On Thursday night, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins will clashed in one of the best physical geography competitions in the NHL. Both teams have a large base of loyal fans in two major markets in Pennsylvania. Since 1998, they have faced off as divisional enemies every season. Sidney Crosby He started his career in Pittsburgh in 2005. It peaked between the 2007-08 and 2011-12 seasons, when the two teams played three playoff series in five seasons.
Cross-state competitors Although Pittsburgh has first-class star power, their performance is relatively balanced. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009 and the Flyers advanced to Game 6 of the Cup final in 2010. However, after the memorable first-round playoff series in 2012, the respective teams went in completely different directions.
Flyer, Penguin World Separate
In the 2012-13 season, the Flyers missed the playoffs for the second time in 18 seasons, and the Penguins advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.In the next five seasons, the talent levels of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury proved to be far superior to the trapeze roster. They have expensive contracts in their hands, but poorly performing players cannot be at the top. Provide the right depth behind the striker Claude Giroud, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Symonds. They can still defeat Pittsburgh through occasional regular season upsets, but the Penguins undoubtedly kept their cards for a brighter future.
The Penguins took over from head coach Dan Bylsma after the 2013-14 season and quickly took over from his substitute Mike Johnston in December 2015. It is difficult for both coaches to work together the world-class superstars on the roster to meet the fierce demands and strictly examine the playoff series.
When the Penguins hired Mike Sullivan as a replacement for Johnston, they won the gold medal. The newly hired head coach led the Penguins to his first Stanley Cup in the 2015-16 season. Phil Kessel, Crosby, Malkin, Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz formed a team that overwhelmed opponents with offensive firepower. In the playoffs, Sullivan bravely decided to replace the team goalkeeper Fleury with rookie Matt Murray. The Penguins finally played their potential as the masters of the NHL in the same season. In the first round of six games against the more talented Washington Capitals, the temporary team was eliminated from the roster.
In the 2016-17 season, the Penguins once again won the Stanley Cup. They joined the Chicago Blackhawks and became the only team in the 21st century to win three cup championships. The situation in Philadelphia got worse in the 2017-18 season. They faced Pittsburgh in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and had a chance to start the competition again, but their interstate opponents scored a staggering 25 goals in four victories in six games, which made them feel embarrassment. Although the Penguins have bragging rights, the Flyers promised their fans that the prospects and patient approach will soon be rewarded.
The continued success of Sullivan and the Penguins
The competitive rebuild during Ron Hextall’s tenure as the Flyers general manager (GM) looks set to give the organization a young core, including the highly touted goalkeeper prospects Carthart, Who can finally rebuild the team in the Stanley Cup competition. at the same time, Whispers of potential reconstruction Vortex in Pittsburgh after losing in the first round of the 2019 playoffs and losing in the qualifying rounds during the 2020 playoffs.
Philadelphia won the playoff series in 2020 for the first time in eight years. They kicked off the 2020-21 season with consecutive wins over the Penguins. When general manager Jim Rutherford resigned suddenly in January 2021, the aging superstars Crosby, Malkin and Le Tang looked like they could move on. Hextall brought Rutherford into a turning point of fate. The Flyers finally look ready to take over the excellent NHL franchise in Pennsylvania.
Sullivan has other ideas. Despite a long list of injuries and a shrinking talent pool, the two-time Stanley Cup champion still puts the aging Pittsburgh list together. Last season, he led the team to tie for the top spot in the Provisional Eastern Conference. They extended the league’s longest consecutive playoff time to 15 games.
Elliott Friedman recently summarized Sullivan’s 32 ideas podcast Talked about his incredible ability to keep the Penguins competitive.
“We are not here to say’Woe to me.’ We are playing, this is the way we have to play, this is the way we have to win. Those people are buying it.”
This Penguins beat the St. Louis Blues On Wednesday night, they extended their current winning streak to nine games. They currently rank No. 1 wild card in the East with 43 points, 11 points more than the Flyers and one game less.
Sullivan has found a way to put players in the best position to succeed without making excuses. Malkin has not yet completed his season debut. Crosby, Letang and Jake Guentzel all missed the game due to injuries. They entered the season with major goalkeeping problems. Tristan Jarry performed very well in the first half of the season. Evan Rodriguez went from the outcast of the Buffalo Sabres to the Penguins’ second scorer with 28 points in 32 games this season.
Flyers in different situations
The situation in Philadelphia collapsed in March 2021, when the Flyers limped through a brutal 6-10-1 game and withdrew from the playoffs. General manager Chuck Fletcher (Chuck Fletcher) a series of shrewd offseason moves seemed to help correct the ship, but a 10-game losing streak cost coach Alain Vigneault in December his job. The Flyers need an incredible comeback in the second half of the 2021-22 season to avoid missing the playoffs for the sixth time in the past decade.
Due to the lack of resilience in the environment where the Penguins thrive, the organization wasted the opportunity to surpass the opponent team.One of Fletcher’s offseason focus is to add veterans Leadership and character of the flyer, But these additions did not become successful efforts. During the last 10 consecutive losses, the team often struggled to stay alive when faced with deficits in the early stages of the game.
The flyer lacked the “no excuses” mentality that Sullivan implemented in Pittsburgh. The struggle of the Flyers’ top defensive combination is the most proof of the difference in toughness between the two teams. Before the start of last season, veteran Matt Niskanen retired. The entire blue line fell apart in the 2020-21 season, because no one can take on a bigger role and replace him.The same problem has been there this season Ryan Ellis is absent for a long timeAlthough the Penguins found a way to win without a great player like Malkin, the Flyers could not overcome the obstacles on their way forward.
After the Flyers lost to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night, interim head coach Mike Young gave a speech.
“Obviously, we are in a situation where we cannot bear frustration and frustration. We must continue to fight, continue to push, continue to get better, and believe that you will be rewarded, whether it is the result of that game or the result of our team in a longer period of time. result.”
The newly appointed substitute boss responded to Sullivan’s theory, but if the Flyers want to change the course of a team that has not won the Stanley Cup for nearly half a century, they need to put this theory into practice.
Colin Newby is a freelance journalist based in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, covering Philadelphia flyers for hockey writers. He is a useless encyclopedia of sports knowledge, with incredible ability to send out earth-shattering data from the leaflets of 2004 and every Stanley Cup winner in his life.His profound knowledge stems from the fact that he has been following Flyers and NHL all his life, from fan favorites such as Destruction Legion and Claude Giroud Unknown people like Andy Delmore and Blanco Radivojevic. Colin also wrote fictional sports stories and covered the Philadelphia Eagles.