Penguins, Flyers set to meet again
Thursday, 12.17.2009 / 7:00 PM
NHL.comPENGUINS (23-10-1) at FLYERS (15-16-1)
: Pittsburgh 7-2-1; Philadelphia 2-8-0.
: This is the third of six meetings between the teams this season. Pittsburgh won the first two, most recently Tuesday, when it routed the Flyers 6-1 at Mellon Arena. Jordan Staal scored twice and Sidney Crosby had a goal and 2 assists. Daniel Carcillo
scored the Flyers' lone goal.
: Can the Penguins sweep the second half of the home-and-home series? They've done well in Philadelphia recently, winning three straight there, plus two of three games at the Wachovia Center in last spring's playoffs.
-- Philadelphia captain Mike Richards
made it clear for anyone who watched his team's effort Tuesday against the Penguins: "We're not playing with enough heart right now to win," he said.
No one is going to correct him, as the Flyers were badly beaten in all phases of the game, and looked nothing like the team that scored three times in the third period to gut out a win Monday in Boston.
-- Pittsburgh is feared for a lot of things, but usually fighting isn't one of them. But when Mike Rupp, Eric Godard and Craig Adams all dropped the mitts with Philadelphia players in a span of 16 seconds on the game clock, it seemed to inspire their teammates.
"Those guys did a great job in those fights and got us going," Staal said. "It's real easy to get up for these games, it's an exciting match every time we play. It's a battle and I think it's something everyone enjoys."
-- The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin has a goal and an assist in two straight games and has 8 points in his last six games. The way the Flyers are playing, it's hard to find anyone who would fit in the "hot" category.
-- Philadelphia defenseman Braydon Coburn
was diagnosed with a ruptured cyst in his ankle, but was OK to play Tuesday, and will be in the lineup Thursday. Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, who had replaced Coburn in the lineup Monday against Boston, will be out 3-4 weeks with a sprained knee.
The Penguins came through Tuesday's game healthy.
-- Last season Philadelphia didn't allow a shorthanded goal until Game No. 82. This season they've already allowed six, the most in the League.
-- Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette seems to be at his wit's end already, and he's only been behind the bench for seven games.
"You take a small step forward and a big step backwards," he said of the effort in Monday's win against Boston and Tuesday's loss to Pittsburgh. "We didn't compete. Their top players came to play. They came to skate, they came to work. … We were out-jumped. They had more pop to pucks, more pop to the net. They were more physical on hits. You're not going to win (playing that way)."