Better With Popcorn

Flyers-Penguins Gameday: Flyers Look To End Year on Winning Note

Coming off back-to-back losses, the Flyers (21-10-4) will look to bounce back against the Pittsburgh Penguins (21-11-4) on Wednesday night.

It will be no easy task, considering the hot streak that the Penguins are currently riding. They’ve won four games in a row and six of their last ten.

While the Flyers have also won six of their last ten games, they’ve gone 1-3-1 in their last five and have allowed 18 goals while only scoring 9. They were shut out once in those five games, by the Boston Bruins, and were held to two goals or less in three of the five.

Even though goaltending has been shaky as of late and can partially be to blame for the recent losses, the Flyers have got to find an offensive spark if they want to maintain their winning record. 

The top line of Hartnell-Giroux-Jagr has been phenomenal, but all four lines need to contribute. Other players desperately need to step up and make things happen, or else the Flyers will continue to struggle like they have in their last two games.

 

THE MATCHUP

This is the second between the two teams out of six total games this season. 

The Flyers got the victory over the Pens back on December 10, with a final score of 3-2. Max Talbot scored a goal in his first game against his former team, and Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds netted the other two.

The Penguins have a home record of 11-3-2, while the Flyers have the best road record in the league with 13-5-2.

The Penguins will be without Sidney Crosby, their captain, as he remains on IR due to concussion symptoms. They’ve managed to play very well in Crosby’s absence, a trend dating back to the second half of last season, thanks to guys like Evgeni Malkin (15G, 27A) and James Neal (21G, 15A).

The Flyers will continue to be without their captain, Chris Pronger, as he is out for the season and the playoffs, also with concussion symptoms. The Flyers have done well without Pronger, though it is evident in some games that his defensive skills are missed, especially in games against powerfully offensive teams such as Boston and New York.

Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net for the Penguins. 

Their #1 goaltender is 19-7-2 on the season, with a .916 save percentage and a goals-against average of 2.24. He has had a successful career against the Flyers to date, going 20-11-0 with a .906 save percentage and a 2.73 GAA.

The Flyers will have backup Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes. 

Bobrovsky has been solid for the Flyers in his ten starts, with a 7-2-1 record, a save percentage of .913 and a GAA of 2.56. He has faced the Penguins five previous times in his career, and has a record of 3-1-1 with a .939 save percentage and a 2.17 GAA.

On paper, this matchup certainly looks like it will be a battle all the way through. 

The Flyers have scored 119 goals this season, but the Pens are right behind them with 118. On the flip side, Flyers goaltending has allowed 104 goals, while the Pens have only allowed 93. 

To win this one, the Flyers are going to need to play hard, crash the net, and score early and often.

Tonight will be a big night for Max Talbot and Jaromir Jagr, both returning to Pittsburgh for the first time since joining the Flyers. 

Talbot spent seven years with the Penguins, scoring 108 points in 388 games, and was acquired by the Flyers this past summer. 

Jagr was drafted by the Pens in the 1990 entry draft and spent eleven seasons with them before being traded, scoring 640 points in 806 games and winning two Stanley Cups in his first three years with the club.

This will be the Flyers’ last game before they take on the New York Rangers in the Winter Classic on January 2. Exciting as it is, the team must not allow themselves to get caught up in the hype surrounding the Classic. 

They need to remain focused and play smart and disciplined Flyers hockey tonight in order to end the calendar year on a winning note.

 

STEP UP PLAYERS

Briere

van Riemsdyk

Voracek

 

 

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