The Philadelphia Flyers look for a win in The Battle of Keystone State.
What is not to love about the Pennsylvania rivalry between the Flyers and Penguins? All though the rivalry has diminished in recent years it is still nice have the bragging rights and banter between fanbases.
This will be the Flyers first game under new Interim General Manager Daniel Briere who is taking over for Chuck Fletcher after he was relieved of his duties Friday morning. Briere and Head Coach John Tortorella are left with a team that sits 7th in the Metropolitan, and 26th in the league. Putting them below .500 with a record of 24-30-11.
The Penguins on the other hand have had a mediocre season for their usual standards, yet the Penguins still hold the 2nd Wild Card spot in the Metropolitan with 74 points and a 32-22-10 record to show for it. The Flyers have a small sample size against the Penguins this year only playing once, in a game the Flyers lost 4-1 at home. This game will be the second and last meeting the 2 teams have this year as the season comes to a close next month. Looking back the Flyers have the upper hand with a 163-112-30 record against the Penguins all-time. All though in recent years Pittsburgh have had the Flyers number on numerous occasions.
With Tony DeAngelo still suspended for another game, it looks like the Flyers will keep both Tyson Foerster and Elliot Desnoyers in the NHL. Instead of sending them down to the minors at least for now, the Flyers AHL team Leigh High Valley Phantoms – Are currently in playoff picture, and it will be important for the younger players to get that Playoff experience.
Tyson Foerster looked extremely sharp in his first NHL game, he came close to finding the back of the net in just his second shift. He also had a huge block that stopped a goal, preventing the Hurricanes from going up 2-0.
Players To Watch:
Philadelphia Flyers – Owen Tippett has been struggling a little bit as of late pointwise but he is still very noticeable on the ice. Finding the open man not being afraid to shoot and eating up a lot of ice time. The right winger has 18 Goals, 16 Assists, and 34 Points in 60 games this season. He has quickly become a fan favourite and very fun to watch on the first line with Joel Farabee and Noah Cates and/or Morgan Frost. I have preached all season long about Tippett and his play and how he has showed up. Owen is 2nd in goals for the Flyers and is 4th in points just two behind Scott Laughton (36 points), who is also playing extremely well despite the up and down season.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Jason Zucker. All though I have not watched Penguins games myself it isn’t hard to find someone to write about. Especially when a player has 6 goals in 5 games, 2 out of the 5 being multi point games. Jason scored 4 goals in a 3 games span against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets. He was traded from the Wild to the Penguins in 2020 and after having a tough 2021-22, this season he has 22 Goals, 18 Assists, and 40 points. Jason is a 2nd line Left Wing for Pittsburgh playing a long side Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust. At 31 years old Jason has become a very reliable player for the Penguins as he adds depth and a veteran presence.
Projected Goalie Matchup and Lineups:
Carter Hart will be starting for the Flyers after not playing against the Hurricanes. Felix Sandstrom got that start and he answered the call. Having an incredible bounce back game even though it was a losing effort in a 1-0 game. The 26 year old made 29 out of 28 saves with .966 SV%.
Hart is continuing to improve his play with a struggling Flyers team in front of him. Carter is usually quick to blame himself for the teams struggles but he couldn’t be more wrong. Time and time again Hart has come up big for the Flyers, his stats definitely don’t tell the whole story. In 47 games played he has a 17-20-10 record with a 2.94 GAA and .907 SV%. Against the Penguins Hart owns a 4-4-2 record in 11 games with a 3.40 GAA and .896 SV%. But like I said that doesn’t mean anything, Hart is a goalie that plays above and beyond his stats.
Tristan Jarry is believed to be the starting net minder for the Penguins. Jarry is having an up and down season but mostly up as he has existed the expectations of people around the league. Honing a 19-7-6 record with a 2.89 GAA and .912 SV%. But in his last 2 starts he has struggled, allowing 4 goals against both the Islanders and Blue Jackets. Hopefully the Flyers can use that to their advantage and get to Jarry early. Even with the minor struggles Jarry is 10-4-1 in 16 games against the Flyers. With a 2.87 GAA and .903 SV%.
Projected Lineup – Philadelphia Flyers
Laughton* – Frost – Tippett*
Farabee – Hayes – Foerster*
JVR – Cates – Laczynski
Deslauriers – Desnoyers – Bellows
Sanhiem – Ristolainen
Provorov – York*
Seeler – Braun
Projected Lineup – Pittsburgh Penguins
Guentzel – Crosby* – Rakell
Zucker* – Malkin – Rust
O’Connor – Granlund – Carter
Heinen – Bonino- Archibald
Pettersson – Letang*
Dumoulin – Petry
Kulikov – Rutta
* = Players To Watch
By: Dylan H. Robillard (@dyl2pac) 17 year old Graphic Designer & Writer Instagram: @dyl2creative
Photo Credit: nhl.com
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