Philadelphia Flyers (34-21-11: 79pts) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (38-25-4: 80pts)
at Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, PA
TIME: 8:00 p.m. | TV: NBCSN | RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic
presented by The Rothman Institute at Jefferson Hospital
Season Series: 0-1-1
All-Time Record: 283gp (153-91-39)
PHI: 78-pts, Giroux (23g-55a)
PIT: 82-pts, Malkin (37g-45a)
The Flyers (79pts) and Penguins (80pts) are in a battle for the top spot in the Metropolitan Divisions with Washington (81pts)... The Pens leapfrogged the Flyers with their win on Monday to take over second place and are one game ahead... The Flyers hope to leapfrog the Pens with a win tonight, but the win must take place in regulation... The Flyers face a tough and busy schedule with four games in a six-day span, all of which are against teams in either first or second place in their division (PIT, BOS, WPG, VGK)... The Pens play five games in the next nine days, including two back-to-backs sets.
2. WEDNESDAY NIGHT RIVALRY
This is the third meeting of the year between to the two teams showcased on NBCSN's Wednesday Night Rivalry... The Pens took the first two meetings which is similar to the season series last year, when they won the first two with the Flyers answering back by winning the last two... Tristan Jarry got the start in both games and is likely to be the starter again with Matt Murray out with a concussion... Five different players have scored for the Flyers in the season series, led by Michael Raffl (1g-1a), Claude Giroux (2a) and Brandon Manning (2a), while the Pens have had nine different goal scorers led by Sidney Crosby (1g-3a) and Jake Guentzel who is the only player with more than one goal (2g-1a)... Since their last meeting on Jan. 2, the two clubs are tied for the fourth best record in the NHL with 39 points (PIT: 19-7-1) (PHI: 18-7-3).
3. HOME-ROAD SHOW
The Flyers come into tonight looking to snap a three-game skid, going 0-2-1, but return home where they have earned points in five of their last six contests (3-1-2)... With 16 games remaining in the regular season, the Flyers have nine games left at home and will play four of their next five at the Wells Fargo Center... The Penguin come in a streaky team, winners of six straight from Feb. 11-23, then dropping their next three games until finally winning two straight heading into tonight - both of which have been decided in overtime... They will play five of their next six games on the road where they have the worst road record (13-17-3) of any team currently sitting in a playoff position.
4. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER
THIS: Wayne Simmonds is expected to return to the lineup after missing the last seven games with an upper-body injury, the Flyers are 16-1-1 when Simmonds records a goal... THAT: The Flyers rank sixth in the NHL in most goals scored in the second period (75), while the Pens are tied for fourth in the NHL for the most goals allowed in the second period (80)... THE OTHER: The Penguins come in with the NHL's best power play, operating at 26.4 percent, including the best power-play on the road at 26.6 percent - however, they have gone scoreless on the man advantage in three of their last four games (1-for-10).
5. PLAYERS TO WATCH:
FLYERS (RW: #28 - Claude Giroux)
The captain comes in tied for fourth in the NHL's scoring race and has assists and points in three straight games (1g-3a), while also recording points in each of his last five home games, recording nine points (3g-6a) in that stretch... His bounce-back season has him ranked third among all NHL players in scoring since the 2010-11 season (579pts), and leading all players with 401 assists in that time frame... Against the Pens, Giroux has two points this season in two games and has averaged a point per-game or more in his last seven seasons.
PENGUINS (C: #71 - Evgeni Malkin)
Competing with Giroux for the NHL's scoring race is Malkin who sits second with 82 points and actually leads all players in points per-game (1.30)... He also has points in three straight games (1g-5a) and also has points in nine of his last 10 games, averaging nearly two points per-game with seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points in that span... Against the Flyers, he has two assists in his only game this season.