-After acquiring Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak last week, Ray Shero mentioned how the addition of Goc specifically could allow Dan Bylsma to put Crosby and Malkin on a line together more often. Well, another roster change could force them to that as well.
-The absences of James Neal tends to have a negative effect on Malkin. We would anticipate seeing a healthy dose of Crosby and Malkin on the same line today.
-UPDATE: the scratch of Chris Kunitz could force that too.
-In recent years, the Bruins had success with having five solid centers who could take faceoff. More importantly, they had a good mix of centers who could take draws right-handed or left-handed. The addition of Goc gives the Penguins something similar. That's one reason Goc is expected to start the game on a line with Brandon Sutter today.
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Taylor Pyatt, Lee Stempniak, Olli Maatta Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo, Chris Kunitz and James Neal.
-We won't even guess what their lines might be.
-The Flyers' starters are Sean Couturier, Steve Downie, Matt Read, Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen and Steve Mason.
-Their scratches are Hal Gill, Erik Gustafsson and Jay Rosehill.
19:43: Read rips a wrister from the left circle which is blocked.
19:29: Read chucks another wrister from the right half wall. Fleury fights it off.
18:54: Tanner Glass hustles up the right and and snaps off a wrister which Mason kicks out.
17:59: Deryk Engelland offers a slight shove to Scott Hartnell behind the Penguins' net after a whistle. Nothing comes of it.
17:26: Fleury smothers a puck and freezes play. Rinaldo barges in and draws the ire of Simon Despres and Engelland. Despres gets a stick up while Rinaldo throws a wild punch and misses. Despres is given a high sticking minor.
17:11: Timonen chucks a wrister from the right point wide of the cage. Goc, Glass, Orpik and Rob Scuderi take the ice.
16:22: Claude Giroux cranks a one-timer from above the left circle over the cage.
16:10: The Flyers strike. Wayne Simmonds controls the puck behind the cage and deals a pass to Giroux on the left half wall. Giroux then taps a pass to Hartnell in a soft area inside the left circle. Hartnell swipes a one-timer which glances off the stick of Orpik and over the glove hand of Fleury on the far side. Giroux and Simmonds take the ice. Flyers 1-0.
15:08: Despres races up the left wing and whips a loose puck on net. Mason smothers it.
14:51: The Penguins get a power play as the officials award them with a makeup call. Giroux is called for slashing Olli Maatta near the Penguins' blue line. He barely even touched him. Crosby, Malkin, Sutter, Jokinen and Niskanen take the ice.
14:36: Crosby taps a pass from the left circle to Jokinen in the slot. Jokinen re-directs it on net with his backhand. Mason makes the initial stop then punches away the rebound with his stick.
13:49: Niskanen has a puck stripped at the right point by Adam Hall who tries to create a short-handed breakaway. Niskanen chases him down and pokes the puck of his stick. A nice recovery by Niskanen.
12:52: The Giroux minor expires with little threat from the Penguins.
12:45: A wrister by Giroux from the left half wall is blocked by Orpik.
12:32: Mark Streit fires a slapper from the left point wide of the cage.
12:19: Another power play for the Penguins as Andrew MacDonald is called for cross checking Glass on the right wing wall of the Penguins' zone. This penalty seemed much more legit than Giroux's slash against Maatta. Crosby, Malkin, Niskanen Jokinen and Sutter take the ice.
11:48: The Flyers are all over the Penguins. After the Flyers dump the puck into the Penguins' zone, Jokinen makes a poor effort to recover it in the left wing corner. Couturier is all over it and swoops behind the net with the puck. He emerges to the left of the cage and deals a pass to Read set up in the slot. Read leans down and swipes a one-timer by Fleury on the blocker side. Ick. That was ugly. Jokinen's effort on that dump-in was inexcusable. Couturier gets the only assists. Flyers 2-0.
10:50: Off a feed by Jokinen, Niskanen whacks a one-timer from the high slot wide of the cage.
9:48: MacDonald returns the ice. That was another weak look from the Penguins' neutered power play.
9:00: Coburn pounds a slapper from the right point. Fleury kicks it out. Stempniak one-touches the puck up ice to spring Crosby on a pseudo breakaway. As Crosby approaches the net, Coburn reaches over him and strips the puck. What a play by Coburn.
8:56: Crosby is called for hooking Coburn after Coburn's strong defensive play. Another power play. Sutter, Adams, Orpik and Scuderi take the ice.
8:08: Off some "hot potato" passing with Giroux, Timonen whacks a one-timer from the center point which hits a body in front and deflects away.
7:20: Simmonds takes a pass in front of the blue paint and tries to turnover a spinning forehand shot but Fleury's left leg denies him.
6:56: Crosby's minor is killed. The Flyers looked dominant with puck possession during that power play but that didn't translate to much in terms of offensive chances.
4:54: A backhander by Hall from the left circle is denied by Fleury.
4:37: A wrister by Hall from the right wing is blocked.
4:08: Downie chucks a wrister from the right circle. Fleury smothers it.
2:48: On a two-on-one, Hartnell fumbles a puck on the left wing but still taps it on net. Engelland
2:18: Niskanen steps up and pops a one-timer from the right circle. Mason kicks it out.
1:58: Glass chops a slapper from above the left circle wide of the cage.
1:04: Crosby gives Timonen a thump into the right corner boards of the Flyers' zone.
0:00: End of period. Flyers 2, Penguins 0.
-Well... the good news is the Penguins' even-strength numbers are looking solid.
-That's about all we can muster up as a positive from that period. The Penguins looked sloppy and disorganized. In other words, they looked like a team missing two of their top-six wingers who played in the previous game.
-How lopsided are the injuries in this game? The Flyers' only official injury right now is Chris Pronger who is essentially retired.
-The officials seem to be calling a fairly tight game thus far.
-The Flyers have a 12-7 lead in shots on net.
-The Flyers have a 25-12 lead in attempted shots.
-Glass, Despres, Simmonds, Hartnell and Read each lead the game with two shots.
-Timonen leads the game with 8:57 of ice time.
-Scuderi leads the Penguins with 8:04.
-The Flyers have a 13-10 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Couturier is 3 for 5 (60 percent).
-Crosby is 5 for 6 (45 percent).
-Scuderi leads the game with three blocked shots.
-None of the Flyers has more than one blocked shot.
20:00: Crosby and Malkin start the period on a line with Stempniak.
19:32: Niskanen whacks a slapper from right point. Mason steers it away.
18:21: On a partial two-on-one against Scuderi, Giroux taps a feed to Voracek who has his wrister denied by Fleury.
17:41: Simmonds trips up the great Joe Vitale in the Penguins' slot. That's two minutes. Crosby, Malkin, Stempniak, Jokinen and Niskanen take the ice.
17:16: Malkin lifts a wrister from the slot over the cage.
16:02: Michael Raffl drives to the net off the right wing short-handed but can't get a clean shot off.
15:41: The Penguins' power play expires once again with little threat.
15:30: Couturier lifts a wrister from the right circle over the cage.
14:45: Glass thumps Giroux with a solid hit in the right wing corner.
14:28: Despres corrals a puck at the left point and chucks a wrister on net. Mason fights it off. Megna can't get a clean stick on the rebound.
13:50: HUGE save. Hartnell feeds a pass to Giroux in the slot. Giroux rips a wrister which Fleury fights off. Voracek is all over the rebound to the left of the cage and is robbed by a scrambling Fleury who kicks out the puck with his right leg.
12:35: Sutter zips up the left wing and flips a backhander on net. Mason eats it up.
11:23: A wrister by Rinaldo in the slot is blocked by Sutter.
11:15: After Orpik shoves Couturier behind the Penguins' net and Couturier takes a hard tumble into the boards, another shot by Rinaldo - this time a slapper from the left circle - is blocked.
10:40: A wrister by Giroux from the slot is deflected out of play.
10:22: Glass blocks a shot by Luke at the Penguins' right point and the puck kicks out to the neutral zone. Before Glass can even chase it, Rinaldo slams him to the ice. That's an easy interference minor. Crosby, Malkin, Stempniak, Jokinen and Niskanen take the ice.
10:07: Off a cross-ice feed by Crosby, Niskanen sneaks up the right wing and whips a wrister. Mason denies him. Hall clears the rebound down ice ice.
9:45: Niskanen pounds a slapper through traffic from the right point. Mason eats it up.
9:30: Things are evened up as Giroux and Jokinen collided at the Flyers' blue line. Giroux takes a tumble and Jokinen is called for interference. We'll have four-on-four play for 1:10.
8:55: A wrister by Giroux from the right wing is blocked by Orpik.
8:49: Vincent Lecavalier decides to make an appearance this afternoon and chops a loose puck in the left circle over the cage.
9:22: The Rinaldo minor is killed. The Flyers will have 50 seconds of power-play time.
7:30: Jokinen returns to play.
7:12: Malkin tries to spin off a check from Hartnell on the right half wall of the Penguins' zone and is thumped to the ice on a nice sholder check by GIroux. That draws a rousing approval.
6:19: Raffl rips a wrister from the slot. Fleury fights it off.
6:00: The Flyers finally breakthrough with an even-strenght goal. Luke Schenn snaps off a stretch pass from his own zone to Lecalvaier who is brekaing down the slot of the Penguins' zone. Despite having Matt Niskanen do everything but steal his identity, Lecavalier is able to lift a wrister by a poke check of Fleury and into the cage. What an effort by Lecavalier. Schenn and Nicklas Grossman get assists. Flyers 3-0.
5:17: Crosby airmails a slapper from the right half wall. Mason punches it away.
4:35: Rinaldo and Engelland thump one another near the Penguins' bench. Nothing comes of it.
3:41: Schenn rips a wrister from above the right circle. Fleury's blocker deflects it away.
2:48: Despres lifts a wrister from the left half wall. Mason fight sit off.
2:34: Read takes a pass on the left wing, dekes around Engelland and lifts a wrister which Fleury kicks out of play.
0:32: Off some sharp passing in the Flyers' zone, Depsres snaps off a writer froma bove the left circle. Mason eats it up.
0:17: The rout is on. Off a three-on-one, Read takes a pass to the right of the cage and plunks in an easy goal. Maatta had no prayer in defending that. Neither did Fleury. Couturier and Giroux get assists. Flyers 4-0.
(Why is that their goal song for the fourth goal?)
0:00: End of period. Flyers 4, Penguins 0.
-At this point, the Penguins' biggest triumph today will getting out Philadelphia air space. This is ugly.
-If we're Dan Bylsma, we would pull Fleury in place of Zatkoff to get Fleury ready for tomorrow.
-The Penguins don't have anything going for them in terms of cohesion up front.
-The Flyers have a 29-18 lead in shots on net.
-The Flyers lead in attempted shots, 57-29.
-Despres leads the game with five shots.
-Read leads the Flyers with four shots.
-Coburn leads the game with 16:19 of ice time.
-Crosby leads the Penguins with 14:35.
-The Flyers lead in faceoffs, 24-17 (59 percent).
-Brayden Schenn is 5 for 6 (83 percent).
-Crosby is 10 for 20 (50 percent).
20:00: Fleury will remain in the game. That would seem to indicate a scheduled start for Zatkoff tomorrow.
19:51: According to broadcaster Bob Errey who is between the benches, Flyers coach Craig Berube told Simmonds to not fight Tanner Glass.
16:10: A wrister by Scuderi from the left point is blocked.
15:10: A wrister from the slot by Read is blocked.
14:41: Malkin airmails a puck from his own zone on the Flyers' net. Mason fumbles it and nearly allows a puck to roll in. Yeesh.
12:33: Play is halted as Glass takes a stick into the face the Flyers' bench. He sells the penalty and Brayden Schenn heads to the penalty box for high sticking. Crosby, Malkin, Jokinen, Stempniak and Niskanen take the ice.
12:16: Short-handed, Giroux pushes a puck up the left wing and has a wrister blocked by Niskanen.
11:24: Stempniak, who is playing some on the point with his power play, rockets a slapper form the right half wall.
11:02: Malkin has a wrister from the right circle blocked by Timonen.
10:33: The Schenn minor is killed. Not much going for the Penguins.
10:17: Engelland collects a wrister at the center point and chucks it on net. It clanks off the left poist.
9:59: Streit pounds a slapper from the right point. Fleury steers it away.
7:56: The great Joe Vitale slashes Giroux in the neutral zone. That lands him a two-minute trip to the penalty box for slashing. Adams, Sutter, Orpik and Scuderi take the ice.
5:56: Two minutes later, the Flyers accomplished little with that chance. In fairness to them, the have eased up on the gas pedal.
5:05: Engelland chops a slapper from the right point. Mason smothers it. Engelland has had two solid scoring chances this period.
3:45: Downie and Glass have words prior to a faceoff. Nothing comes of it as officials step in.
2:55: Goc chucks a wrister from the right circle. Mason knocks it dead and covers.
2:01: Nisknen tries to a puck out from behind his net and is tagged pretty good on a hit by Rinaldo. Malkin gives Rinaldo a shove but nothing comes of it.
0:00: End of game. Flyers 4, Penguins 0.
-Dissecting this game would be akin to preforming an autopsy on a guillotine victim.
-The Penguins entered this game with Beau Bennett, Chris Conner, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, James Neal, Paul Martin and Tomas Vokoun sidelined for various injuries/illness. In contrast, the Flyers' only official injured player was Chris Pronger, who is essentially retired. At some point, "excuses" become "reasons."
-Give the Flyers credit. They were hungrier. They are still fighting for their playoff lives. That was evident in their game. They jumped all over the Penguins early and secured a clean two points.
-The only thing the Penguins accomplished in this game was escaping without any further injuries. They gained relatively little with this contest this afternoon even in terms of working in some of the new players or the call-ups from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
-When Deryk Engelland has your best scoring chances arguably, you're not going to win many games.
-Special teams were the biggest issue for the Penguins, particularly with the power play and that's to be understood with Neal and Kunitz (as well as Martin and Letang) absent. The Penguins had little in the way of cohesion with the man advantage. The Flyers, always aggressive on the penalty kill, took full advantage.
-One interesting aspect of the power play was how Lee Stempniak was used. He got some time on the point. He has been a point man on the power play for some of the other teams he has played for in the NHL.
-Fleury was okay. He could have stolen a goal but he was under attack until the Flyers pulled back a little bit in the third period.
-It would be a stretch to say Mason was tested a great deal.
-There was some feistiness to this game but it really didn't bubble over. Some of the more rambunctious elements on each team mixed it up and drew some penalties but you didn't see it translate into outright fisticuffs as has happened between these teams in the past.
-Brian Gibbons, Taylor Pyatt and Jayson Megna each logged significant minutes as top-six forwards in this game. That's all you need to know.
-Tanner Glass had one of the better efforts for this team. He mixed it up with Flyers and drew some penalties. He's one of the few Penguins who could hold his head high after this game.
-Engelland and Simon Despres had a solid game as a defensive pairing as well. They created a few scoring chances from the blue line and weren't afraid to mix it up with the Flyers.
-Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin weren't invisible but were pretty ineffective. We're not sure what can be fairly expected given their linemates today.
-The Brooks Orpik-Olli Maatta pairing didn't look sharp. They might have even regressed after two strong games against the Capitals.
-Jussi Jokinen was pretty putrid. He looked defeated after being beaten by Sean Couturier for the puck which led to Matt Read's opening goal.
-Occasions like this are when you'd like to see Brandon Sutter step up. He didn't do that today.
-The Flyers led the game in shots on net, 40-25.
-The Flyers led the game in attempted shots, 71-44.
-Read led the game with six shots.
-Despres led the Penguins with five shots.
-Braydon Coburn led the Flyers with 23:26 of ice time.
-Matt Niskanen led the Penguins with 23:05.
-The Flyers led in faceoffs, 31-24 (56 percent).
-Claude Giroux was 10 for 17 (59 percent).
-Marcel Goc was 6 for 12 (50 percent).
-Orpik led the game with seven blocked shots.
-Coburn led the Flyers with four shots.
-The Flyers recorded their 20th all-time shutout against the Penguins, the most of any one opponent against the Penguins.
-The Flyers' last regular season shutout of the Penguins was by Martin Biron, April 6, 2008.