Game Preview: Penguins Waddle to Philly
They played sloppy against Tampa, especially in the defensive zone. The defense actually took a step back in that game after a good showing against the Avalanche.They struggled on the Power Play again, which has been the norm in this young season.
The Penguins (2-3-0)are coming to town having won their first game at the CONSOL Energy Center 3-2 in OT at the expense of the NY Islanders.
The big guns for the Pens did not score last night, even after the Isles spotted them 8 power plays. The regulation goals were scored by Rupp and Philly native Eric Tangradi, the overtime goal scored by Goligoski and was on the eighth power play opportunity.
NOTE: Game time changed to 6:00 pm to accommodate the Phillies NLCS game 1 starting at 8pm. Go DOC !!!!!
The last time these two teams met was the first game of this season in Pittsburgh, the Flyers won the game by the score of 3-2. Peter Laviolette would surprise everyone by starting 22yr old Russian rookie Sergei Bobrovsky in his first NHL game against the high powered offense of the Pens. This would make him the youngest goalie ever to start a season opener in Flyers history.
The move was gutsy and turned out to be his first good move of the season. It also has sent a message to the team that this coach will play those who are deserving and work hard everyday at practice and in the games.
In that game the Flyers were holding a 2-0 lead heading in to the third period thanks to second period goals by Danny Briere and Blair Betts. That would hold up until Tyer Kennedy ended the shutout just 44 seconds in to the third.
Claude Giroux got the two goal lead back on a nifty short handed goal, the Pens would retaliate quickly on a power play goal from Alex Goligoski just 19 seconds later. The Flyers would kill one more power play in the last 1:19 of the game to hold on for the win.
The Pens are holding a five game winning streak here in Philly, the last time the Flyers beat the Pens at home in regulation was Dec. 13, 2008 . The Flyers will look to end that streak tonight.
The Flyers and Pens have been trade partners only 12 times throughout their history. Here is one that stands out to me, mostly because the Flyers got the worse end of the deal.
On Feb. 19,1992 the Flyers sent Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson, Ken Wregget, and 1992 3rd rd pick(Dave Roche) to the Pens for Mark Recchi, Brian Benning and LA Kings 1st rd pic( Jason Bowen). Mark Recchi was a good pickup but the Flyers still blew that one, especially with the Jason Bowen pick in the first round.
In The Nets
Looks like there will be a rematch in goal tonight when the Pens come to town. The Flyers will start Sergei Bobrovsky for his second look at the Pens in this young season. He is 2-0 with a 2.0 GAA and a 931 SV% . He played well in the first tilt turning away 29 of 31 shots he faced.
The Pens will throw Fluery at the Flyers again, he has not had a good season so far, 0-3 3.41 GAA and a .853 SV%. In his career he has had success against the Flyers, bringing a 19-7 record in 29 games to Philly with him.
On The Lookout
Look for a change on the first line for the Flyers today. The line has not been productive with Carcillo at LW , he is scoreless and a -3 so far this season. They have been experimenting with JVR and Nodl this week in practice at the LW spot, a change is needed.
The Flyers power play has been brutal to start this year. They are 1-17 on the man advantage ranking them 27th in the league. See more on the Power Play.
The one plus spot on special teams has been the penalty kill, they have killed off 21 of 23 power plays ranking them fifth in the league.The Pens have scored one of those power play goals during their first meeting.
The Flyers will have Pronger in the lineup tonight for his first meeting with the Pens this season. He is still nursing his rehabbing knee, but he should be able to calm the defense down a little.
Look for Bobrovsky and how he performs against a team that will see him for the second time, and have had more game film to study. Look to see if the Pens expose BOBS by shooting high on him. That is the only weakness I see in his game, to be quick down low, he gives up the top shelf. Let see how the Pens approach him this time around.
The Pens to lookout for are obviously Malkin and Crosby, but keep an eye on Goligowski as he has 3 goals already this season. Also keep an eye out for Eric Tangradi as he makes his first start in his hometown as a visitor.
The Flyers need to throw the body more and cause more teams to look over their shoulders when heading to the corners. Pressure in the offensive and defensive zones will be necessary to keep Crosby and Malkin in check tonight.These two are off to a slow start, combining for zero goals in the third period this season.
The Flyers need to turn the Power Play around and capitalize on their man advantage chances. Scoring goals on the power play will turn the momentum of a game, just as a great penalty kill will do.
Shots on the net are key here , last game they played with the puck way too much and virtually killed their own power play.Look for the defense to have a much better game than last, they are just to inconsistent right now.
The Pens come to play tonight missing four key players to injury: C Jordan Staal, F Aaron Asham, D Brooks Orpik, and D Zbynek Michalek.
The Flyers will be without D Matt Walker who may need hip surgery and could miss some significant time. G Michael Leighton (Back Surgery) and F Ian Lapiererre (post concussion syndrome)
Step Up Players Matt Carle , Hartnell, Meszaros ,Richards