For the third time in 23 days these two teams will battle for the pride of Pennsylvania.The Flyers are coming off of a great effort against the Buffalo Sabres in which they won the game by the score of 6-3.
This offensive breakout was well over due and got much needed help in the way of the man advantage, scoring three of their six goals on the power play.
Sergei Bobrovsky had a good game until the third period when it seemed the team had sat back a little and let Buffalo make it close.Bobrovsky finished the game with a season high 32 shots.
The Penguins take on the Flyers tonight coming off of a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night,the Penguins scored all three of their goals in the first period.
An interesting note about two of the goals scored by the Pens in the first period.They were short handed goals scored by Craig Adams and Matt Cooke.
The Penguins are 2-1 so far this year against the Flyers. The last time they met was in Philly on Oct 16, the Pens won that game 5-1 and handed Bobrovsky his worse loss of the season.
The Pens came into that game 1-3-1, since the 5-1 win in Philly the Pens have gone 4-1-1. On the other end of the stick the Flyers came into that game 2-1-1, since then they have went 2-4 which dropped them to fourth in the division.
In The Nets
Sergei Bobrovsky 3-2 2.83 GAA .904 SV% - He gave up five goals the last time he faced the Pens, although he did win his NHL debut in Pitt on opening night making him undefeated at the CONSOL Center.
Marc-Andre Fleury 1-4 3.41 GAA .861 SV% - He is having a terrible start of the season this year. Backup Brent Johnson has made a case for himself he is 4-0-1 with a 1.39 GAA causing another goalie controversy in Pennsylvania .
Flyin' Off The Handle
Looks like Peter Laviolette is trying to find a way to get Nikolay Zherdev going offensively, just don't know if putting him on the fourth line with Betts and Shelley is going to do it. This coming after probably Zherdev's best performance of the season.
In the past we have seen this coach motivate the team a few different ways. There was the big time out against Boston in the playoffs last year that he called when the Flyers were down 3-0 in game 7.
Just recently after the Flyers were spanked against the Blue Jackets he called a closed door meeting and ripped the team for their "mindless play", they responded with the 6-3 win against Buffalo the very next game.
This Zherdev move has the fans scratching their heads, after all how will Betts and Shelley get him going offensively? He needs more ice time not less to get him going, he needs more power play time and more time on a top line.
This is going to go one of two ways, either Zherdev gets a hair up his ass after this demotion and earns his way back or he folds up, gets down on himself and plays even worse than before.
The Flyers brought him in here to score goals and knew he had defensive awareness issues. Whether the coach wanted him on the team or not is another story,maybe this move has more than one message.
On The Lookout
Briere has been on fire and is on a three game scoring streak,he leads the team in goals with six. Hartnell is on a five game scoring streak, and Leino has scored 2 goals in the last three games. There is a nice chemistry between them right now so look for that line to keep it going tonight.
Keep an eye on Bobrovsky as this will be the third time the Pens have seen him, expect some high long range shots on him tonight as that is the early book on him.
There will also be some new line combinations as Nodl will move up with Richards and JVR as Giroux, Carter and Powe will also be together and Zherdev, Betts and Shelley as mentioned above. Look for the players on these lines to get shuffled around a bit during the course of the game.
What can't happen tonight is undisciplined hockey, the Flyers can not give the Pens many power play opportunities.
The Pens are coming off of a road trip where they were 0-14 on the power play. Tonight seems like it would be a good night for the Pens to break that streak against the Flyers. The Flyers have to contain Crosby, he is a Flyer killer and seems to thrive playing against them.
In 33 career regular season games against the Flyers Crosby has 29 goals and 59 pts and has a 1.79 PPG. Just last game against the Flyers he netted two goals and added 1 assist to lead the Pens to the 5-1 win on Oct 16.
He is not the only one who like playing against the Flyers, Malkin in 28 games has 15 goals and 40 pts . Craig Adams has been hot lately for the Pens posting a three point night Wednesday against the Lightning.
Contain those guys, keep odd man advantages down, pressure the puck and the Flyers will have a chance tonight.
Tonight starts the Flyers annual Dad's weekend. This is where dad's of the players go on the road with the team and get to see what their son's go through on a daily basis in the NHL.
They will accompany them on their team dinners, morning skates and most importantly will get to hang with their son's. This weekend's trip will consist of 13 players dad's and relatives.
Step Up Players
Pronger, Richards, JVR