Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, and Ville Leino have carried the Flyers' offense in the first five games of the Stanley Cup Finals, but that line is going to need some support if the team is going to extend the series to a decisive seventh game.
Specifically, they could use some help from Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, players who have combined for one goal (excluding an empty-netter) and a minus-11 rating in the Finals.
Thanks to Sunday's 7-4 victory at the United Center, Chicago leads the series, three games to two, and can win its first Cup since 1961 by defeating the Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Wednesday.
Richards (two points), whose first-period goal sparked a 5-3 win in Game 4, is minus-6 in the Finals, while Carter (two points) is minus-5.
Carter appears to be bothered by a still-healing right foot that was broken on April 20 against New Jersey.
In the Finals, Carter has played primarily at right wing on a line with Richards and Simon Gagne (two goals, minus-5). Late in Sunday's game, Carter spent some time on the third line, as he and Claude Giroux switched units.
Briere leads both teams with nine points in the Finals; Hartnell and Leino each have three goals and seven points apiece.
Carter has battled back from breaking bones in each foot. He has been back in the lineup since May 22 - Game 4 of the conference finals in Montreal.
"He doesn't have a lot of time under his belt," coach Peter Laviolette said at a news conference at the Wachovia Center on Monday. "I think he was making strides up until last night, and without specifically talking about Jeff in general, we weren't good enough as a team. And it didn't seem like anybody brought their best game."
Briere needed several stitches to close a cut under his right eye Sunday, but he will undoubtedly play on Wednesday.
Midway through Sunday's third period, Briere was hit by the stick of defenseman Duncan Keith, who did not receive a penalty.
Referee Bill McCreary said on Sirius XM radio's Home Ice on Monday that the call was missed.
"Nobody feels worse than the four officials on the ice," he said, "but you have to move on."
"It should have been a four-minute penalty," Laviolette said. "You have to be in control of your stick out there. Dangerously close to a severe eye injury. They told me that it was a follow-through on the puck. I'm not sure I understood the call."
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville downplayed the incident, saying one of his players, Brian Campbell, was cut with a high stick and that no penalty was called.
"At the end of the day, it probably came out in the wash," Quenneville said.
Leino has 19 playoff points - two shy of the NHL rookie record set by Minnesota's Dino Ciccarelli in 1981.
The 26-year-old winger has the third-highest rookie playoff total in NHL history. Don Maloney is second on the list with 20 points for the Rangers in the 1979 playoffs.
Flyers assistant Joey Mullen is tied for fourth; he had 18 points in his rookie season with St. Louis in 1982.
Flyers goalie Michael Leighton has struggled mightily in his three road starts during the Finals, compiling a 5.31 goals-against average and an .831 save percentage.
Leighton has been much better in his two Finals starts at home: a 2.86 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.
Club sources have said the Flyers hope to re-sign Leighton, who can become an unrestricted free agent in July. No word on whether those plans have changed because of the 29-year-old goalie's struggles in the Finals.
Chicago is 16-3 in series in which it has won three of the first five games of a series; the Flyers are 6-15 in series in which they trail, three games to two. . . . Home teams are 5-0 in the Finals for the second straight season. . . . Don't be surprised if winger Dan Carcillo dresses Wednesday and the Flyers use only five defensemen. . . . There have been 40 goals scored in the Finals (21 by Chicago, 19 by the Flyers), which is the most in the first five games since the Islanders and Minnesota North Stars scored 42 in 1981. In 1973, the Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens scored a Finals-high 56 goals in six games. Montreal won the series, four games to two. . . . A playoff block party will begin at 4 p.m. Wednesday outside of the AT&T Pavilion on the 11th Street side of the Wachovia Center. Doors to the arena will open at 6 p.m. for the 8 p.m. game. . . . The Flyers on Sunday were denied their first three-game Finals winning streak since 1974. . . . Flyers fans will meet at the Rocky statue near the Philadelphia Museum of Art and race up the museum steps Tuesday at noon during a pep rally for the team.