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Flyers try to get power play going against Pens

by Adam Kimelman
PENGUINS (2-3-0) at FLYERS (2-1-1)
Season series --
This is the second of six meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals. The Flyers spoiled the Penguins' opening-night party at Consol Energy Center, as a shorthanded goal by Philadelphia's Claude Giroux was the difference in a 3-2 Flyers victory.
Big Story -- The Penguins, coming off a big overtime win against the Islanders, will try to keep the momentum going when they arrive at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Team Scope:
Penguins --
With Sergei Gonchar's summer departure, it was expected Kris Letang would step into that offensive role. Instead, it's been Alex Goligoski providing scoring punch from the back end.
Goligoski scored his first NHL overtime goal to beat the Islanders on Friday, and it was his team-best third of the season. He's also played more than 21 minutes every game, including a game-high 28:41 against the Islanders.
"I feel good," Goligoski told the Penguins' website about his start. "Personally, I feel very good out there. It seems like I am moving my feet and skating. When I do that, the rest of my game seems to kind of come with that. So that's something I like to concentrate on."
Fellow defenseman Ben Lovejoy would know Goligoski's game as well as anyone else. The pair has played together the last four seasons in the AHL and NHL, and he's seen a tremendous growth in his teammate.
"He really has become an all-round player," Lovejoy told the Pens' website. "He is a guy who logs a ton of minutes and excels at every part of the game. He is fun to play with and fun to watch. He's been great for us here at the start of the season."
Flyers -- Philadelphia generally has been among the top teams with the man-advantage -- they were third in the League last season and haven't been lower than sixth since the 2007-08 season. This season, though, they've just 1-for-17 on the power play through their first four games.

In Thursday's 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay, they went 0-for-4, including a pair of 5-on-3 chances. With all the offensive firepower the Flyers have, it's become a bit baffling that they haven't scored an extra-man goal since their season-opener against Pittsburgh.

So what's the problem?
"A little bit of everything," said Danny Briere, who has the team's lone power-play goal. "There's not much going right. One power play it seems like we're not able to get control of the puck, the next power play it seems like we're not able to find the lanes. A lot of power plays we're not able to get pucks on net. It's getting blocked, and not just the defensemen -- it's the forwards and the defensemen taking shots that get a stick on it. We're half a second slow and they're getting in the lane. We have to do a better job at getting a release off a little quicker or taking a step to the side and start getting to net."
While the problem seems multi-faceted, Chris Pronger said there's an easy solution.
"(We're) probably trying to get too cute," Pronger said. "We need to simplify it, get pucks to the net, get traffic. Whenever you struggle to get goals, especially on the power play, there are easy ways to get out of it and the best way is to get traffic to the front and pucks to the net."
Who's Hot --
Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 of 31 shots in his first NHL game to spoil the Penguins' opening-night party at Consol Energy Center on opening night. … Penguins forward Mark Letestu had just 1 point in 10 NHL games last season, but this season he has 4 points in his first five games, including a pair of assists Friday against the Islanders.
Injury Report --
Penguins center Jordan Staal has begun skating, but isn't close to game ready while he recovers from a foot injury. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek and forward Arron Asham -- who spent the two previous seasons with the Flyers -- are out with shoulder injuries. Defenseman Brooks Orpik is questionable with a groin injury. … Flyers defenseman Matt Walker, acquired from the Lightning over the summer, has yet to play due to a hip/groin injury that has been plaguing him since the preseason. GM Paul Holmgren said Friday that Walker might need surgery to repair the injury. Fourth-line center Blair Betts is nursing a sore left knee but has been able to play through the pain.
Stat Pack -- Sidney Crosby must have W.C Fields' famed quote -- "All things being equal, I'd rather be in Philadelphia" -- framed in his house. Because when Crosby comes to Philadelphia, he piles up the points. In 16 regular-season games in Philadelphia, he has 11 goals and 25 points; in 32 total games against the Flyers, he has 24 goals and 56 points.
Puck Drop -- With Game 1 of the National League Championship Series across the street at Citizens Bank Park, the Flyers opted to move the start time of Saturday's game to 6 p.m. ET

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