Familiar rivals meet as Penguins host Flyers
FLYERS (4-4-1) at PENGUINS (5-4-1)
TV -- NHLN-US (HD), TCN-PH (HD), FS-P (HD)
Season series --
This will be the third meeting between the two Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division rivals. The two played back on Oct. 7 in each team’s season opener. The Flyers spoiled the Penguins’ hopes of a successful Consol Energy Center debut with a 3-2 victory. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 of 31 shots in his first NHL game for Philadelphia, while Tyler Kennedy
and Alex Goligoski
played strong for Pittsburgh. The Penguins returned the favor in Philadelphia with a 5-1 victory a week later. Sidney Crosby
scored twice in the victory.
Big Story --
A Flyers-Penguins matchup is big news in preseason play, let alone the regular season when both clubs are trying to find their game in the early going. The Flyers are looking to carry the momentum from a 6-3 win against Buffalo on Tuesday night, while the Penguins will look to rebound from a sluggish, 5-3 loss against Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.
"We didn't like our focus and staying on the plan," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said after the defeat.
After earning five points in their first three games, the Flyers have lost four of their next six, mostly in Philadelphia. After defeating Buffalo, 6-3, Tuesday night, the Flyers have the chance to end the month of October on a positive note with a couple Atlantic Division matchups against the Penguins and Islanders, respectively.
The Penguins started the season playing inconsistent hockey and it showed in the results, as the team lost three of its first four games. Led by backup goalie Brent Johnson
, the Penguins bounced back with a four-game winning streak until their most recent road trip, in which the team went 1-1-1. Coming back home for a matchup against the Flyers could rid the Penguins of the feelings following their 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay, in which they blew a 3-1 first-period lead built on the strength of two shorthanded goals.
Who's hot --
The Flyers are riding Danny Briere’s recent solid play, as the nifty right wing has earned points in four of his past five games, including a two-point effort against Buffalo Tuesday night. The Penguins, meanwhile, have relied on production from defensemen, in addition to their talented crop of forwards. Goligoski, Kris Letang
and Paul Martin
have combined for 6 goals and 23 points.
Injury report --
The Flyers enter their game against Pittsburgh relatively healthy, while Pittsburgh is still waiting on Jordan Staal
to return to the lineup. Brooks Orpik
and Arron Asham
returned for the Penguins recently and Eric Godard
is questionable with an illness.
Stat pack -- Marc-Andre Fleury
has the Stanley Cup ring, but Johnson has had the better of the play between the pipes for the Penguins this season. Johnson has posted a 4-0-1 record with a 1.39 goals-against average and .951 save percentage, compared to Fleury’s 1-4-0 record, 3.41 GAA and .861 save percentage.
Puck drop --
With a win, the Penguins would be tied with Montreal and Tampa Bay for first place in the Eastern Conference, while the Flyers can move up in the standings with a victory.