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FIVE THINGS: Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers enter today's game in a battle for playoff position with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings… If the Flyers walk away with a win in regulation or overtime, they will play the NY Rangers at New York in the First Round… If the Flyers win in a shootout, they could only play the Penguins or Rangers based on tonight's results of Columbus at Florida - should the Blue Jackets lose in regulation, the Flyers will play the Rangers regardless of today or Sunday's outcome for the Flyers… Should he get the start, Steve Mason will play his 300th game in the NHL - he will also tie his career-high for most games played in a season (61) and will be looking to set a new career-high in wins in a season (34) currently with a record of 33-18-7… The Penguins will be looking to win their 52nd game, which would be the second-most regular season games in franchise history (56 - 1992-93)… Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma will coach his 400th regular-season in the NHL and for the Penguins.

Today is the fifth and final meeting of the year against the Pens with the Flyers owning a 3-1-0 mark so far, which includes winning the last three meetings against Pittsburgh… They will be looking for their fourth victory in a season series against the Penguins for the third time in the last four years… The Flyers have scored five of their 11 goals in the series on the power play, going 5-for-11 (38.5%) on the man-advantage against the Penguins… The Flyers have also gotten off to good starts against the Pens, scoring six of 11 goals in the first period… The Flyers have also dominated at Pittsburgh ever since the opening of the CONSOL Energy Center, posting an 8-1-1 mark there in since it opened in 2010-11… Matt Read has two goals, both shorthanded, and leads the Flyers with 16 shots against the Penguins this season… Seven different Penguins have scored goals in the season series for Pittsburgh with only Sidney Crosby (2 goals) scoring more than once.

The Flyers play their final road game of the 2013-14 season, they currently own a 17-16-7 mark on the road this year, and overall in franchise history, they own a 15-18-10-2 record in their final road game of the year… Today is also the first of games on back-to-back days for the Flyers, who own a 6-7-0 mark in the first game and 9-4-0 mark in the second game… The Penguins also play in back-to-backs, owning a 9-5-1 record in the first and 10-5-0 in the second game… The Flyers are also 9-4-3 and have earned a point in seven of their last eight games in start times of 3 pm or earlier, going 6-1-1 in that stretch… The Penguins own the NHL's best overall power play (23.7%) and second-best at home (24.2%), while the Flyers own the NHL's best power play on the road (24.8%)… Both teams have scored a goal on the power play in three of their last four games (PHI: 3-for-13, PIT: 4-for-10).

Simmonds leads the Flyers in the season series with six points (3g-3a) through four games with all three of his goals coming on the power play… Simmonds also averages nearly a point per game with 16 points (8g-8a) in 17 career games against the Penguins… Lately, Simmonds has points in three of his last four games with two goals, both on the power play, and an assist… Simmonds leads the team in power-play goals (15) and is tied for the team lead in goals (27) while sitting in a tie for second in points (58)… His 58 points, 31 assists and 15 power-play goals are all new career-highs.
Crosby comes into today as the NHL's leading scorer with 103 points and leading the way in assists (67)… He has 30-multiple points games so far this year, but only three points (2g-1a) in four games against the Flyers this season… He has not gone two straight games without a point since the Flyers last played them in their back-to-back home-and-home series on Mar. 15-16… Since then, Crosby has posted 15 points (5g-10a) in 12 games…  Over his career, Crosby has recorded an average of 1.57 points per-game against the Flyers with 30 goals and 44 assists in 74 career games.

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