The Pittsburgh Penguins look to secure a Game 1 victory as cross state rival Philadelphia comes knocking at their doorstep. The Pens have had 3 days to prep for their arch rivals. This series without a doubt will be the most exhilarating to start the 2011-2012 Stnaley Cup playoffs.
The Penguins are almost back to full strength with their line up. James Neal will be back on the Kunitz/Malkin line tonight but don’t be surprised to see Dan Bylsma shift the lines around just a bit to confuse the Flyers. One of the bigger questions going into tonight’s game, will Matt Niskanen be ready to go? He has been held to light practices the last few days. If Niskanen doesn’t go tonight, look for either Ben Lovejoy or Brian Strait to be called into action for the Penguins.
On the Flyers side of the puck, Giroux and Grossman will be back on their respected lines. Both players have been out for rest or recovering from injury. On the Flyers side look for a lot of jawing to get under the skin of the Penguins. The one big key for the Flyers is containing Crosby and Malkin. If the Flyers let Sid and Geno score a lot of points in this series, look for the Flyers to make a very early exit.
The Penguins will have to bring their A game for this series. The powerplay has to produce more then it has over the last couple of weeks. Nothing is official yet on what the line pairings will be for both teams.
The puck drops tonight at 7:30PM at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. It’s A Hockey Night in Pittsburgh!!!!! If you have any comments post them here at Penslabyrinth.com or shoot me a tweet @DanHoblick.