Better With Popcorn

Gameday at Pittsburgh: Emery Gets Start

Philadelphia Flyers (6-10-1) at Pittsburgh (11-6-0)
CONSOL Energy Center — Pittsburgh, Pa.
TV: NBCSN - Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic - 8:00 p.m.

Setting the Stage

The Flyers have won two straight, out-scoring their opponents 9-2 in the process. What is this sorcery you ask? It may very well be the team awaking from its slumber. What better way to test that than against the Penguins tonight on the national stage.

The last time these two teams met, the Penguins won 4-1 in a game that was much closer than the score indicated. Marc-Andre Fleury was solid as a rock and the Flyers missed a handful of chances during their snake-bitten phase.

In last night's 5-0 win over the Senators, Jakub Voracek scored twice and Claude Giroux added two assists. Vincent Lecavalier also scored his team-leading seventh goal and Steve Mason earned his first shutout of the season.

The Flyers are making no changes to last night's lineup other than Ray Emery will be in net. Michael Raffl (flu), Andrej Meszaros and Hal Gill are all healthy scratches.

What to Expect

The Penguins are the established best team in the Metropolitan Division through the first month and a half of the season, and rightfully so. Sidney Crosby is leading the NHL with 23 points (tied with injured Steven Stamkos), and the Penguins are the 10th scoring offense in the NHL at 2.88 goals per game.

Along with Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Jussi Jokinen each have eight goals to lead the team. Kunitz also has eight assists to go with 16 points, and Evegni Malkin has three goals and 12 assists for 15 points.

The Penguins have lost two straight heading into tonight's game. They were run out of Madison Square Garden in a 5-1 loss to the Rangers and lost a tough one to a good St. Louis team, 2-1, on Saturday. They have the advantage tonight with the Flyers having played the night before in Ottawa.

The Masked Men

Philadelphia: Ray Emery (1-3-0, 3.24 GAA, .879 sv%)

With Mason playing the night before, Emery will get the nod in net tonight. Emery's four starts (five appearances) haven't been stellar. He allowed four goals in each of his first three appearances (two losses and mop-up duty in the Capitals blow-out). But in his last two games, Emery shut-out the Devils on a 14-save effort and stopped 22-of-24 in a 3-0 loss to the same team. 

Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury (10-4-0, 2.07 GAA, .921 sv%)

Fleury has had an impressive start to his season. After reports out of training camp that Fleury is struggling big time, he has squashed any concerns in the Penguins camp with his play. It's a good thing for the first place Penguins too as Jeff Zatgoff is not as reliable of a backup as Tomas Vokoun.

Keys to the Game

1. Keep Rollin'. The Flyers offense is on a roll. Nine goals in two games, two big wins, and great efforts from their top line of Giroux, Voracek and Scott Hartnell. It's the right time for them to play well going up against Pittsburgh.

2. Four Lines. Craig Berube said before yesterday's game that he wants to be able to roll a more balanced attack with four lines. He's going to have to stick to that promise coming off a huge win last night in Ottawa. Legs may still be a bit tired so not over-exhausting one line is going to be key.

3. Emery. He's put up back-to-back good showings. He needs to get into a rhythm so he can establish himself as a reliable back-up to Steve Mason.

Quotable

“The way we’re playing, we’re playing as a team and the way we should be playing and working hard.” - Claude Giroux after a 5-0 win over Ottawa.