Gameday 74 – Flyers

7:00 pm
Wells Fargo Center
It feels more than a little bit like playoff time already.  Outside of the actual postseason, this is as big as it gets.  After everything the Pens have been through this year, they still sit four points out of first-place in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.  The Flyers have a game in hand.  This is big time:

The Flyers are 4-3-3 in their last ten.  The Pens are 6-2-2.  There is no bigger challenge for this Pittsburgh team than the game tonight.  This game will show if they can compete amongst the best in the conference.  The hate is there, the desire is there, the will is there.  Will the results follow?
Wonder if we're going to hear "Crosby Sucks" chants tonight?

Know your enemy: Flyers Goal Scored By

The Penguins have had a rough year.  "Rough", is putting it gently.  They have lost Geno for the year, and Crosby been out since January.  Sid the Kid is suffering from concussion symptoms, the same problem that forced Lappy into retirement, and what turned our Big E into a shell of his former self.  Crosby and Malkin are not the only two players the Pens have lost.  Jordan Staal, Asham, Orpik, Tangradi, Comrie, Letestu and the entire starting offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Add to the injuries the pressure to win another Cup with this young core AND the shenanigans of one Matt Cooke, and this Penguins season resembles more of a shit show than a Cup contender.  But here they sit, 5 points below us, still in the thick of it, and currently set to host a first round playoff series.  I've watched the Pens a lot this year.  Expecting them to blow up, but they haven't.  It's even more frustrating than watching the win.  I give their coach, Dan Bylsma, a lot of credit.  He's kept the team focused and their energy high.  Looking at this game on paper, you see the lineups stacked heavily in the Flyers favor, but this Penguins team won't go down without a fight.

Season series: Flyers Lead 3-1
Last meeting: December 14, 2010 – Flyers Won 3-2
What we said in our recap:

Yeah, no joke — Your winning streak gets snapped at 12 games.  And the Flyers are the ones who did it. It strikes that hockey nerve.  Might piss everyone off a little bit, but that's just business in the NHL.  At least you can break whatever annoying superstition you had during the streak.  Unless your superstition involves licking our balls.  As for the game itself, the Pens didn't play great, and they didn't play terrible.  A few of the wins in the tail end of the streak didn't see the Pens playing terribly hot, either.  Got to hand it to Laviolette. Under his tutelage, the Flyers don't dig themselves into holes anymore, at least not against the Penguins. Usually in a game like this, which Versus kept reminding us was the be-all end-all of professional hockey games, the Flyers would let their animosity toward the Pens get the better of them, and the Pens would cruise. Not anymore.

Penguins notes: at the dominant Wilkes-Blog mentioned this earlier: the Penguins have recalled Brad Thiessen from the AHL. Orpik yet, but soon. will be in net for the Pens.
Flyers notes:
Bobrovsky in net for Philly.

Line production the last 10 games: Penguins | Flyers
Favorite Flyers-related Photoshop or gif:
Retro Video City:



Penguins lines:

Chris Kunitz – Jordan Staal – Tyler Kennedy
James Neal – Dustin Jeffrey – Alexei Kovalev
Pascal Dupuis – Max Talbot – Chris Conner
Mike Rupp – Craig Adams – Arron Asham

Paul Martin – Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen – Kris Letang
Ben Lovejoy – Deryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury

Flyers Lines from Empty Netters:

Scott Hartnell – Daniel Briere – Ville Leino
Andreas Nodl – Claude Giroux – Jeff Carter
James van Riemsdyk – Mike Richards – Kris Versteeg
Darroll Powe – Blair Betts – Daniel Carcillo

Kimmo TimonenBraydon Coburn
Matt Carle – Andrej Meszaros
Sean O'Donnell – Nick Boynton

Sergei Bobrovsky

Image City:




"Get busy living, or get busy dying."
Do It.
Go Pens.



Pretty much everything on the line.
No way in hell we're using a Flyers logo.
Start of a very tough week for the Pens.
Flames coming to town on Wednesday, and then the Rangers on Saturday.

Let's start things off right by jobbing Scott Hartnell.
And then there is this e-mail from CHRIS D.

attached is the "mask" scott hartnell photoshop autographed by scott hartnell. flyers practiced at rmu isc and a few of us who work there read your page and found it necessary to get that photo autographed. he laughed as he signed it.

That is how you job.
From Erin B.:
Unreal suit.
He should get used to wearing it if the Pens make the tournament.
We all learned that lesson last season.
No one fights in the tournament.
Hope all the Kings fans on the HF Boards can see their computers.
So much crying about the Malkin hit.
You usually get rocked when you skate with your head down.
Hopefully, the NHL puts this into context.
Malkin more or less had possession of the puck and was bracing himself for a hit.
He's the target of the opposing team night and night out.
Is he just supposed to stand there and take it?
If he did this every game, then we'd have something to talk about.
Sans the slue-foots in the Rangers series last year, we've seen nothing shady from Malkin.
Move on.  Malkin 4 life.
This photoshop should be behind one of the nets today.
The photoshop was done by reader Justin F.
He was kind enough to give the pic to Russel S., who is making a banner…
…on his deck.
From the Canucks/Coyotes game recently: