Flyers-Penguins Game Preview: The Renewal of the Keystone Clash

The Philadelphia Flyers kick off the 2021 NHL Season against the arch-rival Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at 5:30 from the Wells Fargo Center.

Hockey season is finally upon us, and the Flyers will start it off in a big way tonight when they face-off against the Keystone state rival Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL’s first game of the shortened 2021 season.

The Flyers went 1-1-1 against the Penguins in the shortened 2019-20 campaign after recovering from an early season blowout loss by splitting a 2-game home and home set sandwiched around the All-Star break with a 3-0 victory and a 4-3 OT loss thanks to a game winning goal from long-time nemesis Sidney Crosby.

The Flyers have evened the playing field in the past two seasons since an embarrassing playoff exit in 2018 in which they surrendered 28 goals to the Penguins in a 6 game series. Philadelphia won 3 out of 4 in the 2018-19 season series. They followed up an emotional comeback victory in the NHL Stadium Series game with a second comeback victory featuring a tying goal within the final minute and subsequent OT winner from the Flyers just three weeks later.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – FEBRUARY 23: The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers walk onto the ice during the 2019 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Lincoln Financial Field on February 23, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

The Flyers now enter the season with legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations and an up-and coming core supplementing their established veterans, while the Penguins look to survive off-season losses Patric Hornqvist and Justin Schultz and capitalize on a shrinking window of opportunity for accomplished veterans like Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang.

Flyers winger Jakub Voracek has put up some good statistics when playing the Penguins in the past 2 seasons, with 5 goals and 3 assists in his last 7 games against Pittsburgh. The Flyers, as is customary, will need to keep an eye on Crosby, who has notched 12 points in the same 7 game span after a storied history of torturing the Orange and Black.

The Flyers are expected to dress 12 forwards, 6 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders.

Per Epd Barkowitz of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the projected lines are as follows:

Forwards

Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny

Claude Giroux-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee

James Van Riemsdyk-Nolan Patrick-Jakub Voracek

Nicholas Aube-Kubel-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Justin Braun

Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers

Robert Haag-Erik Gustafsson

Goaltenders

Carter Hart (starting), Brian Elliot (backup)

Scratches

Morgan Frost

Shayne Gostisbehere – listed as unfit to play, after missing some of training camp

Mark Friedman

 

The matchup never fails to produce passion in Pennsylvania’s two largest cities and their respective fan bases.