GAME DAY REPORT: Game 1 – Pens @ Flyers

It wasn’t just a bad preformance in last years playoffs against the Flyers that looked bad for Marc-Andre Fleury, his regular season numbers against them were nothing to write home about either.

Flower appeared in all six games against the Flyers in the 2011-12 regular season, posting less-than-stellar numbers against the Orange and Black. He posted a 1-3-1 record, 19 Goals Against (3.41 GAA), and a save percentage of just .872.

The Pens finished 2-3-1 against the Flyers in 2011-12. Can they start off 2013 on the right foot? Starting off the season with a win would do a lot to exercise the demons from last years underachieving playoff performance and every game in this condensed 2013 schedule matters immensely, especially against teams within your own division.

The Penguins and Flyers both boast much different teams than last season. For the Penguins, they’ve lost Jordan Staal, Zbynek Michalek, Richard Park, and Arron Asham. The Pens have added guys like Brandon SutterTanner Glass, Eric Tangradi, Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo.

The Flyers will be without Daniel Briere, who is nursing a wrist injury. Philadelphia also lost Jaromir Jagr, Sergei Bobrovsky, James van Riemsdyk  and Matt Carle. They did add former Penguins, Ruslan Fedotenko along with Kurtis Foster, Bruno Gervais and Luke Shenn.

LAST SEASON
Last season, Evgeni Malkin lead the Penguins in scoring against the cross-state rivals with 9 points (3G-6A) in 6 games.

Captain Sidney Crosby missed a majority of last season with a concussion, but posted 4 points (1G-3A) against the Flyers in just three games.

Claud Giroux topped the Flyers scoring list against the Pens with 8 points (1G-7A) in 5 games.

SPECIAL TEAMS
The Penguins Power Play went 3 for 22 (13.6%) in the season series and their PK stopped 23 of 29 opportunities (79.3%)

The Flyers Power Play was strong going 6 for 29 (20.7%) against the Pens and their PK stopped 19 of 22 (86.4%)

Coach Dan Bylsma plans on playing Crosby on the new-look PK Unit.

LINES:
Flyers lines according to Sam Carchidi ‏(@BroadStBull)
Hartnell-Giroux-Schenn
Talbot-Couturier-Voracek
Simmonds-Laughton-Read
Fedetenko-Wellwood-Rinaldo.

Likely Penguins lines
Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis
Tangradi-Malkin-Neal
Cooke-Sutter-Kennedy
Glass-Jeffrey-Adams

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
For the Penguins, keep an eye on Brandon Sutter. His first game with the Penguins will be a big one and against a team he didn’t particularly fare well against last season. In four games against the Flyers as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, Sutter had zero points and was a minus 4.

Crosby and Malkin are also going to be players to watch, as they are every game, but these two would love to prove that last season’s playoff matchups against Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn were a fluke.

For the Flyers, watch for Sean Couturier. Couturier did a great job of neutralizing NHL MVP, Evgeni Malkin in the playoffs as a rookie. Will he be able to prove to be one of the NHL’s best two-way forwards in only his second year?

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