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Flyers-Penguins: Game 75 Preview

IMG_1525(Kate Frese/Sports Talk Philly)
 
By Rob Riches, Sports Talk Philly contributor
 
As if the Flyers' playoff hopes weren't bleak enough, yesterday's 1-0 loss to Columbus was about as close to a death knell as they could get. 
 

They will look to close out their four-game road swing out on even footing, as they visit PPG Paints Arena to close out their season series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team still neck-and-neck for the Metro Division lead. Sitting at 1-2 against the Pens this season, the Flyers have a chance to close out this series evenly as well. 

Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Flyers Leaders GP G A P Penguins Leaders GP G A P
Jake Voracek 74 18 38 56 Sidney Crosby 68 42 40 82
Claude Giroux 74 14 39 53 Evgeni Malkin 62 33 39 72
Wayne Simmonds 74 29 20 49 Phil Kessel 74 22 43 65
Brayden Schenn 71 22 26 48 Conor Sheary 54 21 29 50
Valtteri Filppula 71 8 29 37 Justin Schultz 71 12 36 48

 

Player to Watch
24 Matt Read 87 Sidney Crosby
Last 5 Games: 2 G, 0 A, 0 P, +2 Last 5 Games: 7 G, 1 A, 8 P, +5

While Sean Couturier couldn't get on the board yesterday -- then again, who could? -- he's been steady the past few games, and found twine against Minnesota and Winnipeg. This was enough to elevate him back on the top line, where he will reprise his role tonight. He's been on the doorstep for 100 career assists, and what better way to hit it than against a divisional rival. 

Sidney Crosby has been the league's most talked-about player over the past few days, but not for the usual reasons. Between a spear to Buffalo's Ryan O'Reilly and a chop to Ottawa's Marc Methot that lopped off part of his finger in the game after, Crosby has returned to the controversy limelight. He was shut down entirely in his last game against the Orange and Black, and it's worth seeing if that can be duplicated. 

Goalie Matchup
35 Steve Mason 30 Matt Murray
22-21-7, 2.73 GAA, .906 SV% 28-9-4, 2.34 GAA, .925 SV%

Steve Mason figures to return between the pipes for the Flyers, after sitting out on Saturday. He madd 24 saves in his last outing on Thursday against the Wild, and blanked the Pens with a 23-save shutout on March 15. The Flyers seemed to respond when he (justifiably) called them out after a dismal effort against the Jets, and that should continue. 

Matt Murray figures to start for the Penguins. He made 29 saves on 30 shots in a shootout loss against Ottawa in his last outing. 

Flyers Projected Lineup

Scratches: Roman Lyubimov, Michael Del Zotto, Nick Cousins (upper-body injury, day-to-day), Michael Raffl (lower-body injury, out 6-8 weeks)

Left Wing Center Right Wing
24 Matt Read 28 Claude Giroux 93 Jake Voracek
40 Jordan Weal 51 Valtteri Filppula 17 Wayne Simmonds
22 Dale Weise 14 Sean Couturier 10 Brayden Schenn
76 Chris VandeVelde 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 11 Travis Konecny
Defense    
9 Ivan Provorov 47 Andrew MacDonald  
53 Shayne Gostisbehere 55 Nick Schultz  
23 Brandon Manning 3 Radko Gudas  
Goalie    
35 Steve Mason

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (T-15th, 16th on road), Penguins (4th, 3rd at home)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (22nd, 24th on road), Penguins (T-19th, 13th at home) 
  • Recent History vs. Penguins
    • March 15, 2017 - Less than two weeks ago, both teams met, and the Flyers ensured they wouldn't get swept in the season series with a resounding 4-0 win. Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux and Dale Weise each scored, while Steve Mason turned away all 23 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season. 
  • Milestone Watch
    • Matt Read still remains one assist from 100 in his career.
    • Claude Giroux needs two goals to move into 15th all-time in Flyers history.

Where to Watch
TV: NBCSN
Radio: 93.3 WMMR

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