On Wednesday night the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins travel across the state to face their archrival Philadelphia Flyers, who with every passing day fall further and further out of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. The last time these two teams faced off was in the Coors Light Stadium Series game on Feb. 25, where the Penguins handed the Flyers a 4-2 loss at Heinz Field.
This time around, the Penguins are coming into Wednesday night’s game playing for the right to be the top seed in not only the Eastern Conference but for the best record in the entire league. Currently, they sit two points back of the Washington Capitals in the quest for the President’s Trophy, with a game in hand. A win tonight against a fading Flyers team, that has lost three in a row and are at this point playing out the rest of the schedule, would put the Penguins in a tie with the Capitals.
On the Flyers side of things, at this point, they are just trying to stop the bleeding. Losers of three straight, all games in which they had legitimate chances to come away with wins to keep themselves in the race, are all but done for the season. They currently sit seven points out of the final wildcard and are looking to be the first team in NHL history to go on a 10-game winning streak in the regular season but miss out on the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Wells Fargo Center – 7:30 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – NBC Sports Network; 97.5 The Fanatic
2016-17 Season Series: 1-0 Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins: 43-16-9 – 95 Points
Road Record: 16-12-6
Hot Players: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin
Scratches: Patric Hörnqvist (concussion), Matt Cullen (day-to-day), Mark Streit (day-to-day, lower body), Carl Hagelin (IR, lower body), Kris Letang (IR, upper body), Trevor Daley (IR, knee), Olli Määttä (IR, hand), Bryan Rust (IR, arm), Tom Sestito (NHL suspension).
59 Jake Guentzel – 87 Sidney Crosby – 43 Conor Sheary
14 Chris Kunitz – 71 Evgeni Malkin – 81 Phil Kessel
34 Tom Kuhnhackl – 13 Nick Bonino – 23 Scott Wilson
45 Carter Rowney – 40 Oskar Sundqvist – 37 Carter Rowney
8 Ryan Dumoulin – 4 Justin Schultz
24 Cameron Gaunce – 65 Ron Hainsey
28 Ian Cole – 2 Chad Ruhwedel
30 Matt Murray
Philadelphia Flyers: 31-29-8 – 70 Points
Home Record: 19-11-4
Hot Players: Travis Konecny, Brayden Schenn
Scratches: Brandon Manning (upper body), Dale Weise (healthy), Nick Cousins (healthy), Michael Raffl (IR, lower body).
25 Nick Cousins – 28 Claude Giroux – 17 Wayne Simmonds
11 Travis Konecny – 51 Valtteri Filppula – 93 Jakub Voracek
10 Brayden Schenn – 14 Sean Couturier – 24 Matt Read
76 Chris VandeVelde – 78 Pierre-Édouard Bellemare – 13 Roman Lyubimov
9 Ivan Provorov – 47 Andrew MacDonald
55 Nick Schultz – 53 Shayne Gostisbehere
15 Michael Del Zotto – 3 Radko Gudas
35 Steve Mason
1) Former Flyers defensemen Mark Streit was set to make his return to Philadelphia Wednesday night, where he played his last four seasons, but is out due to a lower-body injury. The Flyers traded him at the trade deadline initially to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Valtteri Filppula, a fourth and seventh round draft picks then the Lightning flipped him to Pittsburgh for a fourth round pick in order to sure up their defense that have been ravaged by injuries over the last several months.
2) One of the Flyers main culprits of their recent three-game slide has been their play on both special teams. The power play has been a dismal 2-for-26 over their last six games to go along with a penalty kill that has allowed seven power play goals in their last 12 shorthanded situations.
3) Depsite being heavily banged up all over their lineup, the Penguins keep chugging along going 7-2-1 over their last ten games, while going 3-0-1 so far in their current five-game road trip that ends Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
4) Going into the NHL holiday break over Christmas, the Flyers sported a 20-12-4 record and were 5th in the league in goals per game. Since then, they’ve gone 11-20-4, and now sit 24th in the league in goals per game. The Flyers are now on the brink of missing the playoffs for the second time in the last three seasons.