Any time that you’re getting the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers together for a game they way they are tonight in Buffalo (7:30 p.m. ET on Versus) expect things to be highly skilled and hotly contested. Just think back to last year’s playoff series that saw these two go seven games before ultimately seeing the Flyers come out on top.
For Philly, after a horrid game against Winnipeg they’re back to feeling good about things and part of their mystery was getting Scott Hartnell to help produce some big points. Putting him on a line with Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr has proven to be a genius move for coach Peter Laviolette as that line has blown up with over 20 points their last four games.
Ultimately the game boils down to be a marquee goalie match-up with Miller going head-to-head with Bryzgalov. The Flyers wore out Miller ultimately in the playoffs last year and the Sabres are getting their first look at Bryzgalov in orange and black. If these two can steal tonight’s show, that’s about as good as it gets.
Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight
People love star athletes because they can do amazing things. Even so, people also often love to see the occasional moment of weakness.
Aside from the occasional injury hiccup, Sidney Crosby‘s been as advertised after being a super-hyped No. 1 overall pick. He has that “Golden Goal,” two Olympic gold medals, a Stanley Cup ring and plenty of individual accolades.
Not many people expected the Capitals-Penguins series to be over in five games, but there’s a chance that could happen before the end of the week. After their 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, the Capitals are one loss away from being bounced from the 2016 playoffs.
The Capitals failed to take advantage of the fact that Kris Letang was suspended for Game 4 because of his hit on Marcus Johansson in Game 3. Letang is now set to return for Game 5 which makes Washington’s task even more difficult.
“We didn’t take advantage of it,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said, per NHL.com. “One thing I said to the guys coming into this, and we talked it about it yesterday, was when Kris got his suspension, is that they’re going to rally. Their whole team, their forwards are going to come back. They talked about they didn’t play their best game (in Game 3) and now they have Letang out and everybody had to step up on their side, and I thought they did.”
If you look back at the regular season, the Capitals were head and shoulders above the rest of the Eastern Conference and the league for a good portion of the season. Washington finished 11 points ahead of second place Dallas in the league standings and it looked like they had the team that would finally take them over the hump.
Although things look gloomy, it’s important to realize that the series is far from over. Many NHLers would tell you that the fourth win is always the hardest to come by in a best-of-seven series, and by no means is anyone expecting the Capitals to wave the white flag.
“Whenever you lose a game, it’s obviously an opportunity missed, but it had nothing to do with them missing some of their players,” said Caps forward Jay Beagle, per NHL.com. “We’re looking forward. Our back’s against the wall and the most important game of our lives is coming up.”
Game 5 goes Saturday night in Washington.
PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice