Thursday, December 08, 2011

Game #29 - at Philadelphia Flyers

2011-12 Game 29

Pittsburgh Penguins (16-8-4, 36 points) at Philadelphia Flyers (16-7-3, 35 points)
Matt Read is the best Flyer you've never heard of.  He's a rookie who has 11 goals in 23 games.

Why does it matter?

As daunting as the game looked on Monday night against the Bruins, this one might be worse.  The Pens will play without Sidney Crosby, and they'll face a team that has 7 forwards with at least 7 goals, and they're all healthy.  Jagr is playing again, as is van Riemsdyk.  If the Flyers use Bryzgalov, it only gets worse, because he has been excellent against the Pens while with the Coyotes.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - They were steamrolled by a hot team with a hot goalie at home on Monday against the Bruins.
  • Flyers - They've won three straight and five of their past six, though they did have to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the first period last night.
Questions to be answered
  • What will it be like to watch Max Talbot in a Flyers uniform?  He's doing well for them - he has 13 points (7 + 6) in 26 games and is on pace for over 20 goals this year.
  • Can the Pens beat whoever the goalie is?  The Flyers are not near the top of the league in goals against, so the opportunity is there.
  • Will we see the excellent defensive team hockey since Sid is out?  That's the #1 way I think the Pens can come out with two points.
Keys to the game
  • Defensive diligence by the forwards.  They have to help out with the firepower the Flyers can bring, especially considering the Pens will still likely be starting Picard, Bortuzzo and Despres.
  • Limit their chances.  Stay out of the box and keep them locked down.  You don't want to get into a shootout against these guys.
  • Keep skating.  The Flyers will put you on the power play if you use your legs.  Daniel Briere has 30 PIM in just 24 games.  Hartnell has 28 in 26.  Out work them and get to the power play.

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