FIVE THINGS TO KNOW FLYERS (45-24-9--99pts) at PENGUINS (48-24-6--102pts)
1. 1 of 2
This is the first of two games against the Pens in a span of a week to end the 2011-12 season… The Flyers own a 3-1-0 record against the Pens this season… In the last meeting between the Flyers and Penguins, Scott Hartnell scored the game-winning goal with 0.9 seconds left in overtime to give the Flyers a 3-2 victory.
2. IN PITTSBURGH
The Flyers won their first and only game in Pittsburgh this season, 4-2 on Dec. 29… They also own a perfect 4-0-0 record in Pittsburgh's new arena, the CONSOL Energy Center, winning all three meetings last season… Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has started all four games against Pittsburgh in the new Arena.
3. PK POWER
The Flyers have been perfect on their penalty kill in eight of their last 10 games, killing off 28 of 30 power-play attempts by the opposition (93.3 percent)… The Penguins on the other hand have scored three goals on their last 10 power-play opportunities, including going 2-for-3 in their last game.
4. Player to watch PENGUINS: Evgeni Malkin
Malkin has a four-game point streak heading into today's game, posting three goals and seven points in that span… He is the NHL's leading scorer with 102 points and ranks second in the league with 48 goals.
5. Player to watch FLYERS: Wayne Simmonds
Simmonds enters today game with a three-game point streak, posting four goals and five points in that span… He also has five points (2G-3A) in four games against the Penguins this season.
GAME PREVIEW Last 10: Philadelphia 6-2-2; Pittsburgh 6-3-1
Season Series: This will be the fifth of six meetings between the two Atlantic Division rivals. The two clubs meet again the last game of the season. After the first four games, Philadelphia is 3-1, while Pittsburgh is 1-2-1.
Big Story: Both teams have a lot riding on the contest, as the Penguins are still chasing the New York Rangers for a potential top spot in the Eastern Conference, while maintaining their position, at least, as the four-hole, which would give them home-ice in the first round against — who else? — Philadelphia. For the Flyers, their focus is on trying to steal home-ice from Pittsburgh, their likely first-round opponent. Regardless of how things unfold in the standings, any meeting between the two clubs figures to be feature a playoff feel.
Flyers: When the Flyers skate into Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins, it will be the second game of a back-to-back. Saturday afternoon, the Flyers ended the month of March with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators. On the whole, the month treated Philly well, as the Flyers won 11 of 16 games and earned points in 13 of 16. Despite the club's strong play down the stretch, they still remain in the five-spot in the East. Things could change quickly, but the Flyers know that the playoffs, for all intents and purposes, starts when they visit Pittsburgh.
"It's kind of weird when you've got to play them (late) in the regular season and you know you're going to play them in the playoffs," Claude Giroux said.
Penguins: The Penguins were seemingly unbeatable for the better part of a couple months and while they remain a threat night in, night out, the club lost three of five games and has given up 18 goals in those defeats. During and after that stretch, players and coaches alike preached the importance of tightening up defensively. For the most part, the Penguins did that Friday night in Buffalo against a desperate Sabres, in which they won 5-3 with backup Brent Johnson between the pipes. Fortunately for the Penguins, whatever defensive mistakes were made were ultimately covered up by Sidney Crosby and his four-point outing. The challenge when the Flyers come to town will be to balance going on the offensive, while maintain a defensive edge against an equally potent team.
Who's Hot: The Flyers have been led by the play of Wayne Simmonds, who's riding a three-game point streak in which he's amassed five points, including a three-point night. For the Penguins, NHL leading point producer Evgeni Malkin has points in four straight games, in which he has seven points.