Penguins vs. Flyers
PPG Paints Arena | Pittsburgh, PA
7:00PM Eastern | AT&TSN-PT | NBCSP | ESPN+
Welcome back to Penguins hockey: the only kind of hockey that actually matters to you.
Following a 10 day hiatus, the Penguins and Flyers meet once again to round out their home-and-home series, bookending the bye week and All Star Break.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that this is the longer period of days between home-and-home games. These reports are only unconfirmed because your author refuses to do his due diligence on this particular item. It feels like it has to be true, though, right?
At least it gave the masses enough time to come up with the most sweetest, dopest, and overall cleverest 1975 joke. They are the coolest and everyone should absolutely make them.
Anyway, you may or may not recall that the last time out, the Penguins looked pretty lifeless, managing to score exactly 0 goals on Brian Elliott, a goalie they scored 6 goals against back in October.
That 3-0 defeat could not have left anything other than a sour taste in the flightless ones’ mouths heading into the break, a taste only equalled in bad-ness by that of Cheez-Whiz on a steak sandwich.
With injuries still omnipresent, the Penguins called up Andrew Agozzino and Anthony Angello from WBS. No word on Asking Alexandria’s availability. Rumor has it they have plans for a candlelit dinner with Inamorta.
That is to suggest that Bjugstad (core) and Kahun (concussion) are still coming along in their recoveries and aren’t ready to return to the lineup, while Dumoulin also remains out. Schultz is close and may go, though. If he goes, expect him on the 3rd pairing playing super sheltered minutes.
One lineup decision that will be interesting to see play out is what HCMS rolls with is in goal. Jarry, fresh off his ASG appearance, has seen his SV% at 5v5 and in all situations dip as of late, while Matt Murray has shown himself to be on the upswing in terms of stopping the puck in both areas.
The cowardly Carter Fart continues to refuse to step into the arena against the Penguins, needing 7 more days to recover from an injury.
That leaves Brian Smelliott to tend the twine behind a team that has its own share of injuries. Nolan Patrick (concussion) and Oskar Lindblom (cancer) are out longer term, while Fart, Raffl, and Gostisbehere are also on the shelf.
There isn’t too much to separate these two teams from an offensive standpoint, but where the Penguins blow the Flyers out of the water is on the defensive side of the puck.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- Jake Voracek – Flyera fans have turned on Voracek over the last two seasons just as they’ve turned on every goalie they’ve had since Ron Hextall despite Voracek scoring 66 points in 78 games last season and posting 38 (10G, 28A) in 50 so far this campaign. He’s also a total dick against the Penguins, having scored 22 goals and 20 assists for 42 points in 42 games against the Pens, most against any franchise in his career.
- Special Teams – A lot of Voracek’s lack of scoring over the last two seasons can probably be attributed to the Flyers powerplay falling off a cliff. Both of these teams sit on top of one another in terms of powerplay conversion with the Penguins clicking at 19.6% (17th) and the Flyers at 19.5% (18th). Similarly, they’re both on top of one another in the penalty kill department, successfully killing off penalties at a rate of 82.2% (Flyers, 10th) and 82.1% (Penguins, 11th). The Flyers, though, have been shorthanded the 14th most times in the league this season (152), while the Penguins have been largely disciplined, going shorthanded the 2nd fewest amount of times at 134.
- Sidney Crosby – We know all about Sidney Crosby’s 102 points in 69 (nice) games against the Flyers. Last week’s 3-0 defeat was the 18th time he was held off the scoresheet against the Flyers and just the 4th time since 2017. With that game playing out the way that it played out heading into the break, you can bet your house on Crosby taking this team by the scruff of the neck and beating the brakes off the Flyers tonight.
Down the Flyers.