This is it. The night Penguins fans have been waiting for since JagrWatch ended. The Philadelphia Flyers (21-10-4) come to town to face the Pittsburgh Penguins (21-11-4).
- The Flyers have the NHL’s second-ranked offense, scoring at a 3.40 goals/game pace, but rank just 20th in team defense at 2.91 goals against/game.
- Meanwhile, the Penguins have the fifth best offense in the NHL at 3.19 goals/game, but also have a top ten defense at 2.53 goals against/game.
- Sergei Bobrovsky (7-2-1, 2.57, .913 sv%) gets the nod for the Flyers over Ilya Bryzgalov, who the team signed to a deal worth nearly $6 million per year through 2020 this summer.
- Marc-Andre Fleury (19-7-2, 2.24, .916) will be in net for the Penguins. Fleury is 20-11-0 in his career against Philadelphia, but his mediocre 2.73 GAA and .906 SV% aren’t as impressive.
- Claude Giroux leads the NHL in points with 44 in 31 games for 1.43 per game. He’s been absolutely dominant this season, and is cementing himself among the game’s best.
- Evgeni Malkin is right behind Giroux with 42 points in 29 games, but his 1.45 per game give him the slight edge.
- It sucks to admit, but the Flyers are probably deepest offensive team in NHL. They get solid goal scoring through through their fourth line. Fleury and the Pens’ defense will have to be up to the task tonight.
- Jaromir Jagr is 3rd on the team with 11 goals and 30 points in 31 games. Solid season so far from the 75-year-old.
- Scott Hartnell is having a nice breakout year. He scored 30 goals and 30 assists in 2008-09, but is on pace for 40 goals and 37 assists this season.
- Max Talbot has nine goals and six assists in 35 games this season after recording career highs of 13 goals and 11 assists in Pittsburgh in 2006-07
- Chris Kunitz was dealing with an illness, but participated fully in today’s optional morning skate and will play.
- No changes on the Penguins’ blue line as Paul Martin remains out.
- Jagr is still a douche.
This is a big one for the Penguins. I’m expecting plenty of energy and plenty of goals from both sides. The fans know how big this one is, and that can only add to the game.
Fleury has to be on his game and Simon Despres will have to continue to play a solid game on defense if the Penguins want to muffle the Flyers’ offense.
I expect Malkin and James Neal‘s point streaks to continue in a high-octane game.
Let’s Go Pens.