7:30 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Last Penguins Game:
March 22, 2013 - Pittsburgh 4, NY Islanders 2 [Recap]
The Penguins are back on the ice after an off day and the Flyers are back on the ice for the first time in almost a week. Now, things are always going to even out but it is really hard to understand the Flyers getting so many days off in such a condensed schedule. Now that being said the Flyers before this and after this will have to play more games in less days so it is all going to even out but I really don't think this means a whole lot in the grand scheme.
The Flyers are in a bad place. Right now they are five points out of the final playoff spot and they are 21 points behind the Penguins in the standings. That being said they are the team that gives the Penguins the most problems and so far this year these games have been all over the place. The first meeting was a tight checking 3-1 win for the Penguins and then it went to a crazy 6-5 win for the Flyers in the second meeting in one of the best regular season contests that I have watched in some time. The last time they met the Flyers were up 4-1 after one period of play and forced the Penguins to yank starter Marc-Andre Fleury only to see the Penguins completely dominate periods two and three and stun the Flyers with a 5-4 comeback win. That last win over the Flyers was the third in the now 11 game winning streak.
Needless to say this is going to be a pretty outstanding game no matter what. The Flyers just have that thing that gets under the Penguins skin and makes them go crazy. Kris Letang isn't going to be playing tonight but guys like him and James Neal just lose all control when they play the Flyers. Neal and Scott Harnell do not like each other (to say the least) and both of them will likely take a horrible penalty in the first five minutes of the game.
Word is that Claude Giroux is going to be in the lineup tonight. I assume this is his first game of the season because he has been invisible all season.
Jakub Voracek has not been invisible. He has killed the Penguins and pretty much every other team this season. He has been nothing short of outstanding this season and has five goals against Pittsburgh in his three games while only playing 17:31 minutes a night against Pittsburgh. He kills them on the power play and kills them at even strength. He must be marked today.
Honestly no idea what to think of Ilya Bryzgalov. Sometimes he is really good and other times he is really bad. In three starts against the Penguins this year he has given up 11 goals and has only a .851 save percentage stopping 63 of the 74 shots fired at him. He was yanked after giving up four goals in 16 shots in the last meeting and in the game before that he gave up five goals. He can be really good if he gets on a roll but who knows when you get that.
Fleury is in the net tonight after getting a few days off with Tomas Vokoun getting the start on Friday in New York. He has been nothing less than outstanding in his last four starts giving up only four goals that includes a shutout. In two starts against the Flyers this year he has a nice game (one goal allowed in the season opener) and a really bad game (four goals in one period and gets yanked in the last game) so hopefully his hot streak continues and the Penguins pick up two more points and extends the win streak to 12.
Pittsburgh (24-8-0) (via Penguins website)
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Beau Bennett - Dustin Jeffrey - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen - Mark Eaton
Simon Despres - Deryk Engelland
Philadelphia (13-16-1) (via Penguins website)
Matt Read - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
Simon Gagne - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
Scott Hartnell - Max Talbot - Danny Briere
Ruslan Fedotenko - Sean Couturier - Zac Rinaldo
Kimmo Timonen - Luke Schenn
Braydon Coburn - Nicklas Grossmann
Bruno Gervais - Andrej Meszaros
The Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 2-1-0)
March 7, 2013 - Pittsburgh 5, Philadelphia 4
February 20, 2013 - Philadelphia 6, Pittsburgh 5
January 19, 2013 - Pittsburgh 3, Philadelphia 1