The Pittsburgh Penguins are riding a two-game winning streak into Philadelphia for round three versus the Flyers. The Penguins are coming off a 4-3 victory over the spiraling Tampa Bay Lightning. Philadelphia comes into the second straight Atlantic division game looking to rebound from a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers.
When and where: Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia, PA); 7:00 p.m./et (ROOT Sports, NHL Network, CSN-PH)
Season series: Series tied at 1.
Last meeting: The Penguins and Flyers put on a classic the last time they met on February 20. The Penguins were able to overcome 4-2 and 5-3 deficits to tie the game at five, but came up short when Jakub Voracek completed his hat trick with less than two minutes remaining in regulation to give the Flyers the 6-5 victory. Voracek wasn’t the only “Penguin killer” that night, as Wayne Simmonds added two goals and an assist. Simmonds also had a scrap with Tanner Glass for the Gordie Howe hat trick. Paul Martin contributed three assists on goals from Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy, and Brandon Sutter.
Keys to the game:
1. Get to Bryzgalov early: As the Rangers showed on Tuesday, and the Penguins did during their previous two meetings with Philadelphia, it is possible to crack Ilya Bryzgalov early in games. On Tuesday, Ryan Callahan was able to get a puck behind Bryzgalov a little over a minute into the game, and the Penguins have done the same within the first five minutes of the opening faceoff of their previous two meetings.
2. Defense: Based on last year’s playoff series and the last game between these two rivals, it would appear that defense is optional. The Flyers have had multiple injuries to their blue line and the Penguins have had issues, as of late, clearing out bodies in front of the net. The team that decides it is going to play some defense will have the advantage in the contest.
Penguins: D Paul Martin (lower body)
Flyers: D Chris Pronger (concussion), RW Matt Read (ribs), LW Tye McGinn (orbital bone), D Andrej Meszaros (shoulder), LW Jody Shelley (hip), D Nicklas Grossmann (hip), D Kurtis Foster (illness)
-Here’s a fun fact (via @JoshYohe_Trib): The Pens are 5-10 in their last 15 against the Flyers. In the 10 games they've lost, they've blown a lead in 8 of them.
-Harry Zolnierczyk will be sitting out tonight’s game while serving a four-game suspension for his hit on Senator’s defenseman Mike Lundin.
Penguins (via penguins.nhl.com)
14 Chris Kunitz-87 Sidney Crosby (C)-9 Pascal Dupuis
19 Beau Bennett-71 Evgeni Malkin (A)-18 James Neal
24 Matt Cooke-16 Brandon Sutter-48 Tyler Kennedy
10 Tanner Glass-46 Joe Vitale-27 Craig Adams
44 Brooks Orpik-7 Paul Martin
2 Matt Niskanen-58 Kris Letang
4 Mark Eaton-5 Deryk Engelland
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
Flyers (via dailyfaceoff.com)
19 Scott Hartnell (A)-28 Claude Giroux (C)-93 Jakub Voracek
10 Brayden Schenn-48 Danny Briere-17 Wayne Simmonds
12 Simon Gagne-14 Sean Couturier-25 Max Talbot
36 Zac Rinaldo-26 Ruslan Fedotenko-24 Matt Read/3 Kurtis Foster
44 Kimmo Timonen (A)-22 Luke Schenn
8 Nicklas Grossmann-5 Braydon Coburn
29 Erik Gustafsson-27 Bruno Gervais
30 Ilya Bryzgalov