Wells Fargo Center
It feels more than a little bit like playoff time already. Outside of the actual postseason, this is as big as it gets. After everything the Pens have been through this year, they still sit four points out of first-place in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference. The Flyers have a game in hand. This is big time:
The Flyers are 4-3-3 in their last ten. The Pens are 6-2-2. There is no bigger challenge for this Pittsburgh team than the game tonight. This game will show if they can compete amongst the best in the conference. The hate is there, the desire is there, the will is there. Will the results follow?
Wonder if we're going to hear "Crosby Sucks" chants tonight?
Know your enemy: Flyers Goal Scored By
What they're saying about the Penguins:
The Penguins have had a rough year. "Rough", is putting it gently. They have lost Geno for the year, and Crosby been out since January. Sid the Kid is suffering from concussion symptoms, the same problem that forced Lappy into retirement, and what turned our Big E into a shell of his former self. Crosby and Malkin are not the only two players the Pens have lost. Jordan Staal, Asham, Orpik, Tangradi, Comrie, Letestu and the entire starting offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Add to the injuries the pressure to win another Cup with this young core AND the shenanigans of one Matt Cooke, and this Penguins season resembles more of a shit show than a Cup contender. But here they sit, 5 points below us, still in the thick of it, and currently set to host a first round playoff series. I've watched the Pens a lot this year. Expecting them to blow up, but they haven't. It's even more frustrating than watching the win. I give their coach, Dan Bylsma, a lot of credit. He's kept the team focused and their energy high. Looking at this game on paper, you see the lineups stacked heavily in the Flyers favor, but this Penguins team won't go down without a fight.
Season series: Flyers Lead 3-1
Last meeting: December 14, 2010 - Flyers Won 3-2
What we said in our recap:
Yeah, no joke -- Your winning streak gets snapped at 12 games. And the Flyers are the ones who did it. It strikes that hockey nerve. Might piss everyone off a little bit, but that's just business in the NHL. At least you can break whatever annoying superstition you had during the streak. Unless your superstition involves licking our balls. As for the game itself, the Pens didn't play great, and they didn't play terrible. A few of the wins in the tail end of the streak didn't see the Pens playing terribly hot, either. Got to hand it to Laviolette. Under his tutelage, the Flyers don't dig themselves into holes anymore, at least not against the Penguins. Usually in a game like this, which Versus kept reminding us was the be-all end-all of professional hockey games, the Flyers would let their animosity toward the Pens get the better of them, and the Pens would cruise. Not anymore.
Eric at the dominant Wilkes-Blog mentioned this earlier: the Penguins have recalled Brad Thiessen from the AHL.
No Orpik yet, but soon.
Fleury will be in net for the Pens.
Jody Shelley will miss about four weeks.
Bobrovsky in net for Philly.
Favorite Flyers-related Photoshop or gif:
Retro Video City:
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
James Neal - Dustin Jeffrey - Alexei Kovalev
Pascal Dupuis - Max Talbot - Chris Conner
Mike Rupp - Craig Adams - Arron Asham
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen - Kris Letang
Ben Lovejoy - Deryk Engelland
Flyers Lines from Empty Netters:
Scott Hartnell - Daniel Briere - Ville Leino
Andreas Nodl - Claude Giroux - Jeff Carter
James van Riemsdyk - Mike Richards - Kris Versteeg
Darroll Powe - Blair Betts - Daniel Carcillo
Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Matt Carle - Andrej Meszaros
Sean O'Donnell - Nick Boynton
"Get busy living, or get busy dying."