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NHL Stadium Series

Eric Fehr looking for more Heinz Field magic

Now with Penguins playing Flyers in Stadium Series, scored outdoor game-winner for Capitals six years ago

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Eric Fehr hopes he can create another Heinz Field moment in the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game, only this time for the home team.

Fehr is one of six Penguins expected to be in the lineup against the Philadelphia Flyers in the outdoor game Saturday who played at Heinz Field in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Fehr scored two goals for the Washington Capitals, including the game-winner, in his 9:55 of ice time to defeat the Penguins 3-1 on Jan. 1, 2011, the first NHL outdoor game played at night.

Those memories have been on his mind as the Penguins have gotten closer to playing there again Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports 2).

"It's a little weird to be back here," Fehr said after practice Friday at the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. "I was stretching on the ice before practice with [Marc-Andre Fleury] and we were discussing the two goals I scored on him. The first on he remembered because we kind of stole it from him behind the net and it popped out in front and I was able to put it past him, but he couldn't remember how the second one happened, so I had to remind him."

He did, without hesitating.

"It was a bit of a give-and-go in the neutral zone," Fehr said. "I snuck past [Paul] Martin and had a bit of a breakaway, but he was catching me, so I shot it from probably the hash marks and beat him high glove."

Fehr also scored in Washington's 3-2 win in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"It definitely brings a lot more excitement to a game that only is worth two points," Fehr said of playing outdoors. "We understand our rivalry [with the Flyers] and where they are in the standings. This just kind of magnifies it a bit and puts it on a big stage and gets everybody excited. It's a bit of a playoff feel. We expect guys to be ready for these kinds of games, and they're exciting to be part of."

Goalie Michal Neuvirth, who was the Capitals backup to Semyon Varlamov in the 2011 Winter Classic, will start for the Flyers. He said Friday he has never played in an outdoor game, not even growing up in the Czech Republic.

"I practiced with the Capitals when we played here at Heinz Field, but I was just backing up that game, so it's hard to tell what to expect," Neuvirth said. "I'm going to approach it like just another regular-season game. It's not, but you're still playing for two points, so there's nothing that is special about it. You still play for two points, and every time you play against Pittsburgh you want to win the game, so it's going to be a good challenge for us."

The Stadium Series is arguably the biggest game of the season for the Flyers beyond the pomp and circumstance that comes along with it. Philadelphia (28-25-7) is five points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff position in the Eastern Conference, going 9-15-4 since they won 10 in a row from Nov. 27-Dec. 14. They need these points more than the Penguins do, with Pittsburgh (37-14-8) second in the Metropolitan Division behind the Capitals.

"Desperation is the word right now," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said.

The Penguins know what that means in terms of what to expect from the Flyers, but they don't think they'll have to try to manufacture desire to match Philadelphia's desperation.

"With us being at home in an outdoor game, and all the energy that comes with that, hopefully we can have a strong start ourselves," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "I think looking at this game, there's a lot of emotion, and we want to use that to our advantage. I think understanding their position is important, but also for us that's something we're going to look to try to control."

If for some reason they can't, they know they can lean on Fehr, who obviously has a flair for the dramatic under the lights at Heinz Field.

"Maybe he'll have some magic bottled up from last time we played here," Penguins forward Chris Kunitz said. "It's a good thing he's on our side. If there are any tricks, I'm sure he'll let us know."

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