The Pittsburgh Penguins (12-8-1) game was complete and uptempo on Tuesday when they beat the Philadelphia Flyers (11-5-3) 5-2 at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins still trail Philadelphia for fourth place in the East Division because the Flyers have played two fewer games, but the two are tied with 25 points.
The Penguins will likely be without captain Sidney Crosby and assistant coach Todd Reirden who are in the NHL COVID protocol. Unless either are cleared before game time, it will be the Penguins’ second game without the pair.
Update: They were cleared.
The heated rivals will do it again Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena, again in front of 2800 fans who will get to see just their second live hockey game this season. On Tuesday, the Penguins gathered at center ice to salute the fans in attendance.
Kasperi Kapanen went off on Tuesday with a pair of goals and a standout performance. The Penguins broke the Flyers forecheck, and Tristan Jarry was also a brick wall. Get the full Penguins tactical analysis and report card with PHN+.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed Jarry will start again on Thursday. The Penguins netminder has raised his save percentage to .900 and lowered his GAA to 3.06 with a sparkling run over his last eight games. Jarry hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a game over those eight and has a .928 save percentage.
The Flyers will again turn to their ace ‘tendy, Carter Hart, who is 6-4-0 with a 3.49 GAA and .893 save percentage.
The Penguins injured players, excluding Jason Zucker, have been skating in full contact mode. Brian Dumoulin and Evan Rodrigues will not play Thursday, but their practice status suggests their close. Mark Jankowski will be a game-time decision.
UPDATE: Hours after publishing, Sidney Crosby and Todd Reirden were activated from the NHL protocol.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines, Special Teams
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Jared McCann||Jeff Carter||Freddy Gaudreau|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Mike Matheson||Cody Ceci|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
Philadelphia Flyers Lines
|Claude Giroux||Sean Couturier||Jakub Voracek|
|Joel Farabee||Kevin Hayes||Travis Konecny|
|James Van Riemsdyk||Nolan Patrick||Nicolas Aube-Kubel|
|Oskar Lindblom||Scott Laughton||Wade Allison|
|Ivan Provorov||Justin Braun|
|Travis Sanheim||Philippe Myers|
|Shayne Gostisbehere||Robert Hagg|
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||23.7%, 4th NHL||77.4%, 27th NHL|
|New York Islanders||18.8%, 21st NHL||83.7%, 6th NHL|
What To Watch:
The Pittsburgh Penguins cracked the Flyers forecheck like the Da Vinci code on Tuesday. The Penguins played on the rush and were able to play fast. We detailed the Hows in the Report Card. Alain Vigneault isn’t typically a go-for-broke forecheck coach, so expect adjustments.
The Penguins’ special teams were also good, but as Mike Sullivan said, “Tristan (Jarry) was our best penalty killer…” The Penguins will have to tighten up even further to keep Philadelphia off the board. The PK was aggressive and forced Philadelphia to scramble. There were, however, great scoring chances. That’s how good Jarry was.
You don’t want your goalie to save your bacon, but it sure is nice when he does. Jarry is asserting himself, and it’s fun to watch, but if he’s not brilliant, can the Penguins still look good?
Joel Farabee was a pest. He scored a pair of goals, and the young forward, who was the last Ron Hextall/Chris Pryor top pick in Philadelphia, is coming into his own. The Penguins can’t allow him to get pucks in the dirty areas. He knows what to do with them.
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
*Kasperi Kapanen recorded his first multi-goal game in a Penguins sweater, scoring twice in a span of 5:02, as the Penguins won with fans in the stands (2,800) for the first time since March 8, 2020.
*Jason Zucker placed on long-term injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 23. Forwards Anthony Angello, Josh Currie, and Drew O’Connor re-assigned to the taxi squad. F Frederick Gaudreau re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL).
*Penguins have points in four-straight home games against the Flyers (3-0-1) and are 8-2-1 over their last 11 home games vs. Philadelphia.
*Evgeni Malkin has 74 career points (28G-46A) in 61 career games against the Flyers.
*Last season, the Penguins went 18-6-4 (.714 points percentage) when Sidney Crosby was sidelined due to injury.
*As bad as the Penguins’ power play has been, their power-play success rate at home is 27.3%, ranking 12th in the NHL.
*Kapanen’s first goal ended a team shutout streak of 160:39 going back to the Feb. 24 game vs. NYR; his second goal marked the first time the Flyers had trailed in a game since their trip to Lake Tahoe on Feb. 21.
*Sean Couturier extended his scoring streak to a career-high seven games with an assist on Farabee’s first goal. He led the Flyers with seven shots on goal.
*Joel Farabee recorded his third multi-goal game of the season. He had four shots on goal, six total attempts, and was credited with five hits.
How to Watch
AT&T SportsNet; Radio: 105.9 The X