Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Penguins Game Day Buzz on pivotal game for Flyers, Reactions on rivalry, Vokoun, & buzz on who sits on the blueline

nhl_g_flyers_gb1_576 GAME DAY BUZZ

FLYERS (9-7-1, 15 PTS) @ PENGUINS (11-5-0, 22 PTS)

TEAM STATS

PIT Goals Per Game (3.19) | PHI Goals Per Game (2.65)
PIT Goals Against Per Game (2.38) | PHI Goals Against Per Game (2.82)
PIT Power Play (27.4%) | PHI Power Play (19.1%)
PIT Penalty Kill (82.5%) | PHI Penalty Kill (83.1%)
PIT 5 on 5 Goals (31) | PHI 5 on 5 Goals (28)
PIT 5 on 5 Goals Against (24) | PHI 5 on 5 Goals Against (29)

LEADERS

PIT Points: Sidney Crosby (24), Chris Kunitz (19), Evgeni Malkin (18) | PHI Points: Jacub Voracek (15), Matt Read (13), Claude Giroux (13), Brayden Schenn (13)
PIT Goals: James Neal (11), Pascal Dupuis (7), Sidney Crosby (7) | PHI Goals: Matt Read (7), Daniel Briere (5), Claude Giroux (5)
PIT Assists: Sidney Crosby (17), Evgeni Malkin (15), Chris Kunitz (13) | PHI Assists: Jacub Voracek (13), Brayden Schenn (9), Claude Giroux (8)
PIT PP Goals: James Neal (7), Chris Kunitz (3), Evgeni Malkin (2) | PHI PP Goals: Kimmo Timonen (2), Daniel Briere (2), Claude Giroux (2)
PIT GW Goals: James Neal (4), Chris Kunitz (2), Pascal Dupuis (1) | PHI GW Goals: Mike Knuble (1), Daniel Briere (1), Claude Giroux (1)
PIT +/-: Sidney Crosby (+11), Chris Kunitz (+11), Pascal Dupuis (+7) | PHI +/-: Luke Schenn (+5), Braydon Schenn (+4), Tye McGinn (+3)
PIT Shots: Sidney Crosby (61), James Neal (51), Evgeni Malkin (50) | PHI Shots: Claude Giroux (42), Matt Read (41), Daniel Briere (40)
PIT Blocked Shots: Brooks Orpik (40), Kris Letang (24), Paul Martin (23) | PHI Blocked Shots: Nicklas Grossman (40), Luke Schenn (38), Braydon Coburn (34)
PIT Hits: Tanner Glass (44), Chris Kunitz (38), Matt Cooke (31) | PHI Hits: Luke Schenn (60), Zac Rinaldo (52), Brayden Schenn (38)
PIT PIM: Evgeni Malkin (26), Deryk Engelland (23), Tanner Glass (19) | PHI PIM: Zach Rinaldo (46), Braydon Coburn (35), Wayne Simmonds (34)

MEASURING STICK FOR FLYERS
The word in the Flyers locker room today was tonight’s game is a “measuring stick” for the up and down Flyers. Coming off a 7-0 win over the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon, tonight is going to be the real test as to whether the Flyers are about to turn the corner. “We’ve been talking about finding a consistency level,” veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. Former Penguin Ruslan Fedotenko added, {the Penguins are} “a really good test for us.”
The Flyers have been plagued by injuries but a lot of their key young players have been going through some growing pains after the high of last years playoff run. A handful of players have been underachieving to start the year including Claude Giroux.
Giroux and others broke out Monday afternoon with what Flyers players called “Flyers hockey” as Philadelphia was hard on the forecheck, fast to pucks and the quicker team vs Islanders.
Against Pittsburgh they will be looking to attack the Penguins just like they did last spring, playing a fast pace game.
As skilled as the Penguins are, they have troubles against teams that can match them skating wise and Philadelphia is one of those teams.
“They’ve got a good team,” Sidney Crosby said. “They’re probably a better team than their record shows.”
Joe Vitale said today that the Penguins must establish zone time and wear down the Flyers.
“Just as far as spending time in zone, need to wear them down physically and frustrate the Giroux and Briere line,” Vitale said.

ON THE RIVALRY
The best rivalry in town is the Flyers – Penguins not Steelers – Ravens. Unlike the Steelers – Ravens, there’s actually still a hatred among the Penguins and Flyers players.
Don’t be expecting any Penguins to be hanging out in the Flyers locker room like some Steelers did this season with the Ravens.
Sidney Crosby’s comments from last spring when pressed about why he doesn’t like Jacub Voracek is case and point.
“I don’t like any guy on their team,” Crosby said at the time.
“All the games are important,” Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said today. “They’re not awarding four points or eight points tonight because it’s the Penguins and Flyers. But certainly through the course of time, rivalries build up and they bring that added flavor to it.”
One storyline the media tried to go with today is possible friction between Dan Bylsma and Peter Laviolette. Last season following the Tony Granato-Laviolette incident, Laviolette called Bylsma “gutless.” Today Joe Starkey of the Trib and 937TheFan asked Bylsma about his feelings about Laviolette during today’s media session.
“I have a lot of respect for him as a coach,” Bylsma said. “There’s a rivalry there where he’s the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.”
Bylsma went on to bring up that when at Tony Granato’s house this summer he noticed Granato’s wedding picture with Laviolette in it. Bylsma laughed saying he turned the photo around. “There’s a picture in Tony’s house of Peter,” Bylsma said. “When we had a staff dinner {this summer} at Tony’s house, I found that picture and turned it around.”
Laviolette wasn’t in the laughing mood.
“Enough with the sentimental crap,” Laviolette said.

PENS WANT VOKOUN TO FACE FLYERS
Head coach Dan Bylsma claimed today that he has gone a bit off script with the goaltending rotation of late. Marc Andre Fleury has started the last three games, including six of the last seven games, going 5-1 during that span. The Penguins plan this season has been for Vokoun to start around 18-20 games and tonight he will make his sixth start of the season. “I’d say we’re a little bit off script at this particular time for various reasons,” Bylsma said. “Marc has been playing a lot, and playing well. He maybe got one more game in the rotation because of that.”
With Fleury playing so well and not since Sunday, it would have been tempting to start Fleury tonight but Bylsma has wanted to get Vokoun some action against the Flyers this season.
“Tomas hasn’t played in a while,” Bylsma said. “I wanted him to play against Philly at some point this season.”

POWER PLAY SUCCESS
The Penguins enter tonight’s game with a power play goal in eight straight games. They have gone 11-for-31 (35.5%) during that span. Bylsma said today that Paul Martin’s ability to find the “middle” has been among the keys.
“Paul has done an effective job in getting to the middle,” Bylsma said claiming that (finding the middle) is very important to having a successful power play. Bylsma, though, was quick to point out that Kris Letang is still a factor with the first unit. “Half power plays Kris has joined Paul, Bylsma said. “There are times we start with Kris because of the shot element.”

DESPRES TO BE SCRATCHED FOR SECOND STRAIGHT GAME

The Penguins didn’t go through any defensive pairs in the morning skate but it appears Simon Despres will sit for the second straight game. Robert Bortuzzo left the morning skate with the regulars while Simon Despres stayed on the ice until the end of the skate with the scratches Zach Boychuk and Dustin Jeffrey, going through individual drills with Todd Reirden, which players who aren’t playing do. Bortuzzo was acting like a player who was told prior to the skate that he will be playing tonight.
Bylsma as always said the lineup will be game time decision. We’ll see if there’s any change in warmups but all indications are Despres is sitting tonight.

TIDBITS
The Flyers come into tonight’s game with a 3-8-0 record on the road……The Penguins are 10-3-0 when scoring first and Flyers are 6-3-0 when scoring first. Penguins RW Tyler Kennedy is struggling mightily with just 2 points and a minus-2 rating in 16 games but Kennedy has 4 goals and 1 assist in his last six games vs the Flyers……Over his last six games, Sidney Crosby is 85-56 (60.3%) in the faceoff circle…..

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

Comments Disabled

Comments have been disabled for this post.