A mere 48 hours after the first matchup of the season, the Flyers and Penguins are back for the second half of a home and home series. This time, the action takes place in Philadelphia.
Last time out, the Flyers found a way to earn their first comeback win of the season. That was largely due to a penalty killing unit that stopped all five attempts thrown their way and even added in a goal of their own. Even a late goal by Jake Guentzel, who had two on the night, wasn’t enough to deter Philadelphia. They skated away with the 4-3 shootout victory.
Coming off that first comeback win of the season should provide the Flyers with a bit of energy. Getting the monkey off their back in that regard will only continue the belief that this team has when it comes to fighting back. It hasn’t been showing up in their record previously. Playing a familiar opponent helps as well, even though Pittsburgh is likely to come out even hungrier in this one.
It’s also another chance for the Flyers penalty kill to show off. Now a top-10 unit, the group has killed off 32 of 34 penalties in the last 10 games. That’s an impressive 94.1% streak. Facing a power play that is clicking at just 10.9% could further the confidence that this unit has.
Flyers Projected Lineup
Tyson Foerster – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny
Owen Tippett – Morgan Frost – Bobby Brink
Joel Farabee – Scott Laughton – Cam Atkinson
Nicolas Deslauriers – Ryan Poehling – Garnet Hathaway
Cam York – Travis Sanheim
Nick Seeler – Sean Walker
Marc Staal – Rasmus Ristolainen
The Penguins have not scored a power play goal in their last 27 attempts. Their last goal on the man advantage came from Erik Karlsson against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 11. With weapons like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel, and others, that is a very surprising and alarming stat.
Having even just a league average power play could certainly help the Penguins out. Too many games have likely been lost because they couldn’t score with that unit. Whether it’s a personnel problem or a coaching issue, it’s something the team needs to figure out fast. They are two points out of a playoff spot at the moment and while there’s still plenty of time left in the season, righting that unit has to be at the top of their list.
Guentzel has taken over the team lead in points (27) after his two-goal effort on Saturday. He also have a five-game point streak in which he has six points. Crosby still leads the team in goals with 14. Alex Nedeljkovic will get a rare start in net but his numbers are impressive even in a limited role. In just four games, he has a 2.26 GAA and a .937 SV%. It’s his first action since Nov. 24.
Penguins Projected Lineup
Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust
Reilly Smith – Evgeni Malkin – Drew O’Connor
Radim Zohorna – Lars Eller – Vinnie Hinostroza
Jansen Harkins – Joona Koppanen – Jeff Carter
Ryan Graves – Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson – Erik Karlsson
Ryan Shea – John Ludvig
Where, When, and How to Watch/Listen
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Live Stream: FuboTV
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