Flyers (28-25-7) at Penguins (37-14-8)
8 p.m. on NBC, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App
It’s time for some outdoor fun.
The anticipated Flyers-Penguins Stadium Series game has arrived, as the two rivals clash Saturday night at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Let’s get you ready for it all with five things to know.
1. Eye on the ice
The one caveat of playing ice hockey outdoors is, of course, the weather.
The forecast is calling for rain showers from morning until noon with temperatures in the low-to-mid 50s. The precipitation is expected to taper off and temperatures are expected to dip into the high-30s for puck drop.
The ice can still be playable with some rain. Both teams are expected to have their morning skates indoors. No matter what, the game ice will certainly be a bit different than playing in a concealed arena.
“I'm sure they will do the best they can to have it ready,” Michael Del Zotto said this week (see story). “Unless it is really cold, the ice is always going to be chippy playing outdoors.
“It doesn’t matter what the ice conditions are because both teams are playing with it. It’s not an advantage or disadvantage for either team. Both have to deal with it.”
Ultimately, players are ready for anything weather-wise -- with the wind being just as big of a concern as the ice (see story).
2. Two directions
The Flyers and Penguins are in contrasting spots.
Pittsburgh is built for another Cup run.
The Flyers are not yet. Instead, they are fighting simply for their postseason lives.
The orange and black have lost seven of their last 10 games. Since the 10-game winning streak, they are 9-15-4 with the NHL’s second-fewest points at 22.
When the Flyers won 10 straight, they had a plus-14 goal differential over that span. In the 28 games since, they have scored an NHL-low 48 markers and own a minus-36 goal differential.
So, like last season, the Flyers have a mighty mountain to climb for a playoff berth (see story). They are now five points back of the Islanders, who currently hold the second wild-card spot with 68 points. The Flyers, at 63 points, also trail the Bruins (68) and Panthers (66), while the Sabres (62) and Lighting (62) are right there in the mix.
Meanwhile, the defending champion Penguins are third in the NHL with 82 points and first with 3.47 goals per game, spearheaded by Sidney Crosby’s league-best 33 scores.
3. Keep an eye on …
Flyers: Brayden Schenn is on a three-game goal streak and ranks No. 1 in hockey with 14 man-advantage tallies. Since Jan. 8, he is tied with Wayne Simmonds for the Flyers’ lead in goals at eight. He also owns eight goals and eight assists in 23 career games against Pittsburgh.
Penguins: Right winger Patric Hornqvist, who plays alongside Crosby, was super active in the first meeting with the Flyers, recording two assists, five shots on goal, three hits and three blocked shots. The 30-year-old has 17 goals, 18 assists and a plus-19 rating, while the Penguins are 12-3-0 when he scores a goal.
4. This and that
• Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth is making his sixth straight start and ninth in the last 10 games. He is 2-2-2 with a 2.23 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and two shutouts in seven lifetime matchups with Pittsburgh.
• Penguins goalie Matt Murray is 5-1-2 in his last eight games with a .940 save percentage and 1.84 goals-against average. In two career games (one start) against the Flyers, the 22-year-old is 1-0-0 and has stopped 39 of 41 shots faced.
• Pittsburgh has won four of the last five meetings with the Flyers. This is Game 2 of the four-game regular-season series between the teams. The Penguins won the first matchup, 5-4, on Oct. 29 at the Wells Fargo Center.
• Penguins defensemen Justin Schultz (upper body) and Kris Letang (upper body) will be game-time decisions. Schultz is a team-best plus-31 on the season, while Letang is a two-time All-Star.
• Jakub Voracek has 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 29 career games against Pittsburgh.
5. The rivalry
Relive some great moments from the Flyers-Penguins rivalry with these terrific pieces from CSN’s Orange Line.
Danny Briere recalls brawl in Pittsburgh
The origin of Philly’s hatred for Crosby
Reliving Flyers’ five-overtime playoff win
Mario Lemieux returns to form in first game back
Top Flyers-Penguins moments