2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog - Conference Quarter-finals
For the most part, the Flyers and Penguins who will face off in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarter-finals Wednesday night in Pittsburgh (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET) bear a close resemblance to the teams that met in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, a lopsided series won by the Penguins in five games.
There are, however, significant factors that should make these two teams a more even matchup. The most notable players missing from Pittsburgh’s 2008 roster are Marian Hossa, Ryan Malone and Jarkko Ruutu, who have been replaced by Bill Guerin, Chris Kunitz and Ruslan Fedotenko.
The Flyers no longer have bruisers Jason Smith and Derian Hatcher on defence, opting instead for the more mobile Ryan Parent and Matt Carle. The Flyers will also have a healthy Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn, each of whom missed four of the five games against the Penguins last May, and Simon Gagne, who missed all of last year’s playoffs with a concussion.
“I hope we make the difference,” Timonen said. “This is the time of year every one of us wants to play. I’m healthy and ready to go. They’ve been playing well, but we’re ready to go, too.”
Look for Penguins coach Dan Bylsma to try to get his top two lines out against the Flyers’ third defence pairing of Andrew Alberts and Randy Jones. Alberts can play physically, but is not very mobile, and Jones’ mobility has been hampered by a hip injury.
Flyers coach John Stevens will try to match his top line of Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble and defencemen Kimmo Timonen and Ryan Parent against Pittsburgh’s top line of Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin. His second unit of Jeff Carter, Scott Hartnell and Joffrey Lupul will see lots of time against the Evgeni Malkin, Ruslan Fedotenko and Petr Sykora line and Stevens will try to get Carter’s line out against the Penguins’ defence pairing of Rob Scuderi and Philippe Boucher.
Biron seeks redemption, contract
Flyers goaltender Martin Biron saw his first Stanley Cup playoff action last year and proved himself by beating the favoured Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens in the first two rounds.
This spring he could be making his final playoff appearances for the Flyers. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
“I’m not even going to go there,” he said. “I don’t even think about it. I’m going to be unrestricted, so what? Vinny Prospal last year knew he wasn’t coming back here, but he played because he wanted to win for the Flyers.
“When you get on the ice and when you get on the plane and when you’re in the locker-room, it’s not on your mind. The personal rewards from winning are so much more than (a contract). When we won Game 7 in Washington (last year), the hair on my arms stood up for 24 hours. That’s what you play for.”
No love for Igloo
Flyers left-winger Scott Hartnell, who hasn’t cut his hair in 17 months, says the only thing uglier than the mop on his head is the sight of Mellon Arena.
“It’s just a steel building and the roof can come half off. It’s a weird building. There are no frills. It will be a good day when that new building goes up.”
Flyers roster moves
The Flyers recalled 19-year-old defenceman Luca Sbisa and 26-year-old forward Jared Ross from the AHL Phantoms. Ross will replace Andreas Nodl on the fourth line alongside centre Darroll Powe and left-winger Dan Carcillo. Sbisa is a smooth skater who could replace Ryan Parent (groin) or Randy Jones (hip) if either defenceman breaks down physically.
Penguins roster moves
It looks as though Penguins coach Dan Bylsma will go with bruiser Eric Godard as his fourth-line right-winger, which would give the Penguins’ fourth line a huge size advantage over the Flyers, who are without enforcer Riley Cote (finger surgery).
“Certainly, the physicality of the game and who we're playing against would be a factor,” Bylsma said of Godard’s availability. If Bylsma sees Godard being ineffective against the Flyers’ smallish forwards, he might go to callup Miro Satan later in the series.
Bylsma also has not yet decided on whether Mark Eaton or Philippe Boucher will play on the third defence pairing, alongside Rob Scuderi.
Eaton sat out the season finale with an undisclosed injury.
Flyers forward lines:
Scott Hartnell-Jeff Carter-Joffrey Lupul
Simon Gagne-Mike Richards-Mike Knuble
Danny Briere-Claude Giroux-Arron Asham
Dan Carcillo-Darroll Powe-Jared Ross
Kimmo Timonen-Ryan Parent
Matt Carle-Braydon Coburn
Andrew Alberts-Randy Jones
Penguins forward lines:
Ruslan Fedotenko-Evgeni Malkin-Petr Sykora
Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Bill Guerin
Matt Cooke-Jordan Staal-Tyler Kennedy
Pascal Dupuis-Max Talbot-Eric Godard
Brooks Orpik-Sergei Gonchar
Hal Gill-Kris Letang
Rob Scuderi-Philippe Boucher
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- Saturday, June 13, 2009
- Red Wings too late in arriving in Game 7
- Saturday, June 13, 2009
- Penguins sticking to regular routines
- Friday, June 12, 2009
- Babcock low-key all the way for Game 7
- Friday, June 12, 2009
- Rafalski shares Game 7 Stanley Cup wisdom
- Thursday, June 11, 2009
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