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Penguins at home on road when visiting Flyers

by Dan Rosen

PHILADELPHIA -- As much as the Philadelphia Flyers faithful inside Wells Fargo Center attempt to make Sidney Crosby and Co. uncomfortable every time they're here, since coach Dan Bylsma took over, the Pittsburgh Penguins have typically been able to brush it off and play their game.

The Penguins are 8-2-1 under Bylsma at Wells Fargo Center. They'll try to push it to 9-2-1 Thursday night.

"They'd probably say the same about coming to Pittsburgh, they've done pretty well there," Crosby said, referring to the Flyers' 8-3-0 record there since Bylsma took over on Feb. 15, 2009.

The road team in this rivalry series is 16-5-1 in the regular season in the past 22 meetings. This season, Pittsburgh won in Philadelphia, 3-1, on opening night; the Flyers beat the Penguins in Pittsburgh, 6-5, on Feb. 20.

"Home or on the road, we expect a pretty intense game, and when you're focused to expect a big game like that you're able to not let that other stuff affect you," Crosby said. "Your focus is so much on the game and what you have to do that you're able to focus only on that."

Excitement aside, the Penguins would prefer the game Thursday play out in a similar fashion to the season opener, when they were able to grind out a win.

The second meeting between these rivals was more of a track meet with defensive breakdowns on both sides leading to an 11-goal barrage, including six in the third period.

"The contrast of the two games this year is pretty stark," Bylsma said. "In the first game there was maybe not as much emotion and a lot of that was with how we played and how we managed the puck. I think that's the key against this team. They certainly are a team that comes hard on the forecheck and make a point in doing that. That's something we're going to have to deal with an elleviate.

"How we play, how we manage the puck, where the game is played is really going to dictate the emotional level in the game."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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