24 March 2011
The Captain doing the Lord's work.
Rivaly week continues tonight as your Philadelphia Flyers take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Well. The two top teams in the Atlantic, two long time enemies, have both excelled this year. The paths that these two teams have taken have been very different, but as many predicted we are left with the Battle of Pennsylvania to determine the best in the Division. We haven't seen our french-fries-on-a-hoagie-loving neighbors since mid December. If the amazing pace and atmosphere from Tuesday night carries over, we're in for a hell of a night.
The Penguins have had a rough year. "Rough", is putting it gently. They have lost Geno for the year, and Crosby been out since January. Sid the Kid is suffering from concussion symptoms, the same problem that forced Lappy into retirement, and what turned our Big E into a shell of his former self. Crosby and Malkin are not the only two players the Pens have lost. Jordan Staal, Asham, Orpik, Tangradi, Comrie, Letestu and the entire starting offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Add to the injuries the pressure to win another Cup with this young core AND the shenanigans of one Matt Cooke, and this Penguins season resembles more of a shit show than a Cup contender. But here they sit, 5 points below us, still in the thick of it, and currently set to host a first round playoff series. I've watched the Pens a lot this year. Expecting them to blow up, but they haven't. It's even more frustrating than watching the win. I give their coach, Dan Bylsma, a lot of credit. He's kept the team focused and their energy high. Looking at this game on paper, you see the lineups stacked heavily in the Flyers favor, but this Penguins team won't go down without a fight.
The Pens roll three very strong forechecking lines, and without the Flyers depth, it would be a major issue tonight. In fact, it is the Flyers depth, above talent, goaltending and scorers, that will effect tonights game the most. Whatever got into Andreas Nodl and Claude Giroux immediately gave the Flyers three lines that were a buzz all night. We made the Caps panic, forced turnovers, delivered massive checks, scored timely goals and kept the crowd going nuts all night. It was the best Flyers game I've seen this team play since January against the Blackhawks. It was great to see THAT team again, something I hope carries over into tonight's important tilt.
We haven't seen each other for three months, but the hate's still there. Both teams are missing key guys which takes some of the fun out of this, but not all of it. An important two points await, anything is possible. I want that barn so loud, Kris Letang lets a little bit of pee out during the Anthem.
Does Thursday night hockey get any better than this? Let's Go Flyers.
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