Riding their longest home winning streak since 2005, the Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia Flyers know it would be unwise to look past the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins.
They only need to remember their own team from last season to see why.
Philadelphia (23-10-9) seeks its ninth straight home victory on Tuesday night against a Penguins club that has lost seven of eight overall and four in a row on the road.
A victory versus Pittsburgh (20-19-4) would match the Flyers' longest home winning streak since a nine-game run from Oct. 7-Nov. 12, 2005. Included in their current home streak was a 6-3 victory over the Penguins on Dec. 13.
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who notched a career-high four assists in that win, realizes how dangerous the defending Eastern Conference champions are and how a team can respond to a losing streak.
"We lost (10) in a row and we made the playoffs (last year)," Timonen told the team's official Web site. "Everybody goes through tough times, and it's their tough time right now. It doesn't matter to us. It's a big game for us and we have to be ready to go."
Philadelphia went 0-8-2 from Feb. 6-23 before finishing 12-4-4 and advancing to the Eastern finals where it lost to Pittsburgh in five games.
Jeff Carter, who had just two goals in that series against the Penguins, scored his NHL-leading 28th and 29th goals of the season in the Flyers' 4-1 victory over Toronto on Saturday. Carter, a first-time All-Star, has three goals and two assists as Philadelphia is 1-0-2 against Pittsburgh this season.
"Whenever (Carter) touches the puck, you know he's going to get a scoring chance or he's going to create something," said Philadelphia's Martin Biron, who is 7-0-2 with a 2.51 GAA in his last nine home starts.
Biron is 1-0-1 with a 3.36 GAA versus Pittsburgh in 2008-09.
Captain Mike Richards continued his steady play at home on Saturday with a goal. In 21 games at Wachovia Center this season, Richards has 10 goals and 16 of his team-high 28 assists.
"We find ways to win at home," said Richards, who had a goal and two assists in the Flyers' home win over Pittsburgh last month. "We feed off the crowd's energy. Tonight, I don't think we played our best hockey."
Pittsburgh hasn't been in awhile.
The Penguins conclude their three-game trip on Tuesday after falling 5-3 to Colorado on Saturday. The loss dropped Pittsburgh to 7-15-1 in the last 23 games.
"It is tough. We've got to hang in there and keep our heads up and make sure we're working hard," said Penguins coach Michael Therrien, whose team has fallen to 10th in the conference with 44 points. "Eventually, if we get the right approach we'll get out of this."
Even with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby - the leagues' top two scorers - notching a goal and an assist against the Avalanche, Pittsburgh dropped to 4-9-0 since last month's defeat in Philadelphia.
"The things that allow you to win don't change based on the month," said Crosby, who had seven goals and 18 assists during the Penguins' 12-4-3 start this season. "It's the same things it took in October and November as now."
Crosby has eight goals and 11 assists in 13 career games in Philadelphia.
The Flyers have won two in a row and six of seven at home against Pittsburgh.