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Penguins-Flyers Preview @NHL
Penguins-Flyers Preview

GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (5-8-6) at Philadelphia Flyers (11-4-1).

TIME: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. EST.

After having their six-game winning streak snapped on the road, the Philadelphia Flyers look to make it 10 straight wins at home when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins, who will be without captain Mario Lemieux.

Philadelphia failed to extend its winning streak to seven, losing 5-2 at Tampa Bay on Monday.

Peter Forsberg scored both goals for the Flyers, who suffered their first loss since an 8-6 defeat at Carolina on Oct. 28.

"They came at us hard, and we turned the puck over way too many times," Forsberg said. "They were all over us. They worked hard and they wanted to win. You could see they were a desperate team and we weren't."

Forberg, among the league's top scorers, has six goals in his last nine games after going his first seven games as a Flyer without one. He has been particularly effective at home with three goals and 19 assists in 10 games at the Wachovia Center.

Philadelphia lost it season opener at home to the New York Rangers, but has since won nine straight there. The nine-game streak, however, is still a long way from the franchise record of 20, set during the 1975-76 season.

Despite scoring twice in the third period to force overtime, Pittsburgh failed to pick up the extra point as it fell 3-2 to the visiting New York Islanders in a shootout on Monday. The Penguins have lost an NHL-high six times after regulation.

"We don't play good hockey until we get behind for whatever reason," Pittsburgh's Mark Recchi said. "If we'd played like that early in games, we wouldn't get into trouble."

Pittsburgh's five wins is the lowest total in the Eastern Conference, but six losses after regulation has prevented it from being buried in last place in the Atlantic Division

Lemieux did not make the trip to Philadelphia and will not play due to a stomach virus.

"He's been battling something the past few days," coach Eddie Olczyk said. "He will not play. We will see how he feels Thursday."

Without Lemieux, rookie Sidney Crosby will be counted to help fill the void. Crosby has been as good as advertised in his rookie season with seven goals and team highs of 14 assists and 21 points.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 15): Penguins - 16 points, 5th place, 9 PB, Atlantic Division. Flyers - 23 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Crosby, 7 goals, 14 assists and 21 points; Brooks Orpik, 38 PIM. Flyers - Simon Gagne, 17 goals; Forsberg, 25 assists and 31 points; Joni Pitkanen, 36 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 15): Penguins - Power play: 17.6 percent (23 for 130), 16th in NHL. Penalty killing: 77.1 percent (101 for 131), 29th. Flyers - Power play: 21 percent (24 for 114), tied for 4th. Penalty killing: 75.7 percent (81 for 107), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Jocelyn Thibault (1-4-0, 4.45); Marc-Andre Fleury (0-1-1, 4.05). Flyers - Robert Esche (8-3-0, 3.08); Antero Niittymaki (3-1-0, 3.97).

SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 14; Flyers, 6-5 (OT). At Philadelphia, Defenseman Mike Rathje scored a power-play goal 3:17 into overtime to lift the Flyers.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 3-4-3 on the road; Flyers - 9-1-0 at home.

Associated Press
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