Tonight, the ‘Battle of Pennsylvania’ runs through the Wells Fargo Center. John Tortorella looks to add another win versus the Keystone State rivals before heading on a three-game road trip.
On Saturday, Sean Couturier tallied the lone shootout goal while Sam Ersson stopped 29/32 shots. On special teams, the Flyers were 5/5 on the penalty kill and 1/4 on the powerplay. It was the first comeback win for Philadelphia this season. The performance gave the Penguins their first shootout loss.
Where to Watch
When: Monday, December 4th at 7pm
Where: Wells Fargo Center
How: NBC Sports Philadelphia (TV) and 97.5 the Fanatic (FM)
Jake Guentzel is the weapon that the Penguins love to utilize. He scored six points (3G, 3A) in his last five games. Guentzel averages over a point per game against the Flyers, notching 28 points (12G, 16A) in 27 career games against the rival club.
Guentzel hasn’t played back-to-back games without a point since October 21st. He is the most consistent forward on the roster for Pittsburgh, leading the team in point production. Both teams took a bit to get going on offense in their last tilt, but expect a different experience in the rematch.
Sidney Crosby will line up with Guentzel. Everyone recalls the statistics Crosby compounded against Philadelphia in his storied career. In 84 chapters of the ‘Battle of Pennsylvania,’ Crosby tallied 124 points (53G, 71A). That stands as the most goals scored against any one team. Naturally, Tortorella hasn’t overlooked the superstar veteran.
On special teams, the Penguins bring a mixed bag. They tout an 8th-ranked penalty kill (84.7%) but are ranked 30th (10.9%) on the powerplay.
Here’s the tentative lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins:
Could there be a turning of the tides in the ‘Battle of Pennsylvania?’ Pittsburgh swept the state series in 2022-2023.
Tyson Foerster took a massive step forward. He collected four points (2G, 2A) in his last five games, not including a game-winner in a shootout against the New York Islanders. Foerster hit a scoring drought to begin the season but remains one of the strongest skaters on the puck, according to Tortorella. His updated role on the powerplay put him in better offensive situations.
However, the Flyers need more scorers to hit their marks. Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost scored recently, sparking late rallies, but haven’t broken their funk. Travis Konecny isn’t lighting the lamp as often but still helps contribute assists on the stat sheet. Bobby Brink contributed two assists in his last five entries into the lineup. Philadelphia scored more than one goal only twice in the recent five-game stretch.
Defensively, the Flyers seem to have improved, though they won’t sacrifice risk-taking, even if it means giving up the odd-man rush. There is room for improvement, such as clearing the zone and converting more opportunities off turnovers.
Travis Sanheim is active in all zones of the ice, sometimes a little too deep on offense. He hasn’t shied away, and his involvement makes him the strongest defenseman in the lineup. Sanheim is among the defensive leaders in ice time this season, averaging 25:57.
Here’s the tentative lineup for the Philadelphia Flyers, per Eric Reese:
Place Your Bets (via DraftKings)
Philadelphia Flyers (-102)
Pittsburgh Penguins (-118)
Jake Guenzel over 1.5pts (+170)
Sidney Crosby anytime goal (+115)
Tyson Foerster over .5pt (+100)
Travis Sanheim over .5pt (-105)
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)