Saturday, March 17, 2012

Game #71 - at Philadelphia Flyers

2011-12 Game 71

Pittsburgh Penguins (44-21-5, 93 points) at Philadelphia Flyers (41-22-8, 90 points)

I think this card says it all.  Cup foursomes, indeed.  Go Pens.

Why does it matter?

You figure the Pens have to come down to Earth sometime, but man, I sure hope it isn't against the Flyers.  After the Ranger's loss to the Avs tonight, the Pens can tie the Rangers for the #1 spot in the East by earning two points in Philadelphia tomorrow.  It will be Sid's first trip back to Philly (where he usually gets fired up), as well as a key divisional game.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - If they can keep playing this way, I'm not sure anyone can beat them right now.  Eleven wins in a row.  Wow.
  • Flyers - After losing to Boston in a shootout, the Flyers are 7-1-1 in their past 9 games.
Questions to be answered
  • Do the Flyers finally have a goalie?  Over his past 9 games, Bryzgalov has allowed just 10 goals.  Pretty sharp.
  • Will the Flyers be dumb enough to get Sid and Geno fired up?  If I'm the Flyers, I let sleeping dogs lie and stay away from the dumb stuff.  I can't see the Flyers being that smart.
  • Can the Pens simplify things and adjust to play a defensive style against the Flyers?  It will be needed, as the Flyers are the top scoring team in the NHL (the Pens are #2).
Keys to the game
  • Discipline, both around the stupid stuff you know the Flyers will try, and (more importantly) against the high-powered offense.  Nothing dumb in the gray areas (neutral zone and near the blue lines).
  • Stick up for each other.  I don't think this will be a problem, but everyone needs to pay special attention tomorrow.
  • Roll the lines.  The Pens may be working on some tired legs, especially after getting the Newark monkey off of their backs.  Keep everyone fresh as much as possible.

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