4:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Last game of the season and while it is against the Flyers it means about just as much as a preseason game between the Penguins and Blue Jackets. The Penguins and Flyers are both set in their playoff positioning which also means that they will be playing each other when the best of seven series starts next week (probably Wednesday).
I honestly have no idea what is going to happen today. I am sure the Flyers are still pretty pissed about what happened about a week ago even though the situation was clearly started by the Flyers. You know for as much as teams like the Flyers and Rangers say the Penguins whine those teams seem to be whining a lot.
One thing that I really don't like is that the Penguins recalled Steve MacIntyre but it does not seem that he is going to play. If the Penguins do put MacIntyre into the lineup I think that would be a little gutless of Dan Bylsma to put him into the lineup because MacIntyre doesn't really qualify as someone who should be in an NHL game. I am sure he is a great guy off the lice but he really brings nothing to the table but trouble. If the Penguins put him on the ice it sends the message that they are out there for trouble and I hate that. I don't have a problem with fighting when it comes within the context of the game but when you put players like that into the game just to fight then I think that is disrespectful and I really don't think the Penguins will do that.
On the topic of fighting I am sure that Joe Vitale is going to have to throw down the gloves at some point early in the game for the hit he put on Danny Briere last time. This is a part of the game I also thing is stupid. If Vitale threw an illegal check last game and that is the reason that Briere is hurt then I could see the Flyers wanting him to throw down and pay for that but it was a clean check. Saying it was a clean check isn't being a homer because Briere himself said it was a good hit. I am not sure why he would have to answer for a clean hit but I guess it is part of "the code" of hockey which is amazingly stupid. Just play the game and if you don't want certain players to get hit then don't put them on the ice.
Sergei Bobrovsky is starting in net today for the Flyers. He is 5-0 all-time at the CEC and if he would win today he will have never lost there. Would the Flyers start him in net in the playoffs? He has dominated the Flyers but they are paying Ilya Bryzgalov a ton of money to be the number one guy. Could get sticky in Philadelphia.
The season series (Philadelphia leads 4-1):
December 8, 2011 - Philadelphia 3, Pittsburgh 2
December 29, 2011 - Philadelphia 4, Pittsburgh 2
February 18, 2012 - Pittsburgh 6, Philadelphia 4
March 18, 2012 - Philadelphia 3, Pittsburgh 2
April 4, 2012 - Philadelphia 6, Pittsburgh 4
The Penguins probables (via Empty Netters):
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Richard Park
Eric Tangradi - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Craig Adams - Joe Vitale - Dustin Jeffrey
Kris Letang - Paul Martin
Zbynek Michalek - Brooks Orpik
Brian Strait - Deryk Engelland
Marc Andre Fleury
The Flyers probables (via Empty Netters):
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Brayden Schenn - Matt Read - Wayne Simmonds
Maxime Talbot - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
Jody Shelley - Eric Wellwood - Zac Rinaldo
Matt Carle - Kimmo Timonen
Pavel Kubina - Braydon Coburn
Andreas Lilja - Marc-Andre Bourdon