The Pittsburgh Penguins
made their Consol Energy Center debut 15 months ago, but there's still something missing in their new building.
A victory over the Philadelphia Flyers
The Penguins went 0-3 on home ice against the Flyers last season, including a 3-2 decision on Oct. 7, 2010, in the first game they ever played in Pittsburgh that wasn't in the Civic Arena. Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky
was in net for all three decisions, also beating the Penguins 3-2 on Oct. 29, 2010, and 5-2 on March 29, 2011.
The Pennsylvania rivals did not meet in the playoffs last season, so the Penguins were not able to end their streak there.
Even though the Flyers are paying Ilya Bryzgalov
$51 million over nine seasons to be the big-game goaltender they have long lacked, Bobrovsky will be in net Thursday night when the teams meet in Pittsburgh for the first time this season.
"I don't have a good answer for you," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma
said Thursday when asked why Bobrovsky was so successful against his team last season. "We'll have to see where the possible cracks are (in him). He did have a lot of success against us, but we are preparing for both goalies."
While the Penguins were talking after their morning skate as if it were just another game, they know it's not. Games against the Flyers, Rangers and Capitals have a slightly different feel, perhaps because both teams understand the regular season may be setting the stage for a matchup deep into the playoffs.
"Every game you're up for, but sometimes throughout a game when you have that rivalry, you see each other so often, things can get heated a little faster," forward Jordan Staal
said. "I think the guys will be ready for a good battle tonight."
The Penguins held an optional skate in advance of the second of their six games against the Flyers, but their projected lineup is:
- Evgeni Malkin
- James Neal
- Jordan Staal
- Tyler Kennedy
- Joe Vitale
- Matt Cooke
- Craig Adams
- Arron Asham
- Zbynek Michalek
- Matt Niskanen
- Alexandre Picard
, who is 20-11-0 with two shutouts in his career against the Flyers, will be in net. He has a 2.73 goals-against average against Philadelphia.