The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't have much success against the Philadelphia Flyers recently. Their fortunes certainly have changed this season.
The Penguins look to make it five wins in as many meetings this season against the Flyers when the Atlantic Division rivals meet Wednesday at Mellon Arena.
Pittsburgh (13-11-5) has outscored Flyers 20-7 in compiling a 4-0 mark in this season's series.
Before this season, the Penguins had three wins, 11 regulation losses, three ties and one overtime defeat in the previous 18 matchups from March 15, 2003 through the end of last season.
Pittsburgh hasn't beaten Philadelphia five times in a season since 1992-93, when it went 5-1-1.
"We match up well against them," Pittsburgh's Ryan Whitney said. "It's like a four-point game whenever we play them. It's a rival game. Everyone gets pumped up. It's been going well for us and we've played really well against them."
Penguins star Sidney Crosby has always played well against the Flyers, and this season has been no exception. He has six goals and three assists in four meetings this season, giving him 13 goals and 23 points in 12 career games against Philadelphia.
Rookie Evgeni Malkin was nursing a shoulder injury during Pittsburgh's first game against Philadelphia on Oct. 5, but has contributed two goals and four assists in the last three meetings.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has won five straight starts against the Flyers, including two shutouts. He has allowed seven goals in those five games.
Pittsburgh ended a four-game skid with an overtime victory at Atlanta on Saturday, then overcame a four-goal deficit Monday en route to a 5-4 shootout win at Washington.
Malkin had a goal and an assist in regulation before scoring the decisive tally in the shootout.
"Anytime you play as bad as we did in the first period and you're able to bring it back up in the second and third, it's a good feeling," Crosby said. "I think it was fun to see the way we were chipping away."
Philadelphia (8-18-4) matched a season low with 16 shots Tuesday in a 3-1 home loss to the New York Rangers.
"It's another loss," forward R.J. Umberger said. "I don't know if there is anything to really feel good about. We obviously got outshot and outchanced pretty bad. But we still found a way to be in the game toward the end and had a chance to win it."
The Flyers, 0-3-1 in their last four, were without several regulars, including star center Peter Forsberg, who missed his fifth straight game with a foot injury.
Also out of the lineup were forwards Geoff Sanderson, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, defensemen Mike Rathje and Denis Gauthier and goaltender Robert Esche. None of those injured players are expected to play Wednesday.
The only good news for Philadelphia was the return of right wing Sami Kapanen and defenseman Joni Pitkanen. Kapanen had missed the last two games with back spasms, while Pitkanen also sat out the past two with an abdominal pull.
Antero Niittymaki made his 10th straight start in the loss, stopping 31 of 34 shots. He has surrendered 12 goals during a personal three-game losing streak to the Penguins.