Flyers-Penguins: What you need to know

Flyers-Penguins: What you need to know
February 20, 2013, 11:00 am
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Flyers at Penguins – 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pa

The Flyers will look to build on the momentum gained in Monday’s 7-0 thrashing of the New York Islanders when their season-long, six-game road trip comes to a close against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

Pittsburgh took the first meeting of these intrastate rivals this season to earn a small bit of payback after losing last year’s exciting first-round playoff series to the Flyers in six games.

There’s been plenty to gripe about concerning the Flyers this season, but a strong showing in Pittsburgh could show they’re serious about turning the season around.  

Flyers: 7-9-1 (Fourth in Atlantic Division, 10th in Eastern Conference)

Penguins: 11-5-0 (First in Atlantic Division, second in Eastern Conference)

Last meeting
The Flyers opened their lockout-shortened campaign with a 3-1 loss to the Penguins in the last meeting between these two bitter rivals. Tyler Kennedy, James Neal and Chris Kunitz each scored for Pittsburgh, while Claude Giroux netted the only marker for the orange and black.

Wednesday’s matchup will mark the second of four contests between the Flyers and Penguins this season. The Flyers took four of six regular-season games from the Pens in 2011-12.

Previous games
After calling himself and his teammates out after a listless 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, Claude Giroux backed up his harsh words with a two-goal, one-assist performance in Monday afternoon’s 7-0 rout of the Islanders. Ilya Bryzgalov, who played in his 400th career NHL game, made 19 saves to record his 30th career shutout and Jakub Voracek registered four helpers to help the Flyers earn their seventh victory of the season.

Pittsburgh, which has won three games in a row, improved to 8-2 in its last 10 games and moved one point ahead of the New Jersey Devils atop the Eastern Conference standings after rallying for a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. Sidney Crosby, who is second in the NHL in scoring with 24 points, finished the game with one goal and two assists for the Pens.

End of the road
The Flyers have a chance to end their road trip with a .500 record after dropping three of the first four contests.

In 11 games away from the Wells Fargo Center this season, the Flyers are just 3-8 overall and have tallied just 20 markers – 14 combined in wins over the Florida Panthers and Islanders.

Following their matchup with the Penguins, the Flyers will open a five-game homestand on Thursday night against the Panthers. The Flyers are 4-1-1 on home ice so far this season.

Home ice advantage?
Since Pittsburgh opened the CONSOL Energy Center in 2010, the Flyers have won five of six games on the Penguins’ home ice in the regular season.

Including the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Giroux has tallied eight goals and seven assists in his last eight contests in Pittsburgh, where the Flyers have won seven of nine overall.

Keep an eye on...
The Flyers’ new top line of Giroux, Voracek and Matt Read combined for 10 points and a plus-9 rating in Monday’s drubbing of the Isles. We’ll see if the chemistry this trio found in Uniondale can carry over into Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Voracek got off to a slow start this season – he had just three points through the first seven games – but has collected two goals and 10 assists over his past 10 contests to improve his team-lead in points to 15.

Although Crosby has lit up the Flyers for 89 points in 57 career games – including playoffs – in the series, the Penguins’ captain hasn’t registered a point and is a minus-4 in his last three meetings against the orange and black.

Did you know?
The Flyers have not allowed a power-play goal in six consecutive games, killing off 21-of-21 shorthanded situations over that span.

Dating back to a 3-2 loss to the Capitals on Feb. 1, the Flyers have successfully killed off 38-of-40 (95 percent) of their penalties.

Flyers: Scott Hartnell (left foot) and Andrej Meszaros (left shoulder) are practicing with the team, but are still not ready to return to game action.

Jody Shelley (hip) and Michael Leighton (finger) are on injured reserve.

Penguins: Pittsburgh is completely healthy entering Wednesday’s contest.

Sound off
Do you think Giroux has snapped out of his offensive funk?

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