Flyers on brink of elimination after Pens earn second shutout of series

Sean Couturier: Unavailable for Game 4

Whatever rivalry existed between the Flyers and Penguins coming into this season was hardly recognizable in the four games played in Philadelphia (two regular season, two playoff), where the home team was outscored 20-4.

Along the way, Sidney Crosby notched the Penguins' all-time record for career playoff points, Evgeni Malkin scored another multipoint game and Matt Murray was rock solid in his second shutout of the series. Behind a well-rounded performance by almost the entire roster, the Penguins drubbed their Keystone rivals 5-0 to build a 3-1 lead in this first-round best-of-seven series.

As valuable as Hornqvist is to the Penguins, they have no shortage of star power - as evidenced by a score sheet that had Malkin, Phil Kessel, Crosby and Kris Letang with goals. Pittsburgh Penguins' Matt Murray makes save on Flyers Wayne Simmonds in the third period of game 4 of the first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers, Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

So, Crosby should celebrate the assist on the Penguins' first-period power-play goal that served as Crosby's 172nd career playoff point, for it tied him with Lemieux for most in franchise history. Crosby and the Penguins followed a 7-0 Game 1 win and a 5-1 Game 3 victory with another dominant outing.

Couturier suffered a lower-body injury in practice Tuesday after a collision with teammate Radko Gudas.

Nikita Kucherov, Lightning: Two goals - the game-winner and the dagger into the empty net to ensure victory - capped off a big night for Kucherov, who has scored in all four of the series' games thus far. Neuvirth was so baffled that he was looking right, while Crosby was on his left. Malkin made a nice pass to Kessel, who shot the puck right at Elliott.

And as the Flyers walked off the ice for what will likely be the last time at home this season, they did so with their heads collectively down and the sound of boos still raining down from the few fans still remaining.

Nikita Kucherov was a force in this one, scoring the twice and adding an assist while laying a massive (and controversial) hit on Devils' defenseman Sami Vatanen, which knocked the latter out of the game.

Giroux, who scored 102 points during the season, has not scored a posteason goal since 2014. Coach Dave Hakstol has been tweaking it all season long, opening the year with Claude Giroux, Couturier and Jakub Voracek.

Trailing 4-0, the Flyers got a four-minute power play that carried into the third period. Midway through the first period, the Flyers were pressuring and buzzing around the Penguins zone.

"They came out hard", Andrew MacDonald said.

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