Penguins' Petr Sykora Looks to Spark Offense in Season Debut Against Flyers

WoooooSenior Writer IOctober 14, 2008

Penguins' right wing Petr Sykora will make his 2008-09 regular season debut tonight for the black and gold as they host the Philadelphia Flyers at Mellon Arena.

Sykora has missed each of the Penguins first three regular season games due to a nagging groin injury.

Sykora's return to the lineup could provide a much needed spark for an offense that has not scored an even strength goal in each of their last two contests.

Sykora will skate on the Penguins' second line with Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal. Malkin and Sykora quickly developed chemistry playing on the same line last year, Sykora's first Pittsburgh.

Michel Therrien is never hesitant about shuffling his line combinations during the season, and tonight won't be any different. Pascal Dupuis will skate on the left wing alongside Crosby and Miroslav Satan on the first line, while Ruslan Fedotenko will drop down to the third line alongside Max Talbot and Tyler Kennedy.

Tonight marks the first meeting of the season between the bitter cross-PA rivals. Flyers/Penguins games are never for the weak at heart, and tonight should be no different.

Philthadephia is looking to avenge their loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals, where the Penguins erased the Flyers' Stanley Cup hopes last season.

Sidney Crosby has an impressive track record against the Flyers in his career. Crosby has tallied 16 goals and 37 points in 20 career games against Philly.

For the Flyers, Joffrey Lupul is a player to watch tonight. Last season, Lupul lit up the Pens for a total of five goals, including a hat trick, and 10 points in seven games.

Additionally, Penguins' coach Michel Therrien commented on the recent death of New York Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov saying: "I’m thinking more about the family more than anything. Those young athletes, their family is proud of their son. They wish them the best. They put a lot of sacrifice as parents, as brother and sister. Your first thought is the family. The hockey side is way behind as far as I’m concerned. It's sad news for everyone involved. It’s sad for our game too, losing a young man. We heard a lot of good things. He was supposed to be a great player. It’s just a sad day.”

Indeed it is a sad day for the NHL and the worldwide hockey community. Best wished go out to the family, friends, teammates, and acquaintances of Cherry.

Let's Go Pens.