satan-malkin

Miroslav Satan, right, will skate on a line with Evgeni Malkin on Thursday. ((Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press))

Looking to deliver the knockout blow in Game 5 of their first-round series, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma will replace right-winger Petr Sykora with Miro Satan when the Penguins host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).

Satan will play on the same line as centre Evgeni Malkin and left-winger Ruslan Fedotenko.

Pittsburgh leads 3-1 and would wrap up the series with a win on home ice.

Satan, 34, has given the Flyers fits over the years as a member of the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders, but in five games against them as a Penguin during the regular season he was a minus-7.

"It's a difficult situation," Bylsma said. "The coach has to make those decisions. They're not easy ones but I'm the guy that gets to make them.

"We feel like this will give us a better chance in certain circumstances, to get a different look. Miro is going to get that opportunity tonight to go in there and play some meaningful minutes for us."

Satan had 17 goals and 19 assists in 65 regular season games for the Penguins. Sykora was scoreless and a minus-2 in four playoff games and looked sluggish in a 3-1 win in Game 4 in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

"I'm surprised," Sykora said after the Penguins' morning skate. "He told me right before practice that I'm not playing."

Meanwhile, defenceman Kris Letang did not skate on Thursday and could be replaced by rookie Philippe Boucher. Letang was checked hard into the boards by Flyers captain Mike Richards late in Game 4.

Bylsma said a decision on Letang will be made during pre-game warm-ups. Letang is second among Penguins defencemen in playoff scoring, with two assists, while logging 18:24 a game. He is a minus-1 in the series.

Bylsma said he will show the Flyers several different looks on his forward lines. In Game 4, he started with Malkin and Sidney Crosby on the same line, and in Game 3, he paired Malkin with centre Jordan Staal.

"Like our last game, you'll see different looks from our lines on different occasions throughout the game," Bylsma said. "You'll see Miro (with Malkin and Fedotenko) a little bit, but you'll also see different combinations with Evgeni."

The Flyers are expecting no lineup changes.