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At the Rink: Penguins at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman /

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins might be just the opponent the other team needs to see.

Each team is scuffling entering the game Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center. The Penguins are second in the Metropolitan Division but have lost two straight, are 4-6-2 in their past 12 and have seen their lead on the third-place New York Rangers shrink to two points. The Flyers have lost three of their past four and are 11 points behind the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I think especially the way Philly plays, usually physical, up-tempo, might be a good wake-up call for us," Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "Gets you into the game early. You know it's going to be physical. Helps you get into a game, and a rivalry game definitely gets the blood flowing."

The Flyers have won five in a row against the Penguins, including a 5-3 victory Oct. 22 in Pittsburgh. The game will feature four of the top five scorers in the League, topped by Flyers forward Jakub Voracek's NHL-best 55 points and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who is third with 51 points. The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin and Flyers captain Claude Giroux are tied for fourth with 50 points.

For Crosby, who has won the Art Ross Trophy twice, he's not worried about individual hardware.

"For us in the situation we're in, for sure [the game] is the mindset," Crosby said. "They're struggling a bit too. You've got two teams here that both want to get back on track and that are desperate to get two points. There's always individual matchups and you're always aware of that, but there's a lot of other motivating factors here tonight."

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said he's looking forward to experiencing his first Flyers-Penguins game in Philadelphia.

"It's fun to play in buildings where there's emotion and intensity in the crowd," Johnston said. "It really adds to the game. It's great. Our guys get up for it, they're excited. I'm sure the Flyers, with their hometown fans, are going to get excited behind us. It leads to a great hockey game with the emotion in the stands. We're looking forward to it. It's my first experience in here. I've heard a lot about it so I'm looking forward to it."

Goalie Thomas Greiss will start for the Penguins, with Marc-Andre Fleury playing Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks in Pittsburgh.

The Flyers did not have a morning skate after losing 7-4 at the New York Islanders on Monday. Goalie Ray Emery, who allowed two goals on 20 shots in relief of starter Rob Zepp against the Islanders, will start Tuesday. Emery has lost his past five decisions, allowing 14 goals on 91 shots (.846 save percentage).

Philadelphia also could have two new defensemen in the lineup after Nick Schultz and Carlo Colaiacovo sustained upper-body injuries Monday. Schultz is out and Colaiacovo is questionable. Brandon Manning and Oliver Lauridsen were recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Monday.

Flyers coach Craig Berube said seven defensemen would skate in the pregame warm-up and a decision on the roster would be made after that.

Manning, 24, has one assist in two games with the Flyers this season; in 36 AHL games he's seventh among defenseman in scoring with 25 points and was named to the AHL All-Star Game.

Lauridsen had two goals in 15 games for the Flyers in 2012-13 but has been in the AHL since then; he has five points, a plus-7 rating and 73 penalty minutes in 38 AHL games this season. At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds he brings size and a physical element the Flyers defense has been lacking the past few seasons.

"Manning's had a very good year," Berube said. "He's an all-situation player down there. We've had him up here before; last couple years he's done a good job when he's been up here. Oliver has been up here two years ago, played some games at the end of the year. He did a good job. He's a big body. ... It's nice to have a physical, big guy that can skate back there."

Here are the projected lineups:


Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - David Perron

Nick Spaling - Evgeni Malkin - Beau Bennett

Mark Arcobello - Brandon Sutter - Steve Downie

Zach Sill - Craig Adams - Bobby Farnham

Paul Martin - Kris Letang

Christian Ehrhoff - Scott Harrington

Rob Scuderi - Robert Bortuzzo

Thomas Greiss

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Marcel Goc, Andrew Ebbett

Injured: Simon Despres (illness), Patric Hornqvist (upper body), Blake Comeau (upper body), Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), Olli Maatta (shoulder)


Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

R.J. Umberger - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds

Zac Rinaldo - Michael Raffl - Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Vincent Lecavalier

Andrew MacDonald - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Luke Schenn

Brandon Manning - Oliver Lauridsen

Ray Emery

Rob Zepp

Scratched: None

Injured: Steve Mason (upper body), Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Braydon Coburn (lower body), Nicklas Grossmann (lower body), Nick Schultz (upper body), Carlo Colaiacovo (upper body), Scott Laughton (upper body)

Status report: Farnham was recalled Tuesday from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL and will be expected to provide physical play; he had 19 penalty minutes and six shots on goal in 10 games with the Penguins earlier this season. "He's an energy guy," Johnston said. "Great forechecker. He can turn the momentum of the game around with a single shift." … Despres is doubtful after waking up Tuesday morning not feeling well. ... Johnston said Comeau and Hornqvist would be going for follow-up X-rays on their injuries this week and expected them to be back on the ice following the All-Star break, which ends Jan. 26. "As soon as we come out of the All-Star break we anticipate they both will be on the ice in some form or fashion, whether it's in the morning before we get on or it's starting to get on with us," Johnston said.

Who's hot: Perron has five goals in six games since being acquired by the Penguins. … Streit has three goals and eight assists in his past 12 games. He's fourth in scoring among all defensemen with 33 points.


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