GAME No. 1
PENGUINS @ FLYERS
Time: 3:00 p.m. | Where: Wells Fargo Center
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Eric Tangradi – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Matt Cooke – Brandon Sutter – Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass – Dustin Jeffrey – Craig Adams
Matt Niskanen – Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Simon Despres – Deryk Engelland
Marc Andre Fleury in Goal
Scott Hartnell – Claude Giroux – Brayden Schenn
Max Talbot – Sean Couturier – Jacob Voracek
Wayne Simmonds – Scott Laughton – Matt Read
Ruslan Fedotenko – Eric Wellwood – Zac Rinaldo
Kimmo Timonen – Luke Schenn
Braydon Coburn – Nick Grossman
Andrej Meszaros – Kurtis Foster
Ilya Bryzgalov in goal
FOUR KEY STORYLINES
Special Teams: Last season the Penguins were never able to solve the Flyers power play. In the regular season, Philadelphia went 6-29, 20.7% on the power play against the Penguins then were unstoppable in the first round series, going 12-23, 52.2%, as the Penguins constantly had no answers for the Flyers quick movement on the man-advantage. Today the Penguins will be giving the Flyers a different look at least from a personnel standpoint. Brandon Sutter and Tanner join the Penguins penalty kill as regulars and head coach Dan Bylsma has hinted at finally taking the training wheels off Sidney Crosby and let him kill penalties. Great players of Crosby’s skill level have always killed penalties in the past and just the presence of Crosby being out there could have an impact for the Penguins on the penalty kill as the opposition will have the threat of Crosby taking the puck the other way for a shorthanded chance in the back of their mind. Mario Lemieux had 49 shorthanded goals in his career, including seasons of 13, 10, and 8 shorthanded goals.
Penguins shutdown pair vs Claude Giroux: The Penguins new shutdown pair of Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin will be tested in the first two games of the season. Today they have task of shutting down Claude Giroux who is arguably the third best player in the game behind Crosby and Malkin. The Penguins couldn’t slow down Giroux in the post-season who had 14 points in six games. Giroux has 22 points in his last 11 games vs Pittsburgh (including post-season).
Sidney Crosby: Fully healthy and motivated, Crosby will be looking to make a statement today and get the bitter taste out of his mouth from last years playoff debacle. The Flyers always bring out the best in Crosby who has 27 goals and 66 points in 39 career games vs the Flyers. Look for the Flyers to play physical with him early.
GOALTENDING: If there’s one player who should be extremely motivated today it’s Marc Andre Fleury. Fleury posted a 4.63 goals-against average and .834 save percentage in the Penguins – Flyers series last post-season and he was a disaster. Aside from his lackluster performance vs the Flyers in the post-season, Fleury overall has been solid in his career vs Philadelphia. He comes into today’s game with a 21-13-1 record in his career vs Flyers with a 2.82 goals-against average. Then there’s Ilya Bryzgalov who the Flyers never know what they’re going to get from him on a game by game basis. Bryzgalov though has been successful vs the Penguins, going 2-0 with a 2.60 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in the regular season vs Pittsburgh last season, followed by a 4-2 mark in the post-season vs Pittsburgh. Since 2008-2009 season (including post-season), Bryzgalov is 8-3 vs the Penguins with 1 shutout.