PITTSBURGH PENGUINS @ PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Thursday, March 7 — 7:00 PM — Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
While the Philadelphia Flyers are still struggling to stay in the playoff picture, they are not the same team that the Penguins have seen in their previous two meetings. While the Flyers are only 5-5 in their last ten, they have fought their way back into playoff contention, sitting in 9th place in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers will be coming off of a 4-2 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, but no matter how this team is playing, they always bring their A game whenever they meet the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Flyers and Penguins have split their previous two meetings this season. Philadephia managed to stave off the Penguins’ third period rally as Jacub Voracek squeaked the game winner behind Tomas Vokoun to finish off his hat trick and give Philadelphia a 6-5 win in Pittsburgh.
“It’s always nice to see the orange jersey, to see them on our schedule. We know what they’re going to try to do. We just have to do a better job.”– Pascal Dupuis
(Credit: Josh Yohe, Trib Live)
Pittsburgh: PP (25.6%, 3rd) PK (80.9%, 18th)
Philadelphia: PP (22.6%, 6th) PK (84%, 8th)
- The Penguins have given up more than half of their goals in the second period with a league worst 34, while holding teams to just 11 in the first and 22 in the third.
- The Flyers have scored 25 in the second period, more than any other period.
- The Penguins are second in the league with 30 third period goals.
- The Flyers enter tonight’s game with a 7-3-1 record at home and the Penguins are 9-4-0 on the road.In the two games between the Penguins and Flyers, Paul Martin leads all players in scoring with five points (1G, 4A).
- Jacub Voracek has the most goals with three and Tanner Glass leads the way with nine PIMs.
- Ilya Brygalov has started 22 out of 24 games for the Flyers this season and will make his 8th straight start tonight.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Penguins: Evgeni Malkin
5G, 18A, 23P, -3, 30 PIM
In his first game back from injury, Malkin looked like the dominant player that we’ve all become familiar with since he entered the league. He has been putting up numbers all season, but he had yet to take over a game the way he did against Tampa Bay. He could also be the player to cause the Penguins to become unglued if he can’t stay disciplined. The Penguins need a focused and composed Evgeni Malkin to show up if they want to come out of Philadelphia with two points.
Flyers: Wayne Simmonds
10G, 8A, 18 P, +1, 46 PIM
He’s scored goals in three straight games and he has four in his last five. He is a true power forward who is in the prime of his career. He’s exactly the type of player who can give the Penguins defensemen fits. Pittsburgh will have to play strong around their own net and not allow him an avenue to cut in front of the net. Simmonds will look to make his home in front of Fleury on the power play. He’s also prone to a fight or two, so if Deryk Engelland wants to drop the mitts with someone, that’s a tradeoff the Penguins would probably be willing to make.
Though it’s pretty difficult to overlook Jacub Voracek in this category as well, who has tortured the Penguins over the past two seasons with 6 goals and 6 assists.
This is pretty much a crapshoot. Matt Read took the morning skate and indicates that he is still in a lot of pain, but says he’s ready to play if needed. The reality is, rib injuries don’t heal overnight and as of yesterday he was still 2-4 weeks from a return. Nick Grossman is another question mark, though I’d guess that he is a lot closer than Read.
PROBABLE FLYERS LINES
Flyers defensemen Nick Grossman is considered day-to-day after suffering a lower body injury against the Rangers on Tuesday. He’ll be a game time decision.
Matt Read (Ribs)
Nick Grossman (lower-body)
Andrej Meszaros (Shoulder)
Chris Pronger (Concussion)
Jody Shelley (Hip)
PROBABLE PENGUINS LINES
Bennett moves to the second line with Malkin and Neal and Joe Vitale will replace Dustin Jeffrey in the lineup. Vitale brings a little bit more grit to the fourth line and he’s better in the faceoff circle. Mark Eaton stays in and it looks like Engelland will round out the third defensive pairing for the Penguins.
Paul Martin (Lower Body)
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