The Flyers Start One More Run at the Playoffs Against Pittsburgh
Philadelphia Flyers (13-16-1) at Pittsburgh Penguins (24-8-0)
CONSOL Energy Center — Pittsburgh, PA
7:30 p.m. on NBCSN and 97.5 FM The Fanatic
Setting the Stage
The Penguins are on an 11-game winning streak. The Flyers haven't played in six days. It's a story of parody, and the Flyers have a long road ahead of them starting against the hated Penguins.
This is the fourth and final meeting between the two teams. The Penguins lead the series, 2-1, with each road team getting the win. The Flyers are 7-1 lifetime at the CONSOL Energy Center as well.
It was announced this morning that Danny Briere will not be in the lineup tonight. General manager Paul Homgren said that Briere was injured in practice yesterday. He's listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury.
Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin will not play either. He said his shoulder isn't at 100%. Kris Letang is a game time decision.
The Flyers are currently last in the Atlantic Division and are 13th in the conference. They are five points out of the 8th spot though. They need to start a winning streak if they want to get back into the playoff mix.
What to Expect
One of two Flyers teams can show up.
There's the one that will have an answer for everything Pittsburgh does, wanting revenge on their blown 4-1 lead in a 5-4 loss in their last meeting on March 7. They are desperate for some good karma and a huge win over the Penguins could spark that good karma.
Then there's the Flyers team of the first 30 games. Inconsistency, no sense of urgency and they'll just disappear and fold under the pressure of a possibly lost season. The Penguins are an incredibly hot team, winning 11 straight, and could be too much for the Flyers.
The Masked Men
After six days off, Ilya Bryzgalov will make his 29th start. He's 13-13-1 with a 2.79 GAA and .898 save percentage.
Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start for the Penguins. Fleury is 16-5 with a 2.38 GAA and .912 save percentage.
Keys to the Game
1. Set the Pace. It worked in the first period of their last meeting when the Flyers jumped out to a commanding 4-1 lead. Pittsburgh is a fast team, the Flyers are too, but it's not their style. Grind out the Pens and they stand a chance.
2. Don't Let Up. Unlike the last meeting, the Flyers have to keep their foot on the gas. They've had tendencies all season of just disappearing in the third.
3. Stay Out of the Box. Pittsburgh is dangerous at even strength due to their speed. They are even more dangerous with the extra man. At 23.9%, they have the second best power play unit in the NHL. And with 3.50 goals per game, they are the most volatile offense in the league.
“It’s good for a guy who takes on a workload like that to get away." - Head coach Peter Laviolette on the break for Ilya Bryzgalov.