Minus Giroux, Flyers try to stay alive in Game 5 vs. Devils
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers will try to stave off elimination tonight without the help of their top offensive weapon, as they host the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The sixth-seeded Devils have recorded three straight victories in this best- of-seven series after losing Game 1 in overtime. New Jersey won Sunday's Game 4 by a 4-2 count and Flyers star forward Claude Giroux has been suspended for tonight's game for his actions in Philadelphia's latest setback.
Giroux has been suspended one game by the NHL for his hit on Devils forward Dainius Zubrus. As time was winding down in the second period, Giroux struck Zubrus in the head with his shoulder after the Devils forward had dumped the puck in the Philadelphia zone. Zubrus, who scored twice in Sunday's win, was not injured on the play.
Giroux led the fifth-seeded Flyers with 93 points in the regular season and he is pacing all NHL players this postseason with 17 points (8 goals, 9 assists) in only 10 games. However, 14 of those points came in Philadelphia's first- round win over Pittsburgh, while Giroux has managed two goals and an assist in this series against the Devils.
New Jersey will try to take advantage of Giroux's absence tonight and wrap up this series. A win this evening would give the Devils their first trip to the conference finals since winning their last Stanley Cup title in 2003.
Brodeur celebrated his 40th birthday in style on Sunday, as he led the Devils to a Game 4 victory and a 3-1 lead in this series. The future Hall of Famer allowed two goals in the first period, but blanked the Flyers over the final two frames and finished the game with 20 saves while adding an assist.
"For me, I don't take anything for granted," said Brodeur. "I really appreciate every moment, especially this series because it has been awesome for me. We're not out of the woods, it's been a good three games but the fourth one is the hardest to get."
Petr Sykora and Marek Zidlicky each posted a goal and an assist to go with Zubrus' two-goal night.
Giroux posted a goal and an assist while Scott Hartnell had the other score for the Flyers, who defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games to advance to the conference semifinals.
"They work harder and win battles," said Giroux. "It just looks like they want it more than us. It's frustrating because the whole season we've been outworking the other team and now it's the other way around."
Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was brilliant in a losing effort, allowing three goals on 42 shots.
Philadelphia posted the first two goals of the game on Sunday and is now 1-5 when scoring first in these playoffs. They are 4-0 when allowing the first goal.
The Flyers are 1-14 in their history when trailing three games to one and the only series victory was in the 2010 conference semifinals against Boston, which held a 3-0 lead in the series before losing the final four games.
Philadelphia is 3-2 at home in the playoffs after posting a 22-13-6 mark at the Wells Fargo Center during the regular season. New Jersey is 3-3 as the guest in this postseason and was 24-15-2 on the road in the 2011-12 campaign.
If the Flyers can win tonight, the Devils will host Game 6 on Thursday.
New Jersey and the Flyers have met four times previously in the Stanley Cup playoffs and each team has claimed two series. New Jersey beat Philadelphia in the 1995 and 2000 conference finals, but the Flyers have won the last two series, having ousted the Devils in five games in the opening rounds of the 2004 and 2010 postseasons.
05/08 10:55:23 ET