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Flyers Opening Night Preview

As the start of the 2010-2011 NHL season begins for the Flyers tonight, they will come into this season as the defending Eastern Conference Champions.

Coming off of that season ending overtime loss to Chicago in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Flyers will be put to the test by facing the Pittsburgh Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center.

Starting off this season with a win against their cross state rivals, a Stanley Cup favorite, would be just one step in showing the NHL and its fans that last year was no fluke.

The Flyers and Penguins have a history together that started 43 years ago. Both teams came into the NHL as expansion teams in 1967. They played against one and other in the Flyers inaugural season home opener.

This was their first meeting ,it was in front of 7,812 fans and the Flyers did not disappoint winning 1-0. Since then there have been other memorable moments between these two teams.

There was Keith Primeau's goal in the fifth overtime, in Pittsburgh, in the second round of the 2000 playoffs. Derian Hatcher's cross check to Sidney Crosby's lips in his rookie season, causing them to split and require stitching. That blow also caused three of his teeth to be knocked loose. Maybe another memorable moment or two will be made this season by these teams.

The Flyers are 133-85-30 with 6 over time losses all time against the Penguins, and 44-58-22 with 3 OTL on the road at Pittsburgh.

In the last meeting in Pittsburgh between these two teams on March 27,2010 the Pens defeated the Flyers 4-1.

The last time the Flyers won on the road in Pittsburgh was on January 7,2010 by the score of

7-4.


Special Teams :
The Flyers will have to play a disciplined game and keep the Pens Power Play off the ice as much as possible. The Pens have been tinkering with their power play during training camp. One look had Crosby on the half wall and Malkin on the left point. See Pens show new power play.

They have also added two of the most sought after defensemen this off-season to ease the loss of Gonchar, Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek. Look for them to contribute on the PP and PK also.

It is important that the Flyers capitalize on their power play opportunities when they get them. With the loss of Gagne on the Power Play, look for Claude Giroux and new addition Nikolay Zherdev to hook up on the man advantage, they have crazy skills between them and they should be a force this season. Ville Leino should see some time on the PP also to help fill that void.

With the addition of Meszaros the Flyers added another hard shot from the point to go along with Pronger's. Timonen and Carle will contribute like usual by quarter backing the PP and carrying the puck up the ice into the offensive zone.

Goaltending matchup for this game will be Brian Boucher vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Boucher was 9-18-3 with a 2.76 GAA .899 SV% and 1 shut out in 33gp last season

His career record is 101-121-10 2.72 GAA .900 SV% and 17 Shut outs in 280 gp

Fluery was 37-21-6 with a 2.65 GAA .905 SV% and 1 Shut out in 67 gp

His career record is 148-106-2 2.82 GAA .907 SV% with 16 shut outs in 302 gp

On The Lookout

As the Flyers play tonight observe their defensive zone play, this is an area that may take a while to gel as the new defense gets use to the system. They looked rough at times during the pre-season.

Watch for the conditioning of some players, especially Richards who looked sluggish during camp. Leino and Betts will be ones to watch, they did not get in to much game action as they were not cleared for contact until late in camp.

There are plenty of new faces on the team this year, keep an eye on these players:

93 Nikolay Zherdev, 6 Sean O'Donnell, 41 Andrej Meszaros, 15 Adreas Nodl and camp standout 35 Sergei Bobrovsky.

Flying Fists:

The Flyers have a few people who can throw down at all positions. Look for Jody Shelley to start the year off with a bang. If this game was in Philly it would almost be a guarantee he would throw. Look for Eric Godard and Shelley when on the ice together, also don't forget Asham for the Pens also and Carcillo .

Larry's Logic


The Flyers need to come in and pressure the Pens in both the Offensive and Defensive zones. They will have to keep the penalties to a minimum and try to shut down Crosby and Malkin any way they can, whenever they are on the ice.

Flyers need to get to Fleury early, cause traffic in front of him and get the point shots on net, they will also need a huge game from their goalie and defense.

Step-Up Players (Players who need to step it up) JVR, Carter, Zherdev and Coburn.

Twitter @wrecktangled

Comments

George Prax's picture

Should be a fun match-up. I'll be watching Habs/Leafs but looking forward to Mark's updates in the live blog Wink