Crosby expecting to see 'desperate' Flyers team

Crosby expecting to see 'desperate' Flyers team

Lunch Break: Is Holmgren on the hot seat?

October 17, 2013, 1:15 pm
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At 5-1, Sidney Crosby's Penguins have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. (USA Today Images)

When it comes to Penguins-Flyers, you can ignore all logical arguments as to who should win and why.
 
Even though the Flyers are 1-6 and Pittsburgh is 5-1, none of that means a lick in tonight’s game at Wells Fargo Center because this rivalry takes on a meaning of its own.
 
“There’s history there prior to all of us even playing them,” Sidney Crosby said on Thursday morning.
 
“Their history goes back a long ways between the fans and the attention in games and playing each other in the playoffs, and everything that has happened recently just adds to it.”
 
Ironically, the Flyers own the Penguins in their relatively new digs at CONSOL Energy Center since it opened in 2010 with a 6-1-1 regular-season record.
 
Pittsburgh owns the Flyers here in Philadelphia with a 5-3-0 record over the same span.
 
And we’re not including playoffs in either comparison –- just regular season.
 
“Yeah, I don’t know if there is an explanation for that,” Crosby said. “We play each other a lot but since we have been in our new building, their record has been pretty good (against us).
 
“When you are talking about two teams trying to create a lot, you make less mistakes on the road because you simplify things. That would be my only explanation for it.”
 
Crosby leads the NHL with 12 points. He has at least one point in each of his first six games, matching his rookie year (2005-06). He’s also been a bear in the faceoff circle at 55 percent.
 
His years of battling Mike Richards have now given way to battling Claude Giroux. He admits surprise at the Flyers' struggles out of the gate and the firing of coach Peter Laviolette after just three games.
 
A win in this game means far more to the Flyers than a loss does to the Penguins, in part because the Flyers have six days off before they play again. If ever there were a “must-win” situation so early in the season, it is this game tonight.
 
Crosby said he expects a very desperate Flyers team on the ice given their circumstances.
 
“You have to prepare even more for a desperate team,” he said. “You don’t look at the record. You switch scenarios and they could have won five in a row. It doesn’t matter. They are going to come into this desperate. They always start well here.
 
“The games they have lost have been pretty close games. That’s hockey. You go through that. It’s still a little early to be judging them as a whole. We’ll see what happens and how they respond to the coaching change.”
 
One thing seems certain: No matter how much Flyers coach Craig Berube and Pens coach Dan Bylsma preach about not getting into a game of pond hockey, it almost always happens when these two clubs meet.
 
“It seems to progress into that pretty quickly,” Crosby said. “I thought last year we did a pretty good job of not allowing that to happen. Obviously, you want to create chances and get odd man rushes, but you don’t want to sacrifice defensive play.
 
“We all remember that [playoff] series two years ago. It’s still hard to explain. But both teams have guys who create offense and it seem to progress into [pond hockey] sometimes.”