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APR - 28
4:02 p.m.

The Flyers will finally take to the ice and continue their quest for the Cup on Sunday afternoon, just over a full week after eliminating the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Following five full days of skating at their practice rink in Voorhees, NJ the feeling around the locker room among the players and coaches was clear. They're ready.

"It's exciting. It even felt a little bit more like a pre-game skate today and that's a good sign that a game is right around the corner," said Danny Briere.

When last we left off, the Flyers were coming off a six-game series in which they recorded an NHL-best 30 goals, including 12 on the power play, three shorthanded, and an average of five goals per game.

Claude Giroux capped Game Six off with a three-point effort and series with 14 points to lead all players in the NHL.

A week later and seven games with 14 teams later, Giroux still leads the NHL with his 14 points and the Flyers still lead all of the NHL's goals scored categories.

All of that changes in less than 24 hours as the Flyers will start anew, but start nonetheless.

"You get that itch to start playing again and it's never fun to wait too long," said James van Riemsdyk. "I definitely think we were able to recover a little bit and feel good coming into the series so we're excited for tomorrow."

Although the Flyers do admit this will be very much a different series than the previous one, they don't expect their game to change in the slightest.

"We don't change our plans too much based on the opposition," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. "[We'll make] minor tweaks and stuff like that but it's not like we're going to change an identity of who we are - it's pretty much set in stone of the Philadelphia Flyers."

After dispatching and getting through a proven Stanley Cup winning goaltender and two-time 40-game winner, the Flyers will now take on another goaltender with an even more impressive resume.

"He's obviously going to be a Hall of Famer and he's an unbeleiveable goalie," said van Riemsdyk of Martin Brodeur.

Although Brodeur is reaching the 40-years of age mark, the Flyers know all too well that Brodeur is every bit of a game changer than he's ever been. Evidence of that is clear given the series he just finished. He posted a 2.06 goals-against-average, .922 save percentage and held his ground in a double overtime Game Seven victory in Florida on Thursday.

"If you look at his numbers right now he's a good goalie and he's been a good goalie his whole career," said Laviolette. "You have to give [Brodeur] a tremendous amount of credit, he's one of the greats of the game, so we have our work cut out for us."

That round also included him breaking an NHL playoff record with his 24th shutout and becoming just the second goaltender to reach 100 Stanley Cup Playoff victories.

And by the way, Brodeur's 103 playoffs wins are the most by any active goaltender playing in the NHL by 60 wins.

The next goalie on that list with 43 wins? Marc-Andre Fleury.

And just like Fleury, the Flyers will put all feeling aside in the series and do their best to come out on top and get one step closer to the Stanley Cup.

"I think any time you get on the ice it doesn't matter who you're playing against. You kind of throw that out the window," added van Riemsdyk. "It's obviously a cool thing but at the same time you have to do your job. I'll be doing my job and he'll be doing his."

APR - 27
12:18 a.m.

Let the battle of the Turnpike begin.

The Flyers finally know their opponent for the Eastern Conference Semifinals and it will be yet another Atlantic Division rival as they will face the New Jersey Devils in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The No. 5-seeded Flyers will also host the No. 6-seeded Devils in Games One and Two at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Devils defeated the Florida Panthers, 3-2, in double overtime of their Game Seven on Thursday night, while the New York Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators in their Game Seven earlier. The No. 1-seeded Rangers will face off against the No. 7-seeded Washington Capitals.

The Flyers and Devils will meet for the fifth time in their history, excluding a preliminary round in 1978 when they were the Colorado Rockies. They have also won their last two playoff meetings with the Devils with their last meeting coming in the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal in which the Flyers won 4 games to 1 en route to the Stanley Cup Final.

In the four previous postseason meetings, the two teams split, each with a 2-2 record.

1995 Conference Finals - DEVILS win 4 games to 2
2000 Conference Finals - DEVILS win 4 games to 3
2004 Conference Quarterfinals - FLYERS win 4 games to 1
2010 Conference Quarterfinals - FLYERS win 4 games to 3

This season, the Flyers owned a record of 3-2-1 against the Devils with the Flyers taking the last meeting by virtue of a 3-0 shutout.

Below is a list of schedule & results of the season series:

Oct. 8 (W): FLYERS 3, DEVILS 0
Nov. 3 (L): DEVILS 4, FLYERS 3 (SO)
Jan. 21 (W): FLYERS 4, DEVILS 1
Feb. 4 (L): DEVILS 6, FLYERS 4
Mar. 11 (L): DEVILS 4, FLYERS 1
Mar. 13 (W): FLYERS 3, DEVILS 0

The most successful player on either of the teams was Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. He won all three starts against the Devils in the regular season and in four overall appearances, Bryzgalov allowed just one goal on 76 shots, posting a 0.29 goals-against average and .987 save percentage, which included two shutouts.

In the six-game season series, the Flyers were also led by Claude Giroux, who had four goals and seven points.

Ilya Kovalchuk was the Devils leading scorer with 37 goals and 83 points during the regular season and led New Jersey against the Flyers in the season series with eight points (2G-6A) in six games.

APR - 25
5:18 p.m.

For the second day in-a-row the Flyers took to the ice, nowhere closer to knowing who they would be matched up against for their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

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Thanks to last night's overtime win by the Devils over the Florida Panthers, all three of the remaining teams in the East (and entire NHL for that matter) are heading to a Game Seven.

So for the second straight day, the Flyers had their skating legs on. Working on full-ice 3-on-3 scrimmages and figure-eight conditioning drills around the nets pulled in just above the hash-marks.

"Right now we just try to keep a good flow, good high-intensity and speed," said Sean Couturier. "Within the next couple days as we find out who we're going to play I'm sure we'll change tactics and strategy on what to practice."

The Flyers won't take to the ice for game action until Saturday at the earliest, but the other teams will be coming in game ready after a seven game series. The challenge for the Flyers might just be getting up to that level again after nearly a week off.

"You just have to keep your mind sharp and that's the whole point of practicing everyday," said Wayne Simmonds. "We're having hard practices to keep the legs fresh so when we get to that first game we'll be ready."

As Laviolette would say, the situation is irrelevant, because ultimately the Flyers don't have a choice in the matter.

"We do the only thing we can right now, which is workout, stay in shape and prepare. Even though we can't prepare for an opponent we can do things on the ice to work on our game, our speed, and bodies get to heal a little bit so there are things we can do to be better."

Two of those bodies are a pair of defensemen in Nicklas Grossmann and Andrej Meszaros. Both players took to the ice today and skated with the team in no-contact jerseys.

There is no specific timetable for either of their return to the lineup.

What is specific is a pair of scenarios that tonight's Game Seven in Boston will yield.

IF … The Bruins win, then the Flyers will definitely NOT play the Ottawa Senators, should they win their Game Seven on Thursday night.

IF … the Capitals emerge victoriously, then the Flyers will definitely NOT face the New York Rangers, should they defeat Ottawa on Thursday.

Beyond that it's anybody's guess.

APR - 24
5:19 p.m.

Following a complete day off from the rink and practice, the Flyers got back to business today with a full hour-long practice, plus a dry-land workout session today at the Skatezone in Voorhees.

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This being the media's first chance to talk to many, if not all, of the players since wrapping up their Quarterfinal series against the Penguins, the big question floating around the room today was, who are the Flyers next opponent and who do they perhaps want that to be?

"I think we'll do a lot of game-watching tonight and tomorrow and I can't wait to see who we're going to play," said Claude Giroux. "It's not going to change our plan or change the way we play… we just have to be patient to see who we're going to play."

While the playoff picture is set and ready to go in the Western Conference with the #8 LA Kings facing off against the #2 St. Louis Blues and #3 Phoenix Coyotes facing #4 Nashville Predators, the East is no where close to being resolved.

Three remaining series have yet to be decided, with two of them (Rangers-Senators & Bruins-Capitals) going to a Game Seven. The other will happen tonight as the #3-seeded Florida Panthers will have a chance to eliminate the #6-seeded NJ Devils in Game Six at New Jersey.

Whatever the case, the Flyers won't know for sure until Thursday's Game Sevens are played out.

Now that's not to say they're complaining about having a lengthy delay between playoff series.

The Flyers finished the regular season with four games in seven days, then three days later played every other day though most of their series vs. Pittsburgh.

Most players, including head coach Laviolette, welcome the break.

"We have a clear head for two or three games," said Jakub Voracek. "It'll be decided on Thursday and we'll get two quick practices in to prepare for that team."

Max Talbot, who is coming off an emotional series playing his former team and has been through long post-season stretches also is enjoying this time off.

"I take it as a real positive," said Talbot. "It's playoffs so obviously some guys are playing with some small injuries and bruises here and there. It's good to get some rest, refocus, refuel so I really don't mind that break. Momentum in the playoffs doesn't really carry from game to game in the playoffs so I don't think it carries from series to series."

What the Flyers can control are their practice habits, and according to Laviolette, it was good to get back at it.

"The biggest thing now with time off is just to make sure we stay moving out on the ice. You plan for a long-haul, until mid-June, so I think it's real important to keep the guys out there and moving. We didn't want them to think too much about systems today, but more about getting them up and down the ice."

So the Flyers will play the waiting game for now, something that they pretty much would have done anyway.

"It's pretty fun watching the playoffs," added Giroux. "Since I was a kid I never really missed any of the games."

What this break will allow for is the Flyers injured players to get that much closer to returning.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced no change in the status of defensemen Nicklas Grossmann, who has been sidelined since Game Four on Apr. 18 due to an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Andrej Meszaros took an important step, or stride if you will, in getting back into the Flyers lineup.

He participated in the Flyers practice session today. His status has not changed from when he was originally declared out 6-8 weeks from the time of his surgery, which came back on Mar. 21, placing his return at the earliest on Apr. 30 or as late as May 14.

"[I was] really encouraged. He's a big part of our team. Any time you get a player back and starts practicing, I think that's a positive, said Laviolette."

Meszaros is recovering from surgery that removed a disc fragment that was impinging on a nerve root.

APR - 21
3:43 p.m.

The Flyers-Penguins Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series has certainly gone though it's share of storylines, at the center of which has been the super-powered offense that each team has displayed.

But after four games that saw a brand of hockey not normally seen in the playoffs, with the exception perhaps being Game One's overtime thriller, last night's game saw a complete 180 turn in many of those storylines.

Consider some of the facts.

The team that has gone on to score the first goal in the game has lost ALL five games of the series. In the beginning it was the Flyers who were dominated early on. Their slow starts would put them behind and force them to play catch up through the final 40-plus minutes. The Flyers won Games One and Two having caught the Penguins.

In the two most recent games, the Flyers have jumped out to early leads and ended up dropping those contests.

Last night's game also saw something the series hasn't seen yet - A scoreless period.

Throughout the series at least one goal had been put in the net in 15 consecutive periods (counting overtime in Game One). The third period saw a total of 22 shots hit the net, 14 of which came from the Flyers, but none found the back of the net.

"Certainly the last 12 or 10 minutes of that period I thought we were really good. We we're strong in the offensive zone and we were pressing," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. "Last night there were a lot of positives, but positive's don't cut it. We have to find a win."

The game also saw a series low of five total goals scored, and for the first time, a goal was NOT scored in the game's first 10 minutes of play. In fact, in each of the first four games at least TWO goals were scored in the opening 10 minutes of the game.

What Game Five did feature that has been constant throughout the series is the incredible success rate of special teams.

The Flyers recorded both of their goals on the power-play, going 2-for-5 and increasing their playoff total to a staggering 55 percent through five games (11-for-20)… Their 11 goals ties a franchise record for most power-play goals in a playoff series and are more than 10 of the 16 teams in the playoffs total goal output in their respective series.

Whatever the trends may be, the Flyers are focused on just one thing, playing a full 60 minutes. They are confident that, plus the fired up crowd at the Wells Fargo Center for Game Six, will help them close out the series and advance to the Semifinals for the second straight year.

"We get fired up when we [hear] God Bless America, warming up in front of our fans [and] the sea of orange. Just everything about playing at home gives you an extra boost," said Scott Hartnell. "We're definitely going to need the fans to be a hundred percent in our corner, and no matter what happens to cheer for us right until the end and you believe that we're gonna win."

Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk appeared in his first game in 50 days in last night's Game Five. A day later JVR is feeling good and notes that his first taste of playoff action has him motivated for more.

"Obviously it wasn't the result we wanted, but for me personally it was exciting to get in that atmosphere and you really miss it when you're not playing," said van Riemsdyk. "Hopefully I can build off of that and be better the next game."

Despite having only appeared in just 7:31 of ice-time in the game, and only one minute in the first period, Laviolette made it clear that it was a part of easing him into game action and due to the circumstances of the game, it was through no fault of his own.

"JVR was good. We tried to ease him in," added Laviolette. "There were quite a lot of penalties off the bat. There were situational plays that came up and if you don't factor into that it's difficult to get into a roll right away. We used him a little bit more in the third period and I thought he got into it and got going."

With only seven to eight players taking to the ice today for practice, one of them was injured defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, who was listed yesterday as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Grossmann suffered the injury in Game Four, and throughout the series has been a key contributor in the shot-blocking department with 12 blocks through the first four games to lead the Flyers, along with Andreas Lilja.

"This is the time of season where you need those big guys that can hit, that can play physical, block shots," said Hartnell. "When you have a six-foot-four guy knocking guys out down in front of the net, boxing guys out so Bryz can see the shots. Things like that. It's important."

APR - 20
7:21 p.m.

Forward James van Riemsdyk enters the lineup for tonight's Game 5 at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

Flyers rookie Erik Gustafsson also enters the lineup for injured defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Van Riemsdyk will see his first game action since Mar. 1 after missing the final 19 games of the regular season and first four games of the series against the Penguins while recovering from surgery on his left foot.

He finished the season with 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points and 24 penalty minutes through 43 games.

The 22-year-old van Riemsdyk also missed 15 games, from Jan. 14 to Feb. 16, due to a concussion and a total of 39 regular season games due to injury in 2011-12.

Grossmann misses his first game of these playoffs. He had one assist and averaged 17:53 of ice-time in the first four games, however after the first three games of the series, he had averaged over 20 minutes of time-on-ice per game (20:53).

Gustafsson recorded a goal and four assists for five points to go along with a plus-minus rating of +12 in 30 games with the Flyers this season.

He was one of nine players on the Phantoms who were recalled by the Flyers on Tuesday, Apr. 17.

APR - 19
5:14 p.m.

Just one game. That's the Flyers focus, and in many cases for two reasons.

Last night's loss was in fact just one game and the Flyers still have a stranglehold on the series with a 3 games to 1 lead.

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On the other hand, the Flyers know that they need one more victory to close out their series vs. Penguins and their focus is solely on Friday and nothing else.

The Flyers knew last night that the tables were turned.

The Penguins overcame a deficit, albeit just an 0-1 and 2-3 hole, but never-the-less a deficit, and went on to capitalize on key power-plays from bad penalties by the Flyers, recording eight unanswered goals and running away with a lop-sided victory.

However the sentiment among the Flyers is that just as quickly as the game got out of hand in Game Four, things can turn back around just as quick in tomorrow's Game Five.

"If you look at Games Three and Four, they're exact opposite for both clubs," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. "Why didn't their [Penguins] Game Three resemble Game Four? They turned up their desperation level and  they were quicker, executed better and they won a hockey game. Our thought is to get back on track as to how we play games and how we can get better at it."

And that track that the Flyers were on is a pretty good one. After all they still own a commanding 3 games to 1 series lead, with proven ability to score in all situations, as was the case in Game Three, and shut the door in close third periods, as was the case in Game Two.

"The great thing is that we're up 3-1 in the series; we've put ourselves in a good position. We had a bad day yesterday and we didn't come prepared to play the same way they did," said Danny Briere. "It's time to fix that and get back to playing the way we did in the first three games of the series."

The Flyers have averaged over five goals per-game so far in the series, recording 23 goals already, compared to the Penguins 22. The two teams combined are averaging 11.25 goals per game in the series, which is an all-time NHL record through the first four games of a playoff series.

That's a stat that would seem even stranger if it weren't for the fact that the Penguins were the NHL's regular season leader in goals-scored (273) at an average of 3.33 goals per game and the Flyers ranking directly behind them in the No. 2 spot with 260 goals-scored for an average of 3.17 per-game.

With the series shifting back to Pittsburgh for Friday night's Game Five, the Flyers will look to close out the series in a very familiar territory and situation. They won the first two games at the CONSOL Energy Center and have gone a combined 7-1 all-time in the Penguins new arena.

If that wasn't enough to build confidence, then let's not forget the Flyers were the NHL's road warriors during the regular season, posting a league-best .646 winning percentage and 25 wins on the road, going 25-13-3.

"I think we weren't moving our feet and weren't doing what was successful in the first couple games," said Scott Hartnell. "We know we have a lot of confidence going into that building and we're able to steal another one and close out the series. We know it's not going to be easy and they're not going to roll over and die."

Wednesday's loss dropped the Flyers record in games which they can eliminate an opponent to 30-36 all-time, however they own a 34-23 record in Game Five's and a 14-7 record in Game Five situations when they can end a series.

Puck drop is 7:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet

APR - 18
11:34 p.m.

Following their Game Four loss to the Penguins on Wednesday, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren gave an injury report on defenseman Nicklas Grossmann.

Holmgren announced that Grossmann suffered an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Grossmann appeared in just 8:54 of ice time and a total of 13 shifts in Game Four. During the first three games of the series he averaged 20:53 of time-on-ice, recording one assist in the playoffs thus far.

Prior to the playoffs, Grossmann missed the final three games of the regular season due to a lower-body injury he suffered in the Apr. 1 Flyers-Penguins game.

He finished the regular season with six assists and a plus-five rating in 22 games for the Flyers since being acquired around the NHL's trade deadline from the Dallas Stars, averaging close to 19 minutes of ice-time per-game.

APR - 17
10:54 p.m.

More than 48 hours after the Flyers-Penguins Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, the NHL officially handed out suspensions to two additional Pittsburgh Penguins players.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal has been suspended for ONE game for charging Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux during Game Three Sunday in Philadelphia. The incident occurred at 15:18 of the third period. Neal was assessed a minor penalty for charging and a game misconduct.


In addition, Penguins forward Arron Asham has been suspended for FOUR games for his match penalty for cross-checking Flyers forward Brayden Schenn during
Game Three Sunday in Philadelphia. The incident occurred at 14:15 of the first period. Asham was assessed a match penalty for attempt to injure.


APR. 16
6:32 p.m.

After a total of 158 penalty minutes handed out in Sunday's Game Three. A portion of the aftermath came down today on the Penguins. Per the National Hockey League's
Department of Player Safety:

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Craig Adams has been suspended for one game and Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma has been fined $10,000 for Adams’ actions in the final five minutes of Sunday’s game.

Adams instigated a fight at 15:18 of the third period. He was assessed a minor penalty for instigating, a major penalty for fighting and
a game misconduct.

Both Adams’ suspension and Bylsma’s fine are automatic for violation of NHL Rule 46.12 – Instigator in Final Five Minutes of Regulation Time (or Anytime in Overtime), and as outlined by NHL Rule 46.22.

APR - 14
4:59 p.m.

While the Flyers are enjoying being back in Philadelphia to take on the Penguins for Game Three on Sunday, they certainly aren't immune to the injury bug that the latter part of the season has on most NHL teams.

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They are currently playing without the services of defensemen Andrej Meszaros (back), Marc-Andre Bourdon (upper-body) and captain Chris Pronger (concussion).

Another player currently on the shelf is forward James van Riemsdyk, who enjoyed a breakout playoff season at this time last year.

Today, van Riemsdyk took a very important step in the process of coming back from an injured left foot in which he had broken a bone on Mar. 1, by skating for the first time with his teammates.

"It's the time of the year where you want to do everything you can to get out there on the ice and I'm excited to be a little closer," said van Riemsdyk. "It's a good step in the right direction to be out on the ice with the guys today. I have to just keeping building off of that and go from there."

During the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, van Riemsdyk was a dominant factor for the Flyers by posting seven goals in 11 games, and at one point, strung together goals in five straight games.

It's the excitement of last year and the success so far of this year's early playoffs that van Riemsdyk hopes to be a part of again.

"You just want to get to a point where you can contribute out there. Obviously it's one of those things where it's tough to jump in at this time of year. The team's been doing a great job and I'm doing what I can to stay positive… focus on getting myself healthy and back in the lineup."

For now the Flyers will have a quick turnaround to prepare for the Penguins in Game Three.

After walking away with the opening two games on the road, they are very much looking forward to playing in the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center in front a sea of orange crowd.

"It'll be really nice to get back in here in our building," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. "Playoffs bring a different element and our fans are incredible when raising the roof. I hope the whole building shakes."

The Flyers are 17-0 in series when winning the first two games, however they are just 10-7 in Game Three's when they own a 2-0 series lead.

Puck drop is 3 p.m. ET on Sunday in a nationally televised game on NBC.

APR - 12
5:45 p.m.

Following the Flyers skate this afternoon much of the buzz around the locker room interviews with the media still revolved around last night's comeback by the Flyers, and their ability to produce wins in those type of situations throughout the season.

However long the Flyers would like to enjoy that victory, they know that they can't dwell on it too much because in the end it's just Game One, and it's not the way they would like to start out Game Two or Three or any other playoff game.

"Well to be honest I think we got lucky last night. Obviously we didn't start the way we wanted to, it's not an easy building to play in against a top team in the league," said Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen. "Tomorrow we have to be a totally different team in the first period."

And by totally different, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette would like to see his team simply skate better.

"I thought as the game moved on, we did a better job in a lot of different areas," said Laviolette. "We weren't skating in the first period and when you take skating out of play you're really deficient in a lot of areas, not just the forecheck."

Laviolette called a timeout within the game's first 10 minutes, and despite allowing another goal towards the end of the first, his team seemed to settle down and play Flyers hockey after that. Especially beginning in the second period.

One of those players who seemed to have his skating legs was rookie Brayden Schenn. In his first career Stanley Cup Playoff game, Schenn posted three points, the game-tying goal, two assists and two big-time hits on the Pens.

"The fact that he's been in the lineup, practicing everyday, working at his game and our team game I think has made him a stronger player," added Laviolette. "Last night was a big game for Brayden but it's not something that all of sudden just popped up."

Towards the end of the regular season, Schenn recorded six points (3G-3A) in his final seven games.

He was limited to just 54 games in his rookie season after being hampered by injuries through the first half of the year. 

Schenn and the Flyers will look to steal another victory in Pittsburgh for tomorrow's Game 2.

The good news for Flyers fans is that the team has a 22-8 series record when coming out victorious in Game One. Should they go on to win Game Two, they own a 29-7 record, but when they own a 2 games to 0 series lead their record vastly improves, going a perfect 17-0.

Puck drop is 7:30 on CSN.

APR - 11
10:00 p.m.

Midway through Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series at Pittsburgh, Flyers general manager announced that defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon has an upper-body injury. He is listed as day-to-day.

Bourdon, 22, appeared in 11:14 of time-on-ice taking 15 shifts in his first career Stanley Cup Playoff game. He was one of six rookies to suit up for the Flyers in Game One.

During the course of his rookie year in the NHL, Bourdon posted four goals and seven points with 52 penalty minutes to go along with a plus-minus rating of plus-4 in 45 games.

APR - 11
2:40 p.m.

Shortly after the morning skate, the Flyers received very good news from Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren.

The club will welcome forward Danny Briere and defenseman Nicklas Grossmann back into the lineup for Game One of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal showdown against the Penguins.

And that's something Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette knows can be a big difference not only in tonight's game, but the entire series.

"When Danny returns to the lineup, he is a difference maker," said Laviolette. "He shows what an effective player he can be. The bigger the circumstance, the bigger the performance."

Briere missed the final three games of the regular season due to an upper back contusion he suffered in the Flyers-Penguins game on Apr. 1.

Flyers fans are all too familiar with Briere's playoff reputation. In just four playoff seasons with the Flyers, Briere has averaged over a point-per-game pace, recording 29 goals and 30 assists for 59 points in 57 games.

A good portion of those goals have certainly made the difference. Briere is tied for second all-time in Flyers history with eight game-winning-goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The D-unit will also be happy to have Grossmann back on the blueline. Grossmann also missed the final three games of the year after suffering a lower-body injury in the same game as Briere, when he collided with Penguins Joe Vitale.

Grossmann recorded six assists and a plus-five rating in 22 games for the Flyers since being acquired around the NHL's trade deadline from the Dallas Stars.

Holmgren also announced that the status of forwards James van Riemsdyk (foot surgery, out 2-3 weeks from Apr. 6), Tom Sestito (groin surgery, out 6-8 weeks from Feb. 21), and defenseman Andrej Meszaros (back surgery, out 2-4 weeks from Apr. 6) all remain the same.

It's not yet known who will be out of the lineup to make room for Briere and Grossmann, but stay tuned to philadelphiaflyers.com closer to puck drop, which is 7:30 p.m. on CSN.

APR - 10

5:47 p.m.

The match up in the playoffs that everyone wanted to see and that yields so many storylines will officially kick off tomorrow night in Pittsburgh.

"It's going to be intense. It's going to be a great series to watch and to play," said Max Talbot. "It's two great teams going at it; two offensive minded teams. You kind of imagine how it's going to go, but again it's the playoffs and you can never be sure what's going to happen."

And why wouldn't it? The match up sees two of the top three points leaders in the NHL in Malkin and Giroux, three of the top eight goal-scorers and the two hottest goaltenders coming down the stretch. Game Three is already slated as NBC's Game of the Week on Sunday.

"The good players in the NHL always present a challenge, but certainly I like our team and the way we played against the Penguins," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette when asked how they plan to contain stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Not only is it a series in which the two teams are as heated of rivals as it gets in the NHL, they will feature two ex-Penguins that are still fresh in the minds of Pens fans for the impact they had on their team during their stay in Pittsburgh.

Jaromir Jagr last hoisted the Stanley Cup as a member of the Penguins nearly two decades ago, and in his first season back in the NHL, isn't concerned about playing his old team in his NHL postseason return.

"Last series when I was in the playoffs we played against Pittsburgh, it's going to be pretty similar," said Jagr referring to when he was with the NY Rangers. "It's going to be exciting for everybody, for all fans of hockey. That's what they want to see, this kind of series."

Talbot of course was the hero of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Penguins, recording both goals in a Game Seven victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Similar to Jagr, Talbot isn't exactly shy about playing the Pens in the first round either.

"It's always great to go back there. This season was really special, but now it's playoff time. It's something different. I'm coming in as a Flyer and it's going to be fun."

Beyond the star players, at least for the Flyers, is the rookie presence that will be seen in the series.

Laviolette as well as team management and the veterans themselves don't see the rookies non-playoff experience as an issue at all. The proof of that being the way they have performed all year long.

"This is a really good group of young players that have helped this team be successful. They're excited to get going in the playoffs," added Laviolette. "I can't say it enough and I don't know that you can pick it up differently - our organization, our staff and our team has a tremendous amount of confidence in our young players."

Those young players have contributed nearly 25 percent of the club's goal during the season, recording 64 of the 260 tallies. Rookie Matt Read led the way with 24, which was also tops among ALL rookies.

Sean Couturier posted 13 goals and 27 points and a plus-minus rating of plus-18, which ranked second on the entire roster and third among all NHL rookies.

Brayden Schenn battled early season injury issues, but rebounded to post 12 goals and 18 points, while Zac Rinaldo led the team and finished second in the entire NHL in penalty minutes (232).

Despite the multitude of storylines the last four days, if not the last two weeks have produced, the task at hand is a very simple one to Laviolette, Talbot, Jagr and the remaining players and coaches in the Flyers locker room.

Said Laviolette: "I'm not sure if it matters. We're going to go into Pittsburgh. We expect to play a good hockey game and we expect to win."

APR - 7
4:11 p.m.

Prior to today's Flyers-Penguins game at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced that Claude Giroux would NOT be in the lineup due to an upper-body injury.

This is just the fifth game all season Giroux will have missed. He previously missed four games from Dec. 13-19 due to a concussion.

Giroux now wraps up the season with a team-leading 93 points, which also rank third overall in the NHL, and 65 assists, which ranks second overall in the NHL. His 93 points are also the most by a Flyer since Eric Lindros in 1998-99. His 28 goals are tied for second-most on the team.

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette also announced that Sergei Bobrovsky would get the start in net. Bobrovsky is a perfect 5-0-0 against the Pens in their new arena since it opened at the beginning of the 2010-11 season.

Overall, Bobrovsky is 14-9-2 with a 2.98 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in 2011-12.

APR - 6
4:23 p.m.

Over the last two weeks there were hints of it. Over the last week and culminating in Sunday's game at Pittsburgh it had become increasingly obvious. The Flyers and the Penguins were on a collision course and would end up playing each other in the playoffs.

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Thursday night it became official by virtue of the Pens victory over the Rangers combined with the Flyers 2-1 win over Buffalo. It will be the fifth-seeded Philadelphia Flyers traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the fourth-seeded Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

"It's gonna be great. It's gonna be a battle," said Scott Hartnell. "It's going to be weird playing them Saturday afternoon with nothing on the line but we want to play hard and finish the year on a winning note, especially in their building, where we got to go in there and start the series."

So what's that leave for Saturday's regular season finale?

It is certainly not what it could have been given the neck and neck points race not being a factor, but that doesn't change the fact that it could serve as a playoff preview, especially with the last few minutes of their game last Sunday fresh in both team's minds.

The two teams combined for 52 penalty minutes (FLYERS - 27, PENGUINS - 25) and fines by the NHL handed out the following day.

“We’re going to go in there and play the game," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. "We’re here to win hockey games, I don’t think that changes anything.  There’ll be no juggling in the standings.  Given the choice to beat the Penguins or lose to the Penguins, we wanna win.  The objective remains the same.”

Perhaps it serves as an appetizer of sorts, for what fans of both cities will anxiously be tuned-in to - Yet another keystone battle in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The NHL's postseason, which is set to begin, at the earliest, on Wed., Apr. 11, will officially reveal it's schedule on Sunday, Apr. 8 at approximately 1 p.m.

Games One and Two (and if necessary, Games Five and Seven) will be at Pittsburgh, while the Flyers will host Games Three and Four (and if necessary, Game Six) at the Wells Fargo Center.

It marks the sixth time since the two teams entered the NHL in 1967 that they will square off against one another (1989, 1997, 2000, 2008, 2009).

Historically, the Flyers hold the advantage, winning three of the five previous series.

Although the Penguins have had the Flyers number in recent years by winning their last two meetings (four games to one in 2008 & four games to two in 2009).

The Flyers do hold the advantage in the seasons series, even with one game remaining, winning four of the five games.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren gave an injury update on several Flyers just prior to the team departing for Pittsburgh.

Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros is 2-4 weeks from returning following surgery on Mar. 21  to remove a disc fragment that was impinging on a nerve root.

Meanwhile D-man Nicklas Grossmann has been upgraded to day-to-day with a lower-body injury that he suffered less than a week ago in the Flyers-Penguins game. He was originally listed as being out for 7-10 days on Apr. 2.

Danny Briere also suffered an injury in that same game, although his status continues to be the same - out indefinitely with a back injury.

Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk is 2-3 weeks from a return due to foot surgery he underwent back on Mar. 8.

He suffered a broken bone in his left foot after going down to block a shot from the point by defenseman Milan Jurcina in the Flyers-Islanders game on Mar. 1.

Upon arrival in Pittsburgh, the Flyers announced that they have recalled forward Harry Zolnierczyk from their AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, on emergency conditions.

Zolnierczyk has appeared in 36 games with the Flyers, his first in the NHL, posting five points (3G-2A) and 28 penalty minutes.

He has also appeared in 36 games for the Flyers' AHL affiliate in Glens Falls where he has recorded eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points.

APR - 4
4:34 p.m.

The Flyers announced today that they have loaned goaltender Jason Bacashihua back to their AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms.

Bacashihua served as a back up to Sergei Bobrovsky in three games from Mar. 29 - Apr. 1, but did not see action, while Ilya Bryzgalov was out of the lineup due to a chip fracture in his right foot.

The Flyers had a complete off-day away from the rink, but will resume practice on Thursday as they prepare for the Buffalo Sabres, who come into town in a fight for their playoff lives.

The Sabres are currently the odd team out in the playoff standings, sitting in ninth place. They are tied at 88 points with the Washington Capitals, who own the tie-breaker of more regulation/overtime wins.

The Flyers can knock the Sabres out of playoff contention with a victory in regulation, combined with a win by the Washington Capitals, who will face off against the Florida Panthers on Thursday as well. Both the Capitals and Panthers are in a fight for the Southeast Division title.

APR - 2
5:42 p.m.

The aftermath of the Flyers-Penguins tilt on Sunday spilled over into the beginning of the work week for both teams.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced that center Danny Briere would be out indefinitely due to an upper back contusion he suffered in their matinee with the Penguins.

Briere played the entire game, totaling 13:37 of ice time and 19 shifts. He has posted at least a point in four of his last five games, recording two goals and seven assists for nine points in that span.

Earlier this season, Briere missed six games from Jan. 22 through Feb. 5 due to a concussion, but has played in the last 27 games.

Overall, Briere has missed nine games this season due to injury. He currently has 16 goals and 33 assists for 49 points and 69 penalty minutes in 70 games.

Holmgren also announced that defenseman Nicklas Grossmann will be sidelined 7-10 days with a lower body injury.

Grossmann was hit by Penguins forward Joe Vitale, after appearing in just 3:58 of ice-time and eight shifts during the Flyers' 6-4 win over the Penguins on Sunday. He has yet to miss a game since being acquired by the Flyers on Feb. 16 from Dallas, posting six assists in 22 games.

As a result of the actions during the final minutes of the Flyers-Pens game at Pittsburgh, the NHL announced that it has fined Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette $10,000 and Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato $2,500.

The incident to which the NHL handed down the fine occurred at 18:57 of the third period. Fine money goes to the NHL Foundation.

1:28 p.m.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced today that center Danny Briere will be out indefinitely with an upper back contusion, while defenseman Nicklas Grossmann will be out 7-10 days with a lower body injury.


APR - 1

1:42 p.m.

Following the first period of action, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced that defenseman Nicklas Grossmann would not return to the game due to a lower-body injury.

He appeared in just eight shifts for a total of 3:58 of ice-time in the first period.

Grossmann has appeared in all 21 games (today being his 22nd) since being acquired by the Flyers on Feb. 16 from the Dallas Stars. He currently ranks second on the team with 152 blocked shots, including today's game at Pittsburgh.

During his stay with the Flyers he has averaged 19:06 of ice-time while posting six assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-5 to go along with 10 penalty minutes.

Grossmann has missed a total of five games this season, all with the Dallas Stars, due to injury or illness. A groin injury sidelined him for three games back in October, while he missed two games due to the flu in February.