Pittsburgh Penguins (38-24-8)
The Penguins are coming off of yet another impressive win where they were able to put put up four goals against a Carolina Hurricanes team that has begun to fade out of the playoff picture. Captain Sidney Crosby lead the offensive charge, scoring two goals. For a team riding a hot streak, there was no sign of exhaustion or lack of stamina considering they were able to get the puck on net 48 times.
The offense, however, did fail to capitalize on three power play opportunities, something that must be turned around if they expect to win against the Flyers. Pittsburgh also found themselves a man short five times, another aspect that must be corrected.
Philadelphia Flyers (34-23-12)
In the last 14 games Philadelphia is 10-2-2 and have scored 50 goals and allowed only 35. Do not underestimate a team that is very close to trading places with the Detroit Red Wings (35-25-11) for the second wildcard spot.
Their offense has been superb lately and Pittsburgh will need all hands on deck on defense. In their game against the Chicago Blackhawks (41-24-6), the 3-2 win came from the Flyers being able to block the goalie’s line of sight and were able to deflect the puck well enough to take down one of the league’s best teams.
The Flyers were lucky enough that their goalie, Michal Neuvirth, was able to keep the Blackhawks from only scoring two goals. The defense gave up too many breakaway opportunities, allowed men to skate wide open for one-time shots and were fortunate the Blackhawks did not score more than two.
Philadelphia was also able to take good shots from the point, meaning the Penguins must play aggressively around the blue line enough to keep the Flyers confidence from building.
The Penguins will continue their winning streak and win a close game in Philly, 4-3. But, Pittsburgh must be able to create separation and limit defensive mistakes in their own zone or the Flyers will turn the tables.
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
When: Saturday, March 19 @ 1:00 p.m.
Watch: Root Sports, CSNP