came out swinging and they didn't go down.

Meanwhile, the Flyers' stars - Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds - were once again silenced on the score sheet. The Penguins have a 3-1 lead over Philadelphia heading into Game 5 while the Predators have the same lead over the Colorado Avalanche. The NBA superstar is no longer concerned with winning 70-plus games.

Both teams battled hard in the third with Pittsburgh continuing to attack Neuvirth, putting scoring chances on the net. Giroux fired the puck over the glove of Matt Murray to give the Flyers a one to nothing lead with two and a half minutes left in the period. But Pittsburgh was not done and with Murray on the bench and an extra attacker on the ice, the Penguins continued to pepper Neuvirth. Forward Jake Guentzel and defenseman Kris Letang took turns filling in for Malkin with forwards Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel, and defenseman Justin Schultz, making up the rest of the unit.

The Flyers also Couturier back to center the third line just three days after teammate Radko Gudas accidentally took him out during a drill in practice that forced Couturier to watch Pittsburgh's clinical 5-0 Game 4 romp from the press box.

The Flyers are due for a home win against Pittsburgh, so why not here in a huge situation.

Though the Penguins haven't gotten the results they'd have liked in two games this series, including Friday night's Game 5 when they lost despite leading in shots and possession, the math is simply not in the Flyers' favor to repeat that strategy and win three games in a row.

  • Regina Holmes