Spying on the Saboteur: Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins

As the Philadelphia Flyers approach the end of October, they play their third straight Metropolitan Divison opponent. After a fantastic comeback win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Carter Hart got a start against the New York Islanders. With Hart’s struggles continuing, Philadelphia turns to Brian Elliott to start against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. Most recently, the Penguins shut out the Dallas Stars, 3-0. After winning the season series last season, the Flyers are looking to defeat Pittsburgh in their first of four 2019-2020 regular-season games.

Special teams have been a strength of the Philadelphia Flyers this season. There has not been a streak of two games this season without a powerplay goal for the Flyers. The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently experiencing their longest drought without a powerplay goal, spanning over six games. Both teams have players who are in the middle of point streaks. For Philadelphia, Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes have six points through their streaks, and for the Penguins, Teddy Blueger has three points during his streak while Jake Guentzel has four points in his.

Over the last ten games, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins have split, 5-5. Last season, the Flyers won the regular-season series opener against the Penguins. When that puck drops at 7:00 pm from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Keystone State rivalry is back on! On the injury report for Philadelphia is Scott Laughton with a broken finger. For Pittsburgh, it doesn’t seem that Evgeni Malkin will play tonight, but Brian Dumoulin, Alex Galchenyuk, and Adam Johnson are all game-time decisions.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Skaters

Sidney Crosby is the leading scorer of the Pittsburgh Penguins this season with fourteen points. Of those points, four of those are goals and ten are assists. Crosby has been more effective during even-strength hockey, where one of his goals is on the powerplay and two of his assists are on the powerplay. The rest, all even-strength. He’s scored on 13.8% of the shots he shoots.

Kris Letang has been the defensive standout this season on the Pittsburgh Penguins. With a +/- of 4, he does have ten points credited this season. Of those points, he has six assists and four goals. He joints a supporting cast on defense that has been physical this season. Letang has eleven blocked shots this year and dished out twenty hits.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Goaltending

Matt Murray could be getting the start for the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. He was in between the pipes during the Penguins shut out of the Dallas Stars and has been the proven started this season. In nine starts, Murray has six wins and three losses, none of which have been in overtime or shootouts. Maintaining a 91.8% save percentage and a 2.33 goal against average, Murray has notched six quality starts this season.

Philadelphia Flyers – Skaters

Travis Konecny is the leading scorer of the Philadelphia Flyers this season with thirteen points. Of those points, six of those are goals and seven are assists. Konecny is a true dual-threat this season, scoring four goals during even-strength hockey and tallying four assists on the powerplay. There just isn’t a time when Konecny isn’t dangerous on the ice. He’s scored on 30% of the shots he takes.

Matt Niskanen has been the most consistent defenseman on the Philadelphia Flyers up to this point. With a +/- of 4, he has five points this season. Like Konecny, Niskanen has been just as strong during even-strength hockey as he is on the powerplay, scoring one goal on offense and one on the powerplay. Niskanen’s three assists have all come on the powerplay this season. While Robert Hagg is still the most physical of the Flyers defensemen, Niskanen has compiled ten blocked shots and eight hits.

Philadelphia Flyers – Goaltending

Brian Elliott will be getting the start for the Philadelphia Flyers tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Against the New York Islanders, he did see more playing time as he was substituted for Carter Hart. In four starts, Elliott has three wins and one loss, none of which have been in overtime or shootouts. Maintaining a 92.6% save percentage and a 2.28 goal against average, Elliott has secured three quality starts this season.

Faceoff Possession

Once again, the Philadelphia Flyers hold another advantage against an opposing team in the faceoff circle. The Flyers are winning 58.3% of their faceoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins are winning 51.3% of their team faceoffs. Four Penguins are above 50% at the faceoff dot; Dominik Kahun, Sidney Crosby, Sam Lafferty, and Evgeni Malkin. Six Flyers are above 50% in the faceoff win statistic; Oskar Lindblom, Travis Konecny, Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, James van Riemsdyk, and Mikhail Vorobyev.

Prediction

As I stated on Pod Street Bullies podcast with my fellow Philadelphia Flyers reporters, John Gove and Derrik Bobb, I have the Flyers winning tonight’s game. There will be fights, there will be late-game theatrics, and I predict the final will be 4-3 in overtime. As usual, when these teams are on the ice, it is always a good game with high tension. If you were at the Stadium Series game at Lincoln Financial Field last season, you know that anything is possible when Philadelphia goes head to head with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm, live from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The money line favors the Pittsburgh Penguins at -150 with an over/under set at 6.5.

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