Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers – Easter Sunday Showdown


The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers will meet one last time for the 2014-15 season in what will be their second matchup in the last five days. The two last met on Wednesday, 4/1 in a game that saw the Flyers dominate the Penguins and leave Consol Energy Center with a 4-1 victory.

While the sentiment in the last matchup was that the game didn’t matter for the Pittsburgh Penguins, that notion couldn’t be further from the truth for this Easter Sunday matchup.

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The Penguins watched as many of their Metropolitan Division rivals came away with points on Saturday night, including the Ottawa Senators who are now a mere three points shy of the Penguins in the standings. While it seemed almost impossible that the Pittsburgh Penguins could forfeit their spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the last week has proven differently and they are in grave danger of missing the post season for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

The Flyers can also complete a season sweep of the Penguins with a win.

Player to Watch – Philadelphia
Sean Couturier will likely be a huge factor in this one, as Evgeni Malkin seems poised for a return from his injury hiatus. Couturier has been a thorn in Malkin’s side every time the two have met, and tomorrow afternoon will be no different. While analytics say that Evgeni Malkin has owned this matchup, production says otherwise as Malkin has only three assists when on the ice against Sean Couturier in his career.

Player to Watch – Pittsburgh
Blake Comeau is likely going to get his Center back, which means he may get his mojo back. Comeau has been invisible without Evgeni Malkin but has been a crucial part to this team’s production when playing alongside Geno. With Malkin potentially returning tomorrow Blake Comeau will be looking to get rolling again and take advantage of the ice that opens up when his big Russian Center is attracting attention.

Keys to the Game
It’s extremely important for the Pittsburgh Penguins to get an early lead. That sounds cliché, but Pittsburgh is ranked 20th in the league in corsi-for per 60 minutes when trailing. Basically, they don’t generate offense effectively and allow far too many shots when playing from behind.  They have yet to erase a third period deficit and come away with a victory.

The most important thing for the Pittsburgh Penguins is once they have the lead they need to stay with their system. They’ve resorted to dump and chase recently on numerous occasions and they aren’t built for it.  Quick defensive zone transitions and puck possession through the neutral zone is how this team is successful.  Keep your foot on the gas.

If Pittsburgh can’t elevate their play for this one, then I’m confident that they won’t fare well in the playoffs. You’re facing your biggest rival in their barn and the game could be a large part of you securing a playoff bid.  It’s time to put the boots on and get to work.

There isn’t much else to say other than Happy Easter and Let’s Go Pens!

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