At game number 45 and 106 days into the 2015-16 season, the Flyers face their in-state rival, Pittsburgh Penguins, for the first time… This is also the first meeting in 291 days, dating back to Apr. 5 of last season… This is the first of four meetings of the year - they will not play again until Mar. 18, when the Penguins make their first trip to Philadelphia and they play each other three times in the final three weeks of the season… In fact, 10 of the 13 games between the two teams have been scheduled from mid-January to the end of the season, while nine of the last 15 meetings between the Flyers and Penguins have occurred in either March or April.
The Flyers and Penguins are separated by just one point in the standings and come into today’s game in a battle for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, currently held by the New Jersey Devils with 51 points… The Flyers are three points behind at 48 points, but have three games in hand on the Devils, while the Penguins are two back at 49 points and have two games in-hand on New Jersey… Both teams lost their last game in regulation play but have been on hot streaks lately: The Flyers have gone 5-1-1 in their last seven games and 13—6-3 since the American Thanksgiving holiday… The Penguins have dropped three of their last four games, but have earned points in 10 of their last 13 games (6-3-4).
The Flyers have won eight straight meetings against the Penguins, a streak that dates back to their last loss, Oct. 17, 2013, and it’s the longest active winning streak the Flyers have against any other club in the NHL… During that streak, the Flyers have outscored the Penguins 30 to 14 and are led by Claude Giroux (2g-9a) and Jakub Voracek (3g-8a), who each have 11 points… Voracek has recorded a point in six straight games against Pittsburgh and seven of the last eight… The Flyers have also won five straight games at Pittsburgh and since the opening of their new arena in 2010, the Flyers have gone 11-1-1 in the regular season and a total of 13-2-1 including the playoffs.
Schenn has had a lot of success against the Penguins, posting three goals and five points in his last two meetings… He is also averaging a point per-game in his last eight contests, recording six goals and two assists for eight points against Pittsburgh… Schenn also has had his best month of the season in January, recording seven points (3g-4a) in eight games during the month… Schenn currently ranks third on the team with 10 goals and over the last two seasons (2013-14) he leads all Flyers in game-winning goals (14).
Malkin is leading the Penguins in almost every offensive category with 20 goals and 44 points, as well as nine power-play goals and 20 points on the man-advantage, while being tied for the lead with 24 assists… He comes into tonight’s game with five points (1g-4a) in his last three games and has at least a point in eight of his last 10 games (14 pts: 3g-11a)… Against the Flyers, Malkin averages 1.30 points per-game with 60 points (22g-38a) in 46 games.