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Game 54 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers 5/4/2021: lines, how to watch

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The Penguins look to bounce back in the last game against the Flyers this season

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (34-16-3, 71 points, 2nd place in the Eastern Division, four games remaining) @ Philadelphia Flyers (23-22-7, 53 points, 6th place Eastern Division)

When: 7:00 p.m. eastern

How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in Pittsburgh, NBCSports Philadelphia in Philly, NBC SN if not in a local market

Opponent Track: The Flyers broke out of a three game losing streak to beat up on the Pens last night.

Pens path ahead: The Pens return to Pittsburgh to finish the season with two against Buffalo on Thursday and Saturday and then it will be time to wait for the playoffs.

Season Series: The Pens are only 2-4-1 vs PHI this season, one of just two teams that they won’t have a winning record against (BOS). Philly won the opening game of the season Pittsburgh 6-3 on January 13th and then 5-2 on 1/15, in what seems like ages ago. The Pens won by a score of 5-2 on 3/2, and the Flyers went from a 3-0 hole to win on 4-3 on 3/4. Pittsburgh bounced back to win 4-3 on 3/4. But then Philly won 2-1 in a shootout on 4/15. And then last night (waves hands) whatever that was.

Recent History: Pittsburgh has points in 12 of its last 18 games against Philadelphia (9-6-3).

Hidden Stat: The Penguins are a total of 12-4-1 in back-to-back games this season, but last night broke a trend as the first loss that they’ve had in the opening game of a b-2-b set. (now 8-1-0 the first game; 4-3-1 the second game).

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

Last night Game Lines

FORWARDS

Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Travis Konecny

Joel Farabee - Kevin Hayes - Jakub Voracek

James van Riemsdyk - Nolan Patrick - Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Oskar Lindbolm - Scott Laughton - Wade Allison

DEFENSEMEN

Ivan Provorov / Justin Braun

Shayne Gotisbehere / Travis Sanheim

Robert Hagg / Phil Myers

Possible Starting goalie: Brian Elliott

Scratches: Carter Hart (injured), Sam Morin, Carson Twarynski, Jackson Cates, Tanner Laczynski

IR: Morgan Frost

One of those nights

Off the ice, Jakub Voracek is certainly one of the league’s more interesting quotes and personalities in the sport right now. His comments about last night’s game were pretty enlightening coming from his perspective of playing in that game, and also dealing with the craziness of this 2020-21, shortened, pandemic season.

And now for the Pens..

Last night’s Game lines

Forwards

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust

Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Kasperi Kapanen

Jared McCann - Jeff Carter - Frederick Gaudreau

Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Colton Sceviour

Defense

Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang

Mark Friedman / Cody Ceci

Marcus Pettersson / John Marino

Expected starting goalie: Tristan Jarry

Scratches: Radim Zohorna, Chad Ruhwedel, Evan Rodrigues, Mark Jankowski, Sam Lafferty

IR: Brandon Tanev

Taxi Squad: Juuso Riikola, Yannick Weber, Emil Larmi

—The Pens’ depth down the middle right now is really fun. The Jeff Carter depth add is proving to be a wise pickup and just the sort of solid player the team needed as a boost.

—Jason Zucker scored on the power play last night, but all eyes will be on him to step it up more. It’s been a bit of a disappointing year for him, just last night he could have easily had two more goals (the play where Kapanen’s shot was tumbling to the net, Zucker couldn’t quite tap it in, another time on a 2-on-0 Kapanen passed it over, the puck was rolling and a tough play moving fast, but Zucker fanned on the shot attempt). With how that line is playing, especially Kapanen with his scoring chance generation, a lot is on Zucker’s shoulders to produce.

The race for home ice

After sweeping two games against the Capitals last week, the Pens were in the driver’s seat for first place in the division. It took all of one game for them to give it up and now are in a dog fight, with Washington winning last night and the Bruins also absolutely destroying a weak NJ team.

Another Islanders loss sends them on the course for fourth place, barring a major turnaround in the season’s final few games.

In one day with these results (Pittsburgh- L, Washington+Boston W), Pittsburgh’s odds in The Athletic’s model to finish first went from 42% to now just 19%. The Bruins are at 47% because that model is sweet on them, and the B’s still have three games left against non-playoff opponents that they’ve been ganging up on lately.

The most important thing for the Pens is to get through tonight unscathed, they lost Casey DeSmith to an injury of unknown severity. The second most important thing for home ice purposes would be getting a result.