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Penguins vs. Flyers Scouting Report

Wednesday, 12.7.2011 / 9:00 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Flyers Scouting Report
Pittsburgh Penguins
Home: 8-2-2-18
Road: 8-6-2-18

WHEN: Dec. 8, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: Wells Fargo Center
ROOT SPORTS  |  LISTEN: Penguins 24/7 Radio, 105.9 FM
Philadelphia Flyers
Home: 6-4-2-14

  Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers 






Claude Giroux
C  -  #28
  16 Goals
  20 Assists
  36 Points
• Dominates on special teams – not only does he pace the Flyers with 13 power-play points through a team-leading 4:02 power-play minutes per contest, but he tied for second in the NHL with seven shorthanded points last season.

• Received the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the Flyers’ most valuable player in 2010-11 after establishing career highs across the board in goals (25), assists (51), points (76), power-play goals (8) and shorthanded goals (3).

• The Flyers own a record of 1-4-2 when Giroux does not record a point and 15-3-1 when Giroux does find the score sheet.
Matt Read
RW  -  #24
  11 Goals
  7 Assists
  18 Points
• Ranks second among all NHL rookies with 11 goals, sitting two behind Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins while having played five fewer games.

• Had a five-game goal-scoring streak in November, which was the longest such accomplishment for a Flyers rookie since Mikael Renberg scored in six consecutive games from March 24 to April 2, 1994.

• The penalty-killing specialist inked a three-year free-agent contract with Philadelphia after a four-year career at Bemidji State University, making the Flyers roster out of training camp.
Ilya Bryzgalov
G  -  #30
  11-5-2 record
  2.89 GAA
  .857 svpt
• Was placed on waivers by Anaheim on Nov. 16, 2007, claimed by Phoenix the next day and has since become one of the league’s elite goaltenders – signing a nine-year, $51 million contract with Philadelphia this summer.

• Finished as the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy and was fifth in voting for the Hart Trophy in 2009-10, when he earned a record of 42-20-6.

Has great size (6-foot-3, 213 pounds) and goaltending instincts, can handle a heavy workload and is one of the goalies who’s spectacular when he’s on his game – though he can run hot and cold.
The Penguins will battle cross-state rival Philadelphia for the first time this season on Thursday in the hostile Wells Fargo Center. And the revamped Flyers, who currently boast the league’s highest-scoring offense, have been playing well. They've won five of their last six games and sit just one point behind the Penguins in the Atlantic Division standings – with two games in hand.

The Flyers lost a couple of high-profile players in centers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter over the summer, but they gained a couple of new faces in return – with two of them being very familiar to Penguins fans in Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot.

Talbot played his first six NHL seasons with the Penguins before signing a five-year contract with the Flyers in the offseason – and Pittsburgh’s 2009 Stanley Cup hero has been performing well. He leads all Flyers forwards with 4:17 shorthanded minutes per contest and has seven goals and 12 points on the Flyers’ third line.

But it’s Jagr who’s proving that he’s still got the rarest blend of strength and skill in the league, as the 39-year-old winger is averaging a point-per-game and has been an integral part of the Flyers’ success. Jagr missed four games with a groin injury before returning Dec. 2, where his incredible instincts and shooting/passing ability spurred Philadelphia’s power play to a 5-for-13 performance in their last three games entering Wednesday by scoring two of those goals (and adding a pair of assists). He's got three goals and five points in his last three games.

He’s been thriving on a line with the skilled Claude Giroux and the tenacious Scott Hartnell. The 23-year-old Giroux, who scored the overtime winner and added three assists vs. Buffalo on Wednesday, is continuing his development into one of the league’s elite players. The versatile, skilled forward currently leads the NHL scoring race with 36 points, one ahead of Toronto's Phil Kessel. Giroux now has seven points (3G-4A) in the Flyers' last three games, including a three-game goal-scoring streak in which all three goals have been game-winners

Apart from that top line of Jagr, Giroux and Hartnell, first-year winger Matt Read has been quite a pleasant surprise. Read has been quietly making a case for himself as the NHL’s top rookie, as he’s got 11 goals through 23 games – including a five-game goal streak in November – and has been solid on a line with Danny Briere and offseason acquisition Jakub Voracek.

They’ve been hit with a number of other injuries throughout their lineup, meaning as of now, a total of seven rookies have been seeing regular ice time. Their biggest loss has been in the form of captain and leader Chris Pronger, who’s currently on IR after having knee surgery. In his absence, veteran Kimmo Timonen continues to be consistently excellent for the Flyers. The dependable D-man also has five assists in his last three games.

One of the Flyers’ weaknesses last season was that they didn’t have a clear-cut No. 1 netminder. They remedied that in the offseason by signing elite goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, a Vezina Trophy runner-up in 2009-10, to a nine-year deal. He’s had a few shaky moments in his first season in the black and orange but has been picking up steam as of late. And while Bryzgalov got the win Wednesday vs. Buffalo, don’t count him out for Thursday – head coach Peter Laviolette started him in back-to-back situations over the weekend.
  • The Penguins will face a tough task on this two-game road swing as they play without the services of captain Sidney Crosby, who will miss tonight’s game and Saturday’s visit to Long Island after being banged up against Boston on Monday.
  • The Penguins have plenty of experience playing without Crosby, having done so for 61 straight games between Jan. 6 of last season and Nov. 19 of this year. During that 61-game stretch the Penguins went 34-19-8 for a winning percentage of .623. This season the Penguins played the first 20 games without Crosby, going 11-6-3.
  • Pittsburgh has won the season series over the Flyers in three of the last five seasons, going 22-12 in that span. The Penguins enter Thursday’s game having won seven of their last nine visits to Philadelphia (2010-11, 2-1; 2009-10, 3-0; 2008-09, 2- 1).
  • Last season the Penguins won the Philadelphia portion of the season series, 2-1, while the Flyers went 3-0 at CONSOL Energy Center. Claude Giroux scored the game-winning goal in all three contests.
  • The Penguins are 4-1 this season against Atlantic Division opponents. Their only loss was a 4-3 setback at NY Rangers Nov. 29.
  • Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has historically played well against the Flyers, going 20-10 in 33 career appearances against them entering Thursday. His 20 wins are the most he has against any one team.
  • Fleury, who ranks second in the NHL with 14 victories, has played some of his best hockey here at the Wells Fargo Center, where he is 10-4 all-time with a 2.86 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. Fleury has won five of his last six starts in Philadelphia.
  • The Flyers continue to lead the NHL in goals per game (3.58) and in overall goals scored (93). They’re doing this despite having played just 26 games on the season, which is fewer than any other team except NYR, NYI and SJS.
  • On Wednesday in Buffalo, the Flyers came back from a 3-0 deficit to win a game for the second time in five days. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the third time in team history that the Flyers have accomplished that twice in a single season, it is the quickest they have done so, and it is the first time they have done it with both games coming on the road.
  • Pittsburgh enters Thursday’s game with the NHL’s third-best penalty killing unit with a success rate of 88.7%. On the road the Penguins rank 10th in the league with a kill rate of 84.8% (50-for-59).
  • This season the Penguins are 15-3-3 when they are perfect on the PK, compared to just 1-5-1 in the seven games where they have allowed at least one opposition power-play goal. The Penguins have been perfect on the penalty kill in 11 of their 16 road games. In those 11 contests they are 7-2-2.




2010-11 STAT CHART

C Sidney Crosby, undisclosed
D Deryk Engelland, lower-body
F Dustin Jeffrey, knee
D Kris Letang, broken nose and concussion
D Ben Lovejoy, broken wrist
F Steve MacIntyre, upper-body
D Zbynek Michalek, concussion
F Richard Park, undisclosed
D Brian Strait, hyper-extended elbow
Neal (14) Giroux (16)
Letang (16) Giroux (20)
Neal (25)
Giroux (36)
Asham (33) Rinaldo (89)
Dupuis (+11) Hartnell (+14)
Neal (7) Hartnell (6)
Four with (1)
Three with (1)
Fleury (14-5-2)
Bryzgalov (11-5-2)
Fleury (2.16) Bryzgalov (2.89)
Fleury (.921) Bryzgalov (.857)

D Chris Pronger, left knee surgery
D Erik Gustafsson, left wrist surgery
D Andreas Lilja, high ankle sprain
F Brayden Schenn, upper-body





Game Notes: Dec. 8 at Philadelphia
Watch: Scouting the Flyers
Crosby to Miss Next Two Games 
Old Friend, New Foe
Penguins Report: 12/7/11
Pens Approve of New NHL Conference Format 
Pens Open Practice to Enthusiastic Students 
Penguins Report: 2011 Students Open Practice

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Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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