Philadelphia Flyers (45-24-9) @Pittsburgh Penguins (48-24-6)
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA
There's a 94.1% chance that these two teams will meet up in the first round of the playoffs. The Flyers have had a lot of success against the Penguins this year, so this is a huge game. Both teams will be looking to set the tone for their eventual playoff series… and they'll meet again in game 82 as well. Get ready to embrace the hate.
The Penguins are only three points ahead of the Flyers for fourth in the East and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Just a huge game all around.
Season Series: 1-2-1.
Last meeting that counted: March 18, 2012. Penguins lost 3-2 [OT]
What we said in our recap:
In a few short weeks, a loss like this is going to be 100% worse. In fact, a series between the Flyers and Penguins may actually drive someone to the brink.
Know Your Enemy: Broad Street Hockey
What they're saying:
It has been well-documented as to Philadelphia's horrible record in afternoon games this season — 5-10-2 in games that begin before 7 p.m., and 3-8-2 in contests that start before 3 p.m. — and the Flyers early-game problems continued, as they yielded the first goal for the sixth time in their last eight contests, and 17th time in the last 24.
For the Flyers, it was another loss in an afternoon game. Maybe they can request all of the postseason games are played at night time? Just a thought…
The single point gained leaves the Flyers three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins going into Sunday's showdown in Steel Town in the battle for fourth place in the Eastern Conference — and home-ice advantage in round one — as we head into the last week of the regular season.
Pittsburgh Penguins Notes:
This is a big game.
We're not 100% sure, but it looks like Kris Letang will likely miss today's game.
Evgeni Malkin has a 10-point lead on Steven Stamkos in the Art Ross race.
Philadelphia Flyers Notes:
Ilya Bryzgalov is injured.
James van Riemsdyk could be back for the playoffs.
Peter Laviolette is good and stuff.
Favorite Philadelphia Flyers Image, Photoshop, Gif or Video:
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines from last game:
Steve Sullivan – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke – Jordan Staal – Tyler Kennedy
Eric Tangradi – Craig Adams – Arron Asham
Brooks Orpik – Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen – Paul Martin
Brian Strait – Deryk Engelland
Philadelphia Flyers Lines from Fantasy Hockey 911:
Scott Hartnell – Claude Giroux – Jaromir Jagr
Danny Briere – Brayden Schenn – Wayne Simmonds
Maxime Talbot – Sean Couturier – Zac Rinaldo
Eric Wellwood – Matt Read – Jakub Voracek
Matt Carle – Marc-Andre Bourdon
Braydon Coburn – Nicklas Grossmann
Erik Gustafsson – Pavel Kubina
It sounds cliché to say that this is a huge game over-and-over again, but it's true. These teams will almost certainly meet in the first round. Home ice for that series hangs in the balance. Today's game and the game next week will be all about setting the tone and looking for strengths and weaknesses in your opponent. Line matching and deep analysis will take place on both sides. This is a warm up for the playoffs if we've ever seen one. That said, if you think today's game is going to be tough, wait until the postseason. This series may shorten all of our lives. Seriously, buckle up.