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At the Rink blog

Pens seek elusive first win over Flyers at Consol

Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 12:30 PM

By Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

PITTSBURGH -- 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:
 
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Pascal Dupuis - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Steve Sullivan - Joe Vitale - Matt Cooke
Jason Williams - Craig Adams - Arron Asham
 
Brooks Orpik - Zbynek Michalek
Simon Despres - Matt Niskanen
Ben Lovejoy - Alexandre Picard
 
Marc-Andre Fleury, 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.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the OT winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round