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Flyers-Penguins Preview

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
To view the game notes for tonight's game, click here.

A matchup against the league's worst team could help the Philadelphia Flyers out of their road funk.

The Flyers look to avoid their sixth straight road loss, but will try to extend their unbeaten streak over the Penguins to nine games when the cross-state rivals meet at Mellon Arena.

The Flyers are 0-4-1 and have been outscored 18-7 in their last five road games, but are 6-0-2 their last eight visits to Pittsburgh.

This match starts a four-game road trip for the Flyers, who will play 11 of their final 18 games away from the Wachovia Center.

Philadelphia is one point behind the New York Rangers for the Atlantic Division lead, but has lost five of its last seven overall with the two victories coming in shootouts.

The Flyers lost to Buffalo 6-5 on Saturday in heartbreaking fashion. Philadelphia was outshot 14-1 in final 20 minutes, allowing the game-winner to Mike Grier with 4.6 seconds to play.

"It's a tough way to lose a game," said Flyers'' forward Simon Gagne. "We had a lot of chances, but you''re not going to score with only one shot in the third period."

Gagne, who scored against the Sabres, has a seven-game point streak against Pittsburgh with seven goals and six assists in that span. Peter Forsberg has been better against the Penguins, recording 10 goals and 26 assists in a 17-game points streak.

Goaltender Antero Niittymaki made 33 saves against Buffalo, and the Olympic MVP is just 2-7-2 since Jan. 12, with a 3.99 goals-against average and .866 save percentage in those games.

Pittsburgh snapped a six-game home losing streak with a 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

"Everything clicked," said rookie star Sidney Crosby, who had two goals and an assist. "Everything was working together, and we did all the little things. We played with a lot of confidence."

Crosby has six goals and four assists against the Flyers this season, his best output against any opponent.

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury played one of his strongest games all season against the Devils, stopping 38 shots for only his third victory in 19 games.

Fleury is 1-3-0 all-time against the Flyers posting a 3.62 GAA in those games.

STANDINGS: Flyers - 80 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Atlantic Division. Penguins - 40 points, 5th place, 39 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Flyers - Gagne, 38 goals; Forsberg, 50 assists; Gagne and Forsberg, 66 points; Donald Brashear, 112 PIM. Penguins - Crosby, 31 goals, 41 assists and 72 points; Brooks Orpik, 102 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Flyers - Power play: 17.9 percent (66 for 369), 15th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.6 percent (290 for 369), 29th. Penguins - Power play: 18.2 percent (73 for 400), 11th. Penalty killing: 77.5 percent (330 for 426), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Flyers - Niittymaki (19-12-6, 2 SO, 3.04 GAA); Robert Esche (16-7-4, 0, 3.14). Penguins - Fleury (8-21-5, 0, 3.39); Sebastien Caron (6-6-4, 0, 4.29).

SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 5-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 23; Flyers 4-2. At Philadelphia, Mike Knuble scored the go-ahead goal with 2:05 left to hand the Penguins their 10th straight loss.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flyers - 17-9-4 on the road; Penguins - 8-18-7 at home.
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