Game Preview: at Philadelphia Flyers - April 9, 2016



Pittsburgh Penguins (48-25-8; 2nd Metro) at Philadelphia Flyers (39-27-14; 5th Metro)
April 9, 2016 @ 3:00 PM - Wells Fargo Center
TV: NBC


The Pittsburgh Penguins don't have much to play for in their season finale as they wrapped up 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division Thursday night with a 4-3 OT victory over the Washington Capitals. The Philadelphia Flyers, however, see their playoff lives hang in the balance. A Flyers win would clinch a playoff berth if either the Red Wings or Bruins lose in regulation, while a zero point outing would eliminate them from the playoffs if both Detroit and Boston manage at least a single point. It's the 4th game between the teams this season, and the Pens will sweep the season series with a win, and they'd love nothing more than to do so and knock their in-state rivals out of the playoffs at the same time.

The Flyers had gone on a late season tear to get back into the playoff picture, but after getting so close to locking up the postseason they've proceed to go on a 3 game losing streak to put their chances in jeopardy. It's been an up and down season for Steve Mason, and he's faltered down the stretch when Philly has needed him the most, allowing 11 goals on 89 shots (0.876 SV%) over the 3 game losing streak. Mason now has a 0.917 SV% and 2.54 GAA on the season, and given that backup Michal Neuvirth is injured, Mason will likely be starting both of the Flyers' games this weekend and will need to break out of his funk to help push the team into the playoffs.

They'll need to continue to get good play from rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere as well. Gostisbehere came out of nowhere this season after starting the year with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and the former 3rd round pick in 2012 has likely played his way into being named a finalist for the Calder Trophy with 16 goals and 28 assists in 62 games on the year.

Another player who Philadelphia needs to step up is Jakub Voracek. The Flyers signed Voracek to an 8 year, $66 million contract extension this past offseason, and he's responded with one of his worst seasons since coming to Philadelphia. Voracek's 11 goals are the second lowest total of his career, and his 53 points are a far cry from the 81 points he put up just a season ago. While Claude Giroux remains the team's steadiest contributor, leading the Flyers with 66 points on the season, they were surely expecting much more from a player they made his equal in the salary department.

Injuries

Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion), Bryan Rust (lower body), Olli Maatta (lower body), Evgeni Malkin (upper body), Scott Wilson (undisclosed), Kevin Porter (ankle)

Flyers: Michael Del Zotto (wrist)

Notes

- The Penguins have won 8 straight games, and both Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang have played a big part of that. Both Letang (12 points) and Crosby (9 points) have registered a point in each of the games, and they'll both carry 8 game point streaks into today's contest.

- Pittsburgh could find out who they'll face in the first round of the playoffs depending on how the day's games play out.  The Rangers take on the Red Wings, while the Islanders face the Sabres. Both teams currently have 99 points, though the Isles have 2 games remaining to the Rangers one. If the Rangers win in any fashion and the Islanders lose in regulation, the Rangers will clinch 3rd place in the Metro. If the Islanders earn more points today than the Rangers do, they'll wrap it up before tomorrow's game against the Flyers. Anything other outcome means the Islanders-Flyers game tomorrow would decide the playoff order as well as potentially whether Philadelphia makes the postseason or not.

- The team has recalled forward Kael Mouillierat from the AHL.
Share on Google Plus

About Brian Keenan

    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment

0 comments:

Post a Comment