- A Pittsburgh Penguins Blog © 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Game Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers

Game Time: 7:00pm/ET
From: Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA
Penguins Record: 20-19-4 (10th in Eastern Conference)
Flyers Record: 23-10-9 (3rd in Eastern Conference)
Last Meeting:
December 13th, 2008 @ Philadelphia (6-3 Flyers)
[Our Recap]

Pascal Dupuis - Sidney Crosby - Evgeni Malkin
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Petr Sykora
Tyler Kennedy - Maxime Talbot - Miroslav Satan
Chris Minard - Dustin Jeffrey - Eric Godard

Brooks Opik - Ryan Whitney
Rob Scuderi - Kris Letang
Phillipe Boucher - Mark Eaton

EDIT: These lines have been changed. For tonight's lines see THIS POST

Marc-Andre Fleury (12-10-2 / 2.97 GAA / .904 SV%)

Sergei Gonchar (left shoulder surgery) - on injured reserve
Mike Zigomanis (shoulder) - on injured reserve
Ruslan Fedotenko (broken right hand) - on injured reserve
Pascal Dupuis (knee) - day-to-day, will miss tonight's game

GOALS: Sidney Crosby (17)
ASSISTS: Evgeni Malkin (49)
POINTS: Evgeni Malkin (65)
+/-: Evgeni Malkin (+14)

Simon Gagne - Mike Richards - Mike Knuble
Scott Hartnell - Jeff Carter - Scottie Upshall
Andreas Nodl - Glen Metropolit - Arron Asham
Josh Gratton - Darroll Powe - Riley Cote

Kimmo Timonen - Ossi Vaananen
Braydon Coburn - Matt Carle
Randy Jones - Andrew Alberts

Martin Biron (15-7-5 / 2.79 GAA / .908 SV%)

Derian Hatcher (right knee) - on injured reserve
Danny Briere (strained groin) - on injured reserve
Antero Niittymaki (strained groin) - on injured reserve
Claude Giroux (concussion) - out indefinitely
Jonathon Kalinski (left thigh surgery) - on injured reserve
Josh Gratton (abdominal surgery) - on injured reserve
Ossi Vaananen (sprained knee) - questionable for tonight's game

GOALS: Jeff Carter (29)
ASSISTS: Mike Richards (28)
POINTS: Jeff Carter (46)
+/-: Simon Gagne (+18)

There are probably a few places a slumping Pittsburgh Penguins team would rather be than Philadelphia. Any of the 28 other opposition arenas (not to mention a few terrorist cells) would treat the Penguins better than the Wachovia Center will. If there was ever a time for the Penguins to play like a team that cares about winning, tonight is the night.

"Crosby Sucks" chants and miscellaneous garbage will rain from the skies, falling right onto the Penguins' bench. Drunken Flyers fans, hoping to gain some revenge against the team that eliminated them from last year's playoffs, will taunt the Penguins mercilessly, hoping to feast on the corpse of the Penguins' slumping season.

After a 6-3 loss in December, Sidney Crosby said that the Penguins didn't hate the Flyers enough to win. If that's the case, the Penguins should watch any of these Youtube videos.

For some historical context, they should watch these videos as well.

That should bring the hate back.

I'm not a big fan of the Penguins new line combinations. Of course, with Michel Therrien behind the bench, I'd be surprised if these lines last more than one shift. I can understand playing Crosby and Malkin together to boost the offense, but any line-up that splits up Malkin and Sykora is a bad one, in my opinion. They simply play too well together to be split up. If Michel Therrien wants all his eggs in one basket, throw Sykora on the first line with Sid and Gino and see what happens.

Also, the Penguins recent tendency to play Philippe Boucher and Mark Eaton over Hal Gill and Alex Goligoski is very confusing. Gill has not played well in his last few games, but neither have Boucher or Eaton. Goligoski deserves a spot. If he is being held out in order to field a tougher, more defensive-minded line-up, I'm not sure why Gill isn't in there. Someone will have to force the Flyers away from Fleury's net.

Tonight's game marks the start of a very important stretch for the Penguins. After leaving Philadelphia tonight they return to Pittsburgh to face the Washington Capitals tomorrow. They then play four games at home (Anaheim, Carolina and the Rangers twice) before finishing the month in New Jersey and Toronto. If the Penguins don't come out of this eight game stretch with five or six wins, the playoffs will be nearly impossible to reach.

The time to end the slump is now.

Prediction: 6-4 Penguins

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