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Final 1 2 3 Tot
Philadelphia 1 1 2 4
Pittsburgh 0 2 0 2
Penguins lead 3-2
Three Stars
1: Sean Couturier, Phi (1G)
2: Valtteri Filppula, Phi (1G, 2A)
3: Bryan Rust, Pit (1G)
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, April 20, 2018
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 18,632

Penguins prepare to face desperate Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins

  1. Pittsburgh defeated Philadelphia, 5-0, on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center, taking a commanding 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven matchup. The team that has won each of the first four games of this series has scored five or more goals in each victory.
  2. This marks the 18th time that the Flyers have been down 1-3 in a best-of-seven all-time. Philadelphia has come back to win just one of those series, (vs. Boston in 2010 Eastern Conference semis), and eight of the previous matchups ended in five games.
  3. The Penguins have been up 3-1 in a best-of-seven 17 times in franchise history prior to this matchup, and have come out on top in 15 of those (nine of those series ended in five games). The only two times that Pittsburgh has lost a series when taking a 3-1 lead occurred in 2011 vs. Tampa Bay and in 2014 vs. the New York Rangers.
  4. The Flyers' leading scorer during the regular season with 102 points, Claude Giroux has been held to one point (assist in Game 2) in the first four games of this matchup. Dating to the 2014 playoffs, Giroux has just two helpers (zero goals) in his last 11 postseason skates.
  5. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both lit the lamp in Game 4, marking the third time of the series both have scored at least one time. Crosby (5) and Malkin (3) have combined to pot eight of Pittsburgh's 18 goals in this series.
  6. Philadelphia has been shut out four times in 10 playoff games since the 2016 postseason -- tied with Nashville for most of any NHL club. Pittsburgh has played 71 games since the beginning of the 2014 playoffs without being shut out -- tied for the sixth-longest streak of its kind in NHL history.

There is a swirl of discussion over the availability of a few key players for Game 5 of the first-round playoff series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.

This much, though, is certain: The Penguins, who hold a 3-1 series lead, can wrap things up and move on to the Eastern Conference semifinals with a win Friday at PPG Paints Arena.

Meanwhile, the Flyers are facing elimination.

"We're not ready for our season to be over," Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux said Thursday. "We go to Pittsburgh, tough building to play in. We know we can win there. We know if we play our game we can win.

"So we're going to go out there, play our game and be back (home) for Game 6."

Giroux, who had 102 points during the regular season, has been held to one assist and is minus-7 in the four games this series.

Philadelphia general manager Ron Hextall exonerated Giroux, saying there are a lot of factors in one players' numbers being down, and he didn't have to get technical when breaking down his club's game plan for extending its season.

"We need to play better," Hextall said. "They've played extremely well, and we need to play better."

Philadelphia top-line center and Selke Trophy finalist Sean Couturier, who missed Game 4 because of an injury sustained in practice Tuesday, skated but did not practice Thursday and accompanied the team to Pittsburgh. After practice, he indicated there is a chance he could play.

"Feeling better every day, and we'll see (Friday) how I feel," Couturier said.

Pittsburgh will be without tenacious winger Patric Hornqvist for the second straight game because of an unspecified injury, although he skated on his own Thursday.

The Penguins apparently dodged a huge setback after goaltender Matt Murray needed attention from a trainer during practice Thursday. Murray remained on the ice and continued in goal until the end of practice.

Afterward, he declined to say what ailed him but proclaimed, "I'm good."

Murray in Game 4 became the NHL goalie to reach 25 playoff wins the fastest, doing it in 36 games.

With two shutouts this series - along with a 1.27 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage -- Murray has been part of a dominating Pittsburgh performance in its three wins, which have been by a combined score of 17-1.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby -- whose goal and assist in Game 4 gave him 173 career playoff points, moving him ahead of Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux for the club record -- warned that his team's three lopsided wins haven't come as easily as they might have looked.

"It's playoff hockey," he said. "They've had chances, and we've gotten saves and big plays.

"It's about momentum and different points in games, and we've executed well, but that can change quickly if you don't play the right way."

Crosby and the Penguins know what facing a team on the precipice is all about after winning the Stanley Cup the past two years. In those two playoff runs, they were 8-5 when they had a chance to eliminate an opponent, 4-3 last year.

"It's always hard to end someone's season. We know they're going to be desperate and throw everything at us," Penguins winger Jake Guentzel said.

Updated April 19, 2018

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