Written By Tim Panaccio, CSN Philly.com
The Flyers will have two new faces in the lineup tonight for the first time in the series as the Flyers try to knock out the Devils.
The Flyers have a 3-1 series lead and face the prospect of having both Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne out for the remainder of the series with right foot fractures.
Ville Leino replaces Jeff Carter and goes in at right wing on Danny Briere's line with Scott Hartnell. Briere, obviously, is moving back to center, where he has played sparingly this season.
David Laliberte also makes his playoff debut on Mike Richard's line, replacing Simon Gagne. Dan Carcillo is the other winger.
Richards said the mood was pretty upbeat this morning despite the bad news.
"I think yesterday was about trying to find out what was going on and where people are fitting in and who people are going to play with," Richards said. "Today was more excitement. I didn't really see anyone's energy level drop. If anything, I thought everyone's went up this morning.
"We're a confident hockey team. I'm not going to guarantee anything. I can guarantee we are going to come in here and play hard and try to have our best game in the series."
The Flyers routed the Devils 5-1 at the end of March with Carter out of the lineup recovering from a broken bone is his left foot, at that time.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette would not talk about his lineup moves.
"The guys we put in we expect to play key roles," he said. "It's an opportunity for those guys to make an impact in a big game.
"We had to play a lot of games down the stretch without Jeff. It's not about one guy or two guys being out of the lineup. It's how we play as a team."
After taking a chewing out from his general manager following Game 4, Devils coach Jacques Lemaire says his club can come back on the Flyers.
There is no margin for error. Down 3-1 in the series, New Jersey has to peel off three straight wins.
"Definitely," Lemaire said. "Why? Because there's good players on this team. They've got to get on the same page. They've got to play the same way all the time. Not two periods. They've got to play three periods.
"That's what we've missed pretty much all year, since Day 1. It's tough to say, but it's the problem that we had the whole time. When we feel good, when we play well, we're changing things.
"We're changing the way we're going to play. We're going to do this, the system. But in the playoffs this is the closest I've seen all year, the longest we've been doing it. If we get that next step before the end, we'll be fine."
Cast aside demons
That was the message from Devils' goalie Marty Brodeur after the morning skate. He said he was one guy on the team that just goes and plays and doesn't worry about long term. But not others.
"I think it's a tough attitude to have if you start thinking, 'What if, what if,'" Brodeur said. "There are a lot of what ifs. A lot of good things or a lot of bad things will happen. I'm sure there are guys that are in a position that, for them, it's different. They don't have that same attitude about it.
"For us tonight we definitely have to get these demons out of us, especially in a situation like this. That attitude is the first thing you have to have, that swagger even though it's a tough thing to have when you're down 3-1. But you have to show that you're still in control. Show them that we're not riled by what's going on. But it's a tough thing to do."
Pulling a Messier
Ilya Kovalchuk pulled a Mark Messier on Wednesday, saying his Devils career still has some more games to win. He predicted a victory in Game 5. When asked about that prediction, the Flyers Chris Pronger replied, "Talk is cheap."
Asked by a Philly reporter this morning whether his team got an emotional lift knowing that Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter are out for the rest of the series, Lemaire, tossed it aside, saying he didn't believe the Flyers announcement. "I thought it was bullshit, as a matter of fact," Lemaire said. "I don't believe nobody. So I can't say it gave us a lift." He wants to see tonight's lineup card.
Zach Parise said that is the key element to the Devils winning in Game 5.
"We need more consistency in our game," he said. "We had a great first period last game, then kinda laid off and waited for them to respond. Before we knew it, it was too late to get back into it. We got to play the same way for a full game instead of just a period or period and a half. That team over there is just too good to relax on."