Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Game #37 - vs Philadelphia Flyers

2011-12 Game 37

Philadelphia Flyers (21-10-4, 46 points) at Pittsburgh Penguins (21-11-4, 46 points)

Regardless of what happens in his first appearance at Consol, let's not forget that Jagr is one of the all-time greats for the Pens.  Nothing can change that.

Why does it matter?

It's the return of Jagr and Talbot to Pittsburgh, but that's not the important story.  This game is a great match-up of two top teams in the Eastern Conference.  The Pens have a decent record in their division (5-2) but lost their only game so far against the Flyers.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - A four game winning streak, with a totally dominant offensive performance in their most recent outing against Carolina.
  • Flyers - They're going through a power outage right now, with four losses in their past five games.  It makes for great drama on HBO, right?
Questions to be answered
  • Can the Pens forget that the Flyers are struggling?  I ask that because the Flyers peripheral numbers are still very solid.  They're doing OK on the power play, they're out shooting the opposition and they're largely staying out of the box.  These things will lead to wins, and they'll kill the Pens if they don't take them seriously.
  • Will we see Bobrovsky?  He has the last two wins for the Flyers.  Of course, this is the last game before the Winter Classic for Philly, and I'm sure they'll want Bryzgalov to be in good form for that outing.
  • Can the Pens slow down Danny Briere?  He has torched the Pens the past few seasons, with 11 points in 13 games.
Keys to the game
  • Special teams, again.  The Flyers have spent more time on special teams than anyone in the NHL (they lead in power play chances for and against).  Both their PK and PP are streaky.  The Pens need to win this battle.
  • Paul Martin.  The Pens need another strong defensive guy to help contain the multiple lines the Flyers can throw at you.  Hopefully he can return.
  • Ignore the booing of Jagr and (possibly) Talbot.  It will only be a distraction from the important goal, which is two points.

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