Penguins host first half of home-and-home with Flyers
FLYERS (15-15-1) at PENGUINS (22-10-1)
Philadelphia 3-7-0; Pittsburgh 7-2-1
Season series: This is the second of six meetings between the teams this season. In the first meeting, Bill Guerin and Alex Goligoski
scored in the second period to give the Penguins a 4-2 lead en route to a 5-4 victory Oct. 8 in Philadelphia. After Tuesday's game, they'll meet again in Philadelphia on Thursday.
For at least one night, the Flyers seem to have righted the ship with their win in Boston on Monday. Kimmo Timonen had 2 goals and an assist and James van Riemsdyk scored for the first time in 12 games, but there's still a lot of ground for them to make up. It won't be easy against the intrastate rival Penguins, who just got another offensive cog back in Chris Kunitz
New coach Peter Laviolette seemed happy for the first time with his team's effort, especially late in Monday's game. Philadelphia entered the game just 1-4-0 under Laviolette, but even that win, last Tuesday against the Islanders, wasn't overly impressive. Monday's 3-1 victory against the Bruins, however, had Laviolette in a good mood.
"I was really glad to see us respond the way we did in the third period," he said. "I thought we really played a terrific period from start to finish. I thought we skated, I thought we possessed the puck, I thought we shot and looked for offense, we didn't sit back when we got the goal. It's what we needed."
Pittsburgh is well-rested and healthy for the first time pretty much all season. This will be just their third game in the last eight days, and they'll have a full complement of players now that Kunitz is back from the lower-body injury that sidelined him for 14 games.
"It's nice to have the whole group here back at it," captain Sidney Crosby
said after Saturday's shootout win against Florida. "When guys come back sometimes it takes time, but we're a pretty familiar group of guys here."
Who's Hot --
Crosby has 10 goals and 17 points in his last 10 games. During the Flyers' skid, goaltending has not been a concern. Since assuming the starting role for the injured Ray Emery, Brian Boucher is 2-2-0, but has a 2.03 goals-against average.
Injury Report --
Philadelphia defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, who played his first game Monday since Nov. 7, will miss 3-4 weeks with a sprained knee. He was in the lineup because fellow blueliner Braydon Coburn was out with a sprained ankle. Coburn is questionable for Tuesday's game. Center Blair Betts, out since Nov. 21 with a dislocated shoulder, could play in Thursday's rematch in Philadelphia.
Saturday's win against Florida marked the first time this season the Penguins played a game with their full lineup.
Stat Pack --
Showing a Flyers logo to Crosby is like flashing red to a bull. In 27 games against Philadelphia, Crosby has 27 goals and 46 points.
Puck Drop --
Can Monday's game be a step in the right direction for the Flyers? They certainly thought that way after last week's defeat of the Islanders, but they followed that game with two straight losses.
The Penguins are enjoying their return to health and eyeing the Atlantic Division-leading Devils. They always seem to find extra motivation playing the Flyers, mostly due to Crosby's animosity against all things black and orange.