Round One of the Turnpike Rivalry is set to happen tonight. The Philadelphia Flyers host the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Wells Fargo Center with the puck set to drop at 7:00 p.m. If the Flyers are going to turn their 1-6-0 season around, Flyers fans are going to want it to happen tonight against the 5-1-0 Penguins who are the Metropolitan Division leaders.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
THE FIRST LINE:
TYE MCGINN — McGinn has three goals in the two games he has played in since he was called up from the Adirondack Phantoms. Two of those goals came against the Vancouver Canucks and he is now leading the team in goals. McGinn has been playing on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Since his arrival, Giroux and Voracek now have two points each coming from assists.
JAKUB VORACEK — In the four games that the Flyers and Penguins played each other in last season, Voracek came away with five goals and one assist at the end of their series.
CLAUDE GIROUX — Giroux had two goals and three assists last season against the Penguins. He also has at least a point in the past 10 games against the Penguins. Giroux is also known for this:
Giroux only has two points on the season. Look for him to come out with "The Shift, Version 2.0" tonight against the Penguins.
SIDNEY CROSBY — Crosby is always a player to watch no matter what team the Penguins play. Playing against the Flyers, he had one goal and four assists last season. In a career 43 games against the Flyers, Crosby has 28 goals and 43 assists. This season he has five goals and seven assists.
THE ENTIRE TEAM — The reason to watch the entire team is because they have been scoring a lot this season. In every game they have played so far this season, they have tallied at least three goals. The Flyers have averaged just one goal per game.
WHO IS STARTING BETWEEN THE PIPES?
Steve Mason will get his sixth start of the season tonight. He is 1-4 this season, but his record doesn't reflect his performance. He has actually been playing great in each game. However, it was just defensive breakdowns that were the problems. Mason's save percentage for the season is at .926 and he has a 2.23 goals against average. Now that he is playing in Philadelphia, Mason knows how big a Flyers-Penguins game is, especially in front of a Wells Fargo Center crowd.
PLAYING WITH DISCIPLINE
Flyers head coach Craig Berube said that he wants the team to play a more disciplined game tonight against the Penguins. There is going to be one problem with that and it's the fact that it's a rivalry game. These types of games bring out the worst in players as they will start jawing at each other right from the beginning of the game. As the game goes on, the fire inside them gets stronger until they eventually snap and start committing dumb penalties.
With the Flyers sitting at 1-6-0, they are getting desperate for a win and to turn things around. Their undisciplined play in their first seven games is the reason why they are in this position. If they stop committing the dumb penalties, they may actually start winning games.
The Flyers have played well in the first two periods of each game this season. However, they managed to breakdown entirely in the third period. The perfect example of this occurred against the Canucks. They need to show up for all 60 minutes, not just for the first 40. With tonight being a big rivalry game against the Penguins, look for the Flyers to actually show up for the final 20 minutes of the game.
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