Goodbye, Murray! High Hopes On Jarry!The Pittsburgh Penguins will kick off the 2020-21 season with a road game against the Philadelphia Flyers after failing to qualify for the actual playoffs last year, being eliminated in four outings (1-3) by the Montreal Canadiens during the qualifying round. The Pens finished the previous regular season in the 3rd place of the Metropolitan Division and 5th in the Eastern Conference, having amassed a 40-23-6 showing. Evgeni Malkin led the team with 74 points (25 goals, 49 assists), while Bryan Rust (56 points) had netted the most markers (27). Malkin has collected 73 points (28 goals, 45 helpers) in 58 career appearances against Philly.
Malkin: "I miss hockey, a lot. We haven't played in a long time. It's exciting to be tomorrow in Philly."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 12, 2021
With Matt Murray having departed to the Ottawa Senators, Tristan Jarry is the new de facto No. 1 of the Pens. He had a solid season last year (20-12-1 with a 2.43 GAA, a .921 save percentage and three shutouts), and is 4-1-0 versus Flyers historically with a 2.49 GAA and a .912 save percentage. Alongside Murray, Patrick Marleau (now of the San Jose Sharks), Justin Schultz and Conor Sheary (both - Washington Capitals) are among the high-profile departures, while Mark Jankowski (Calgary Flames), Evan Rodrigues and Codi Ceci (both from the Toronto Maple Leafs) are bringing in some new blood. Pittsburgh ended last year, scoring the 10th highest amount of goals per game (3.20), while allowing the 11th lowest quantity in their defensive zone (2.84). The team was 16th in power play with a 19.9% success rate and 8th in penalty kill with 82.1% efficiency.
Will Flyers Continue Great Form?The Philadelphia Flyers finished the 2019-20 regular campaign on a high (2nd in the Metropolitan Division and 4th in the Eastern Conference with a 41-21-7 record) and had their best postseason in the last eight years. After beating the Boston Bruins (4-1), Washington Capitals (3-1) and eventual champions Tampa Bay Lightning (4-1) in the seeding round robin, Philly went as far as to the Second Round, ultimately being eliminated by the New York Islanders in seven games (4-3) following a 4-2 series win versus the Montreal Canadiens in the First Round. Travis Konecny led the team with 24 regular-season snipes on top of 61 points, adding further seven assists during the playoffs.
Goalie Carter Hart went 24-13-3 throughout the regular campaign, posting a 2.42 GAA, a .914 save percentage and one shutout, and was 9-5 during the postseason with a 2.23 GAA, a .926 save percentage and two shutouts. He has registered a 1-1-0 previous total against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 2.15 GAA and a .936 save percentage. Defenseman Erik Gustafsson (Calgary Flames) has come in to strengthen the team’s blue line, while Tyler Pitlick (now of the Arizona Coyotes) and Nate Thompson (Winnipeg Jets) are among the departures. Philadelphia ended last regular season, netting the 7th highest number of goals per game (3.29), while conceding the 7th lowest amount defensively (2.77). The team was 14th in power play (20.8%) and 11th in penalty kill (81.8%).
- Penguins are 4-11 in their last 15 games.