Game Day: Flyers Take On Streaking Pens
The Flyers are coming off a thrilling last second overtime victory versus the Boston Bruins. Mike Richards would wrist a shot through Tim Thomas' legs with just three seconds left in the over time period. If you missed the game or the recap you can read it here. .
The Penguins are coming off a 5-2 win in Buffalo against the Sabres extending their current winning streak to 12. Sidney Crosby would be held without a goal while our old friend Arron Asham picked up his first of the year.
The last time these two teams met was in Pittsburgh, a game in which the Flyers won 3-2 with Claude Giroux picking up two goals including the game winner. Dan Carcillo would get the other tally which to date is his only one of the season.
This will be the third meeting of the season for the Flyers and the Pens with Philly ahead in the series 2-1. The Flyers have out scored the Pens during those three games by the score of 11-5.
Pittsburgh comes into the game looking for their franchise record eighth straight road win. As mentioned above the Pens are on a 12 game win streak looking for number 13 tonight . During that 12 game win streak Crosby has notched 14 goals and 9 assists.
The Flyers seemed to be a team Crosby thrives against, maybe it all started with the hit from Hatcher welcoming him to the league his rookie season.He is averaging 1.71 goals per game recording 26 goals 34 assists in 35 career games versus the Flyers.
The Penguins last lost on the road on November 5th 3-2 in Anaheim. The Flyers are slightly better in goals per game at 3.36 while the Pens are averaging 3.19 goals per game. In goals against the penguins are slightly better than the Flyers averaging 2.29 goals against while the Flyers are averaging 2.36.
The matchup between these two teams is even tighter on special teams. The Flyers and the Pens both have a 16.2% success rate on the power play. The Flyers are killing of penalties at a 83.7% rate while the Pens edge them out with an 88.7% kill rate.
All these numbers make for a great matchup tonight, then add to that the in-state rivalry and that the Flyers (43) trail Pittsburgh (44) in points by one for the best record in the NHL. Can the Flyers contain Crosby and recapture the top spot in the standings ?
In The Nets
The Flyers will be changing it up a bit against the Pens this time around and will start Brian Boucher (5-3-2) 2.23 GAA .919 SV% tonight, opposed to Bobrovsky who has started all three previous games against the Pens this season. Sergei Bobrovsky was 2-1 during those three games with a 2.67 GAA. Boucher has played good lately compiling a 4-0-1 record in his last five starts with a 1.71 GAA and a .951 SV%.
The Penguins will go with Marc-Andre Fleury (14-6-1) 2.31 GAA .914 SV% . He has turned his season around after loosoing playing time earlier in the season to Brent Johnson (7-2-1) 2.00 GAA .931 SV%. Fleury brings with him to Philly an 11 game win streak, the Flyers will look to end that tonight.
The key to this game is Crosby, Crosby, and Crosby. He has been a Flyer killer as I stated above and he needs to be contained. The Flyers held Crosby to just one assist in the meeting on Oct 29th and was most recently held to just one assist in his last game versus the Sabres on Saturday.
Pronger will need to be the big force on defense and will need to use his body on Crosby and make him pay for every inch of ice.
The Pens will get Malkin back tonight, it will be his first game back from a knee injury. The Flyers will welcome back Arron Asham tonight as he faces his old team for the first time in Philly.
The Flyers will be short in the tough guy department as Jody Shelley has been suspended for two games. He did not fair to well in his fight with Deryk Engelland last time, but who does ? Carcillo will be in the lineup but doesn't matchup well with Engelland.
Boucher will have to keep up his solid play tonight and the defense will need to be aware of who is on the ice and their where abouts at all times. Of course the Flyers need to stay out of the box and not give Malkin and Crosby too many opportunities with the man advantage.
Looks like Nik Zherdev will be back in the lineup taking the place of Jody Shelley on the fourth line.
SS Holmgren Capsizing
Paul Holmgren recently had to make some decisions on injured players as Michael Leighton was going to come off LTIR. He decided to LTIR Ian Laperriere which helped the Flyers in cap space when they reactivated Leighton.
The down side to this move has to do with any waiver pickups for the rest of the season now that Lappy is on LTIR and not coming off. If the Flyers were to make a waiver claim say in March their cap hit would be that player's whole salary for the season instead of at a prorated rate.
The Flyers have some depth in the minors to possibly take the place of a waiver pickup if needed. Still waiting to see what they are going to do with Matt Walker if he was hurt the other night during his conditioning stint with the Phantoms.
Just have to say welcome back Cliff Lee !!!!!!!!! Effin Ruben Amaro !!!!! Good time for Philly fans in general; Eagles , Flyers , Phillies all making headlines and even the Sixers started winning. So glad Lee snuffed NY and left money on the table !!!!!!! Money can't buy everything !!!
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