PITTSBURGH — After sitting out the previous game with a right leg injury, Sean Couturier scored the game-winning goal Friday with 1:15 remaining in regulation during the Flyers’ 4-2 Game 5 victory over the Penguins. The Flyers kept their postseason hopes alive as they cut the series deficit to 3-2.
Making his first start of the series, Michal Neuvirth came up with the save of the game when he robbed Sidney Crosby on a point-blank glove stop with 50 seconds left in the third period.
Neuvirth denied 30 shots in the game.
Claude Giroux opened the scoring with his first goal of the playoff series and his first postseason goal since 2014, which gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the first period.
Playing on the top line with Giroux and Couturier for the first time this season, Valtteri Filppula scored his first goal in his last 16 playoff games that tied the game at 2-2 late in the second. Filppula had a three-point night with a goal and two assists.
Matt Read sealed the win with an empty-netter.
Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust added goals for the Penguins.
Game 6 is scheduled for Sunday in Philadelphia (3 p.m./NBC).
• Despite suiting up and providing a gutsy effort, Couturier appeared to labor early while dealing with his leg injury. Early on, he didn’t have much power behind his shot and didn’t have much of a skating burst as he relied more on solid positional play. However, he seemed to get better as the game moved along.
Apparently Couturier wasn’t healthy enough to play on the top line or on the No. 1 power-play unit, but he did receive his typical workload on the penalty kill.
• After the Flyers bottled up the Penguins in the first period, Pittsburgh adjusted its attack in the second. That led to easier offensive zone entries and a longer sustained attack in the Flyers’ zone.
The Pens’ third line capitalized against the Flyers’ fourth line as Rust broke loose from Read and no one picked him up on the backside wraparound.
The Flyers were also held without a shot over 11½ of the second period. Offensive zone time was 4:10 for Pittsburgh to 45 seconds for the Flyers in the second period.
• Neuvirth appeared to have the post covered, but apparently Rust was still able to pop it up and over the goalie’s blade. Regardless, a bad goal.
Later in the second period, Neuvirth allowed another goal that he should have stopped as Guentzel snapped a shot that slipped between his legs.
Overall, Neuvirth made some key saves early and on the Penguins’ power play to offset the goals.
• Regardless of the outcome, the Flyers gave Pittsburgh their most physical effort in this seres. They battled for loose pucks and made some of the Pens’ most skilled players, primarily Evgeni Malkin, fight for their possessions.
Brandon Manning got in Malkin’s face and Radko Gudas came to the defense of Giroux when he fought Jamie Oleksiak after his incidental contact.
• Despite some concerns that Filppula couldn’t handle the responsibilities as a top-line center, No. 51 was arguably one of the Flyers’ best forwards. Filppula scored shorthanded, played a near perfect first period and provided solid defensive play. He also led the Flyers with four shots on goal.