Saturday, February 18, 2012

Game #58 - at Philadelphia Flyers

2011-12 Game 58

Pittsburgh Penguins (32-20-5, 69 points) at Philadelphia Flyers (32-18-7, 71 points)

Giroux is taking his place among the game's best players.

Why does it matter?

The Pens have a chance to take over second place in the division and the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference with a regulation win over the Flyers.  That would be a strong step towards earning home ice in the playoffs.  Oh, and winning in Philadelphia is always nice.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - The Ducks made road kill out of the Pens on Wednesday.
  • Flyers - They've struggled lately, especially in the division, but they just blasted the Sabres on Thursday.
Questions to be answered
  • Can the Pens start to win consistently in their own division?  They'll need to if they want home ice in the playoffs.
  • Can any line other than the first one generate pressure?  That was non-existent on Wednesday against the Ducks.
  • Will the Pens be able to shut down all of the scoring lines from the Flyers?  At least the top three lines are a consistent threat to score, and the Flyers are tops in the NHL in goals per game.
Keys to the game
  • Use special teams to your advantage.  Buffalo game aside, the Flyers have been inept recently both on the power play and the penalty kill.  The Pens need to encourage them to return to those ways.
  • Limit their chances.  The Flyers like to rack up the shots, but the Pens have had some success in keeping them in check.
  • Make smart line change and match up well.  It will be important not to get the wrong line trapped out there against Giroux.

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