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Penguins vs. Flyers Game Preview

Monday, 03.28.2011 / 9:00 PM / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Flyers Game Preview
Pittsburgh Penguins
Overall:
45-23-8-98
Home: 24-13-2-50
Road: 21-10-6-48

WHEN: March 29, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH:
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
Philadelphia Flyers
Overall:
45-20-10-100
Home: 21-11-6-48
Road:
24-9-4-52

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers 
 
      
Mike Richards
C  -  #18
  21 Goals
  41 Assists
  62 Points
• Has seven points (2G-5A) in his last eight games and two goals in his last five after a nine-game scoreless drought.

• With his goal on March 24 against the Penguins, the 24-year-old Flyers captain now has 31 points (6G-25A) and 108 shots on goal in 39 career games against Pittsburgh.

• Has now notched at least 62 points in each of his last four seasons, as he tallied 62 points in 2009-10 after scoring 80 points in 2008-09 and 75 points in 2007-08.
 
Kris Versteeg
RW  -  #10
  20 Goals
  23 Assists
  43 Points
• Scored the Flyers’ lone goal in their 2-1 loss to Boston on Sunday, his second in four games and his third point in that span.

• Acquired by Philadelphia from Toronto on Feb. 15 in exchange for a first- and third-round draft pick in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.

• The feisty winger was a solid third-line scoring threat in Chicago’s playoff run last season, posting 14 points (6G-8A) through 22 games as the Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup.
 
Andrej Meszaros
D  -  #41
  6 goals
  20 assists
  26 points
• Has been an absolute physical force over his last five games, throwing a total of 24 hits – including a game-high six checks against Boston on Sunday.

• Is in his first year with the Flyers after being acquired from Tampa Bay last July in exchange for a second-round pick in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.

• Has logged at least 26 minutes of ice time in four of his last five games, establishing a season-high of ice time on March 22 versus Washington when he played 29:00 minutes.  
Now that both the Penguins and the Flyers have assured themselves postseason berths, the two cross-state rivals will officially be battling for the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference when they meet at CONSOL Energy Center on Tuesday.

Philadelphia had their nine-game unbeaten streak snapped on Sunday in a 2-1 loss to the Bruins, which marked the Flyers' first game without a point since their 7-0 loss to the New York Rangers on March 6. The Flyers had gone 5-0-4 over that span. That loss combined with the Penguins’ 2-1 shootout victory over Florida on Sunday has Pittsburgh sitting just two points behind Philadelphia in the standings.

In the two teams’ last meeting just five days ago on March 24, rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky played out of his mind, earning the Flyers a crucial point in the race for the top spot. His stellar play came off the heels of a second-period benching in the Flyers’ 5-4 shootout loss to Washington on March 22, where Bobrovsky surrendered three goals on nine shots.

After Bobrovsky – who has a 2-1-1 record, .926 save percentage and 2.21 goals-against average versus the Penguins this season – went on to backstop the Flyers to a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders on March 26, head coach Peter Laviolette gave veteran Brian Boucher the nod between the pipes on Sunday against the Bruins in a back-to-back game situation. It’s unclear who Laviolette will go with on Tuesday.

The Flyers continue to be led by offensive production from all over a deep forward lineup, as they now have four players who have reached the 60-point mark. That last happened for Philadelphia two seasons ago, but those are the only two occurrences in the last 13 years (and just the fifth in the past 21 years).

The Flyers also have six different players who have tallied at least 20 goals and 10 different players that have reached double digits in goals. Their average of 3.13 goals-per game is first in the East and fourth in the league.
  • The Penguins established a National Hockey League record Sunday afternoon by winning their fourth straight game via shootout. Their other three wins came at Detroit, 5-4, on March 21, Philadelphia, 2-1, on March 24 and New Jersey, 1-0, on March 25.
  • This is the sixth and final meeting between the two teams. Philadelphia has won three of the five meetings between the teams, with Pittsburgh defeating the Flyers twice at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers have posted a trio of 3-2 victories, with two coming at CONSOL Energy Center (Oct. 7 and Oct. 29) and one at the Wells Fargo Center (Dec. 14).
  • Pittsburgh’s first victory came via a 5-1 defeat of the Flyers in Philadelphia on Oct. 16 behind a pair of goals from Sidney Crosby. Their second came last week with the game-deciding shootout tally by Chris Kunitz in a 2-1 victory on March 24. In five games, Kris Letang (1G-6A) leads the way for Pittsburgh in the season series with seven points each.
  • Philadelphia currently owns a two-point lead over the Penguins in the race for the Atlantic Division crown. Including Tuesday, the Penguins have six games remaining this season, while Philadelphia has seven. Pittsburgh has two matchups remaining against teams currently positioned in the top-eight of the Eastern Conference playoff field, including Tuesday’s tilt with the Flyers. Philadelphia will face three potential playoff teams during its final seven games.
  • Of the Penguins’ six games remaining, three are against Atlantic Division foes (Philadelphia, 2; New Jersey, 2; New York Islanders) and all six are against teams from the Eastern Conference. The Penguins are 10-8-3 this season against the Atlantic Division and 34-19-5 against the East.
  • The Penguins’ 24 home wins entering Tuesday’s contest are second in the league (and just one behind Vancouver). Meanwhile, the Flyers tied a franchise record on March 26 with their 24th road win, which ranks second (tied) in the NHL.
  • Philadelphia has a 15-3-2 record against Atlantic Division opponents this season, the best record of any NHL team against its own division.

 

      
Avoid Overtime/Shootout: Both teams are no strangers to shootouts as of late. The Penguins set an NHL record on Sunday by recording their fourth-straight shootout victory with their 2-1 win over Florida, while the Flyers went to a shootout in four-consecutive games from March 17-24, winning just one of those four. While the Penguins have been finding success in the shootout, they can’t afford to surrender a point to the Flyers if they want to overtake Philadelphia for the top spot in both the division and the conference.

Capitalize on Turnovers:
The Flyers committed a season-high 20 turnovers against the Bruins on Sunday, much higher than their average of eight giveaways a game. The Penguins have done a great job as of late playing aggressive, confident hockey that’s been forcing their opponents to cough up the puck, and they need to bring this mentality to the ice on Tuesday against a team that’s been prone to doing just that as of late.
F Sidney Crosby, concussion (IR)
F Dustin Jeffrey, lower body (day-to-day)

G Brent Johnson, upper body (day-to-day)
F Nick Johnson, concussion (IR)
F Mark Letestu, upper body (day-to-day)
F Evgeni Malkin torn ACL and torn MCL (will miss remainder of season)
F Eric Tangradi, concussion (day-to-day)
D Oskars Bartulis, shoulder (indefinitely)
RW Ian Laperriere, post-concussion syndrome (indefinitely)
D Chris Pronger, hand (1-2 weeks)
LW Jody Shelley, fractured orbital bone (3-4 weeks)
 
 
 
 
G
Crosby (32) Carter (34)
A
Letang (40) Giroux (46)
PTS
Crosby (66) Giroux (70)
PIM
Cooke (129) Hartnell (132)
+/-
Crosby (+20) Carter/Meszaros (+27)
PP
Crosby (10) Giroux/Carter (8)
SH
Cooke/Dupuis (3)
Giroux/Richards (3)
W/L
Fleury (34-18-5)
Bobrovsky (27-11-6)
GAA
Fleury (2.28) Boucher (2.39)
SVP
Fleury (.920) Bobrovsky (.917)

Marc-Andre Fleury - Fleury’s play not only earned him the team’s Most Valuable Player award before Sunday’s game against the Panthers, but it also has the Penguins netminder in talks for the Hart Trophy as the league MVP. Fleury established a new franchise record for the longest shutout sequence in team history by not allowing a goal for 150:14 minutes. His streak began with Mike Richards’ first-period goal against the Penguins on Thursday in Philadelphia through a complete-game shutout against New Jersey on Friday until Florida’s Ryan Carter scored in the second period on Sunday. Fleury bested the previous record held by Jocelyn Thibault (136:13). Fleury is now 6-2-1 over his past eight games, including one shutout. Over his past 50 starts, Fleury has allowed two or fewer goals 33 times.
 
James van Riemsdyk - Van Riemsdyk has five points in his last three games, thanks to his first career NHL hat trick that powered the Flyers to a 4-1 victory over New York Islanders on March 26. Van Riemsdyk, 21, also assisted on Mike Richards’ goal in the Flyers’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Penguins on March 24 and added a helper on Philadelphia’s lone tally in their 2-1 loss to Boston on Sunday. The former No. 2 overall draft pick by the Flyers in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft has surpassed the point totals he posted last season in his rookie campaign.
 
 
 
 

Fan Guide vs. Philadelphia
WBS Penguins Continue Record-Breaking Season

WBS Penguins Set Franchise Record for Wins, Clinch East Division Regular Season Title
Penguins Sign Forward Thompson 
Eleven Pittsburgh Youth Teams to Compete In USA Hockey Nationals 
Notebook: Records Were Made To Be Broken
Aftermath: Penguins 2, Panthers 1 (SO) 
Fleury Named Team MVP 
Penguins Players Honored at Annual Team Awards Pre-Game Ceremony
Crosby Skates On Sunday Morning


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WHEN: March 29, 2011 - 7:00 pm
WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH: FSN
LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM



SCOUTING REPORT

Now that both the Penguins and the Flyers have assured themselves postseason berths, the two cross-state rivals will officially be battling for the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference when they meet at CONSOL Energy Center on Tuesday.

Philadelphia had their nine-game unbeaten streak snapped on Sunday in a 2-1 loss to the Bruins, which marked the Flyers' first game without a point since their 7-0 loss to the New York Rangers on March 6. The Flyers had gone 5-0-4 over that span. That loss combined with the Penguins' 2-1 shootout victory over Florida on Sunday has Pittsburgh sitting just two points behind Philadelphia in the standings.

In the two teams' last meeting just five days ago on March 24, rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky played out of his mind, earning the Flyers a crucial point in the race for the top spot. His stellar play came off the heels of a second-period benching in the Flyers' 5-4 shootout loss to Washington on March 22, where Bobrovsky surrendered three goals on nine shots.

After Bobrovsky – who has a 2-1-1 record, .926 save percentage and 2.21 goals-against average versus the Penguins this season – went on to backstop the Flyers to a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders on March 26, head coach Peter Laviolette gave veteran Brian Boucher the nod between the pipes on Sunday against the Bruins in a back-to-back game situation. It's unclear who Laviolette will go with on Tuesday.

The Flyers continue to be led by offensive production from all over a deep forward lineup, as they now have four players who have reached the 60-point mark. That last happened for Philadelphia two seasons ago, but those are the only two occurrences in the last 13 years (and just the fifth in the past 21 years).

The Flyers also have six different players who have tallied at least 20 goals and 10 different players that have reached double digits in goals. Their average of 3.13 goals-per game is first in the East and fourth in the league.


INTERESTING STATS

* The Penguins established a National Hockey League record Sunday afternoon by winning their fourth straight game via shootout. Their other three wins came at Detroit, 5-4, on March 21, Philadelphia, 2-1, on March 24 and New Jersey, 1-0, on March 25.

* This is the sixth and final meeting between the two teams. Philadelphia has won three of the five meetings between the teams, with Pittsburgh defeating the Flyers twice at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers have posted a trio of 3-2 victories, with two coming at CONSOL Energy Center (Oct. 7 and Oct. 29) and one at the Wells Fargo Center (Dec. 14).

* Pittsburgh's first victory came via a 5-1 defeat of the Flyers in Philadelphia on Oct. 16 behind a pair of goals from Sidney Crosby. Their second came last week with the game-deciding shootout tally by Chris Kunitz in a 2-1 victory on March 24. In five games, Kris Letang (1G-6A) leads the way for Pittsburgh in the season series with seven points each.

* Philadelphia currently owns a two-point lead over the Penguins in the race for the Atlantic Division crown. Including Tuesday, the Penguins have six games remaining this season, while Philadelphia has seven. Pittsburgh has two matchups remaining against teams currently positioned in the top-eight of the Eastern Conference playoff field, including Tuesday's tilt with the Flyers. Philadelphia will face three potential playoff teams during its final seven games.

* Of the Penguins' six games remaining, three are against Atlantic Division foes (Philadelphia, 2; New Jersey, 2; New York Islanders) and all six are against teams from the Eastern Conference. The Penguins are 10-8-3 this season against the Atlantic Division and 34-19-5 against the East.

* The Penguins' 24 home wins entering Tuesday's contest are second in the league (and just one behind Vancouver). Meanwhile, the Flyers tied a franchise record on March 26 with their 24th road win, which ranks second (tied) in the NHL.

* Philadelphia has a 15-3-2 record against Atlantic Division opponents this season, the best record of any NHL team against its own division.


KEYS TO THE GAME

Avoid Overtime/Shootout: Both teams are no strangers to shootouts as of late. The Penguins set an NHL record on Sunday by recording their fourth-straight shootout victory with their 2-1 win over Florida, while the Flyers went to a shootout in four-consecutive games from March 17-24, winning just one of those four. While the Penguins have been finding success in the shootout, they can't afford to surrender a point to the Flyers if they want to overtake Philadelphia for the top spot in both the division and the conference.

Capitalize on Turnovers: The Flyers committed a season-high 20 turnovers against the Bruins on Sunday, much higher than their average of eight giveaways a game. The Penguins have done a great job as of late playing aggressive, confident hockey that's been forcing their opponents to cough up the puck, and they need to bring this mentality to the ice on Tuesday against a team that's been prone to doing just that as of late.


WHO'S HOT

Marc-Andre Fleury - Fleury's play not only earned him the team's Most Valuable Player award before Sunday's game against the Panthers, but it also has the Penguins netminder in talks for the Hart Trophy as the league MVP. Fleury established a new franchise record for the longest shutout sequence in team history by not allowing a goal for 150:14 minutes. His streak began with Mike Richards' first-period goal against the Penguins on Thursday in Philadelphia through a complete-game shutout against New Jersey on Friday until Florida's Ryan Carter scored in the second period on Sunday. Fleury bested the previous record held by Jocelyn Thibault (136:13). Fleury is now 6-2-1 over his past eight games, including one shutout. Over his past 50 starts, Fleury has allowed two or fewer goals 33 times.

James van Riemsdyk - Van Riemsdyk has five points in his last three games, thanks to his first career NHL hat trick that powered the Flyers to a 4-1 victory over New York Islanders on March 26. Van Riemsdyk, 21, also assisted on Mike Richards' goal in the Flyers' 2-1 shootout loss to the Penguins on March 24 and added a helper on Philadelphia's lone tally in their 2-1 loss to Boston on Sunday. The former No. 2 overall draft pick by the Flyers in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft has surpassed the point totals he posted last season in his rookie campaign.



Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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