NHL Preview: Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins

By Deanna Vasso
Ilya Bryzgalov needs to watch out for James Neal
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After a great win against the New York Islanders, the Philadelphia Flyers head to Pittsburgh to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday at the Consol Energy Center. Other than their last game, it’s been a pretty rough road tour for the Flyers, so they really need to get back to the Wells Fargo Center. However, captain Claude Giroux did ream out his team after their 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, which is what lit a fire underneath the team on Monday. The question is: can they maintain this momentum for their game against the Penguins?

No matter what, we’re not going to see the Flyers score seven goals in this game. Let’s be realistic, Penguins starter goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is a two-time World Junior Champion and Stanley Cup Champion for a reason. He is a really impressive goalie, who like captain Sidney Crosby, the Penguins are never going to let go. Fleury is going to cause a lot of trouble for the Flyers on Wednesday, but he’s not the only one.

While Crosby was out on his concussion last season, the rest of the Penguins learned how to not rely on one superstar. Evgeni Malkin took the helm and led the team and he continues to show why he was the MVP last season. The Flyers will also need to watch out for Chris Kunitz who follows Crosby in points (19) but most especially they need to be on the lookout for James Neal. Neal leads the Penguins in goals (11), and is going to be charging at Ilya Bryzgalov’s net as much as he possibly can. The Flyers defense is definitely going to need to target him all throughout the game.

Flyers fans hate to admit the Penguins are a good team, mostly because we just really hate them, but there is a reason why they are leading the Eastern Conference (11-5-0) and a reason why the Flyers are towards the back end (7-9-1). Since the opener where the Flyers dropped the game to the Penguins 3-1, we know this is going to be a huge battle for Philadelphia, and we have to stop using the grueling schedule as an excuse.

With Giroux starting to get more comfortable in his role as captain, he’s sure to give the Flyers a pep talk before the game. His line of Matt Read and Jakub Voracek will also need to be on fire again in this game. This  might just be the type of battle the Flyers need for them to overcome their struggles this season. Either way, we know for sure that these two teams hate each other so expect something interesting to happen.

I can’t wait to see Giroux deck Crosby. Let’s go Flyers!

Deanna Vasso is a Flyers contributor for rantsports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @Dmvasso.

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