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Game 22 Preview: Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins 3/4/2021: lines, how to watch

The battle of Pennsylvania rages on tonight in Pittsburgh as the Flyers are back looking to avenge Tuesday’s loss

NHL: MAR 02 Flyers at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who: Philadelphia Flyers (11-5-3, 25 points, 4th place Eastern Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (12-8-1, 25 points, 5th place in the Eastern Division)

When: 7:00 p.m. eastern

How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in Pittsburgh, NBC Sports-Philadelphia across the way, and available on ESPN+

Opponent Track: The Flyers are 3-2-1 in their last six games and were on a bit of a Buffalo aided winning streak prior to losing 5-2 to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The Flyers will stay in town for a third game on Saturday afternoon before returning home for a four game homestand that begins with playing the Capitals on Sunday night.

Pens path ahead: The Pens have the Flyers tonight and Saturday afternoon and then they have a back-to-back of their own with the Rangers coming to the ‘Burgh on Sunday night and a second game on next Tuesday (3/9).

Season Series: The home team has ruled so far in Pens/Flyers. Philly won the opening game of the season Pittsburgh 6-3 on January 13th and then 5-2 two days later. The Pens, of course, returned the favor by holding their home turf 5-2 on Tuesday. After this week, the Flyers come back to Pittsburgh on April 15, and the Pens go to Philly on May 3+4 to finish the regular season series.

Recent History: The Pens are 8-2-1 vs PHI in the last 11 games at PPG Paints Arena.

SBN Team Counterpart: Check out Broad Street Hockey for the latest news to know about the Flyers.

Player Stats at a Glance

via hockeydb:

—van Riemsdyk has been a force this year, especially in front of the net. He had three shots on goal, including a couple of redirections from in front that required tough and great stops from Tristan Jarry. He’s certainly emerged as a player to watch.

—Brian Elliott has been very solid to start the season and after Hart floundered giving up five goals in the last game, the Flyers could very well turn to their veteran backup to see if he can give another great performance and help the team rebound.

Possible Lines


James van Riemsdyk - Sean Couturier - Joel Farabee

Claude Giroux - Kevin Hayes - Travis Konecny

Oscar Lindbolm - Scott Laughton - Jakub Voracek

Michael Raffl - Patrick/Connor Bunnamann - Nicolas Aube-Kubel


Ivan Provorov / Shayne Gotisbehere

Travis Sanheim / Justin Braun

Robert Hagg / Phil Myers

Possible starting goalie: ?

Scratches: Erik Gustafsson

IR: Morgan Frost

Provorov as the key to the team

There’s a case to be made that Ivan Provorov’s performance will be the bell weather to determine how successful the Flyers can be this season. As Kurt from Broad Street laid out:

The biggest unknown surrounding Provorov entering the year was who the Flyers would put next to him on the top pair, one year after he spent nearly all of his time in a successful partnership with Matt Niskanen. And to be clear, the options he’s been given haven’t been great. Phil Myers was inconsistent and then got hurt, Justin Braun has been rough for most of this season, and while Shayne Gostisbehere’s been better, on aggregate he hasn’t played at the level that you’d hope for if you’re placing him in the nominal No. 2 defenseman spot. (Last night’s loss in Pittsburgh was not a banner performance for either of these two.)

Which brings the conversation back to Provorov. Maybe it’s unfair to ask him to be his 100% best self when the guys he’s played with haven’t been able to follow suit. But the job description of a top-of-the-lineup defenseman isn’t always fair, and one could reasonably have hoped that the one the Flyers have would track a bit closer to that description than he has.

The question, then: can things turn? With or without an add from the outside? It seems like the Flyers are going to try their hardest to add another defenseman before the trade deadline, and if that gets Provorov back to where he was last year, it unlocks a new level for this team.

There is a lot of speculation that the Flyers will push hard to add a player in a trade, namely Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm. Besides being left handed, it makes a lot of sense — the Flyers could use another legit top-four defenseman, and Ekholm certainly is that. Philly hasn’t replaced the retired Matt Niskanen and their non-Provorov defensemen aren’t terribly inspiring. If they can add Ekholm they could change the whole dynamic of their blueline and perhaps team. Something to keep an eye on as the season continues.

And now for the Pens..



Jake Guentzel - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust

Brandon Tanev -Jared McCann - Kasperi Kapanen

Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Sam Lafferty

Colton Sceviour - Mark Jankowski - Anthony Angello


Marcus Pettersson / Kris Letang

Mike Matheson / John Marino

Mark Friedman / Cody Ceci

Possible starting goalie: ?

Scratches: Chad Ruhwedel, Josh Currie

IR: Juuso Riikola, Evan Rodrigues, Brian Dumoulin, Jason Zucker

Taxi Squad: Yannick Weber, Emil Larmi. P.O Joseph, Frederick Gaudreau

COVID Protocol list: Sidney Crosby, assistant coach Todd Reirden

—We’ll see if one or both of Dumoulin and Rodrigues can return to the lineup, both are getting ever-so-close to being cleared after taking part in full contact practice.

—With Reirden also unavailable, Pens skill coach Ty Hennes got the tap on the shoulder to join head coach Mike Sullivan and assistant Mike Velucci on the bench for the game Tuesday and will presumably remain until Reirden is cleared and able to resume his coaching duties in person.

Jarry rebound

After being one of the worst goalies in the league for the first few weeks of the season, magically and seemingly out of no where, Tristan Jarry has hit the reset button and reverted into All-Star form in his last eight games. For many games, including probably Tuesday, he’s been the Pens’ best player and literally the saving grace. From Pens PR:

Goaltender Tristan Jarry was exceptional on Tuesday night against the Flyers, turning aside 40 of 42 shots (.952) in Pittsburgh’s win. After dropping five of his first seven starts this year, Jarry has rounded into form, going 6-2-0 over his last eight starts dating back to Feb. 14 against Washington.

During that span, Jarry’s six wins are most in the NHL, while his 2.36 goals-against average is 10th best, and his .928 save percentage ranks fourth in the league (min. 5 starts).

Here at home, Jarry is 6-1-0 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in 2020-21.

The goaltending of Jarry, and backup Casey DeSmith for that matter, is a big reason why the Pens have won seven of their last 10 games and have gotten their season back on track.