Daily Primer March 15: Weekend in Pennsylvania

Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 2:36 AM NHL.com

The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins will see a lot of each other this weekend.

The Pennsylvania rivals begin a home-and-home series Saturday afternoon when they face off at Wells Fargo Center (1 p.m., NHLN-US, ROOT, CSN-PH). After that game is over, they'll head to the other end of the state for a rematch on Sunday (12:30 p.m., NBC, TSN2).

In terms of the standings, the games likely mean more to the Flyers than the Penguins. Philadelphia is fighting to hang on to a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; the Penguins are cruising to the Metropolitan Division title.

Here's a look at all the action on a busy Saturday:

Carolina Hurricanes at Boston Bruins -- Carolina is trying to stay in the race for one of the two wild-card spots in the East, but playing the Bruins right now probably isn't the best thing for their playoff hopes. The Hurricanes come to Boston after back-to-back home wins against the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres. But the Bruins are the NHL's hottest team; they bring a seven-game winning streak into TD Garden. Boston leads the Atlantic Division by 13 points but is trying to hold off the Penguins for the top spot in the East. They start the day one point ahead of Pittsburgh, which has a game in hand.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers -- Each team has had a chance to take a three-day breather before their weekend home-and-home. Pittsburgh brings a three-game winning streak to Philadelphia that includes back-to-back wins against the Washington Capitals. However, they'll be without forward James Neal (concussion). The Flyers are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games but haven't played since a 2-1 home loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. The teams haven't met since Nov. 13, when the Flyers won 2-1 in Pittsburgh; the Penguins won their only visit to Philadelphia on Oct. 17.

Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens -- The Senators haven't played since they rallied from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime Monday night against the Nashville Predators, only to lose 4-3. They enter the weekend five points behind the Flyers for the second wild-card spot in the East. The Canadiens have lost three in a row and are coming off a 4-1 home loss to Boston on Wednesday that dropped them out of the top three in the Atlantic Division and into the first wild-card spot.

New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning -- The Devils saw a 3-1 lead turn into a 5-3 loss to the Florida Panthers Friday night, costing them a chance to pull even in points with the Flyers and Detroit Red Wings, both of whom have games in hand on New Jersey. Martin Brodeur will be in goal after Cory Schneider played against Florida. The Lightning held off the Panthers 5-4 at home on Thursday night in a game that saw Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos score for the first time since his return a week earlier from a broken leg suffered on Nov. 11.

Buffalo Sabres at New York Islanders -- These two teams made a huge early-season trade in which the Islanders got Thomas Vanek from Buffalo for Matt Moulson and two high draft picks. As they prepare to face off for the first time since that trade, neither Vanek nor Moulson is still around; they were dealt again at the NHL trade deadline. The Sabres allow 34.7 shots per game, 29th in the NHL, and gave up 55 in a 4-2 loss at Carolina on Thursday. The Islanders allow 30.1 shots per game but have surrendered a League-high 228 non-shootout goals after a 4-3 home loss to the San Jose Sharks on Friday.

St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators -- The Predators did the Blues a favor on Friday by beating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 at United Center, keeping the Blues seven points ahead of the defending Stanley Cup champs in the Central Division race. Goaltender Ryan Miller is 5-0-1 since joining the Blues from the Sabres on Feb. 28. The Blues are going for a sweep of the five-game season series against Nashville, which is making a pit stop at Bridgestone Arena between road trips. The Predators are still seven points behind the Dallas Stars in the race for the final wild-card spot in the West despite winning three times on the road this week.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Minnesota Wild -- The Blue Jackets dropped from second to third in the Metropolitan Division when the New York Rangers beat the Winnipeg Jets on Friday, but a victory at Xcel Energy Center will move them back into second. Columbus got some good news Friday when defenseman Fedor Tyutin, who sustained an ankle injury at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, was activated off injured reserve. He hasn't played in an NHL game since Feb. 7. Minnesota, which owns the first wild-card position in the West, is 1-0-2 on a four-game homestand and helped out the Blue Jackets on Thursday by holding off the Rangers 2-1.

Calgary Flames at Phoenix Coyotes -- The Flames did the Coyotes and everyone else pursuing the Stars for the final wild-card position in the West a favor on Friday by rallying from a 3-1 third-period deficit to win 4-3 in a shootout. Rookie Corban Knight got the deciding goal in the fourth round of the tiebreaker. Calgary moves from Dallas to the desert for the second half of a back-to-back -- and a game the Coyotes desperately need to win. Phoenix is home after splitting four on the road but coming up short Thursday in a 2-1 loss at Boston. The Coyotes enter the game two points behind Dallas, which also has a game in hand.

Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles Kings -- The Ducks, who've led the Pacific Division for most of the season, were looking second place squarely in the eye when they took the ice for the second period in Denver on Friday. They responded with a six-goal outburst and a 6-4 victory against the Colorado Avalanche that kept them on top; Anaheim and San Jose each have 95 points but the Ducks have a game in hand. Los Angeles saw a 2-0 lead against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night turn into a 3-2 loss, the first time since last March 30 that L.A. failed to turn a two-goal lead into two points. Goaltender Jonathan Quick and captain Dustin Brown both sat out practice Friday. Coach Darryl Sutter, who sat Brown for part of the game against Toronto, said both were ill.

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