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Preview: Flyers at Penguins

Philadelphia tries to keep wild card hopes alive; Pittsburgh can move into second place in Metropolitan

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

FLYERS (34-32-8) at PENGUINS (46-17-11)

7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV

 

Flyers team scope

The Philadelphia Flyers are eight points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with eight games remaining. The New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers are also ahead of the Flyers. If Philadelphia hopes to keep its playoffs hopes alive, it will have to rebound from losing six of its past nine games (3-6-0). The Columbus Blue Jackets shut out the Flyers 1-0 on Saturday, which marked their third loss in five games (2-3-0) since shutting out the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on March 15. "We did a lot of good things, but it sounds like the same story every game," captain Claude Giroux told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Saturday. "We just need to find a way." Goalie Steve Mason is expected to start after Michal Neuvirth made 19 saves on 20 shots Saturday. Mason is 3-4-0 in his past seven starts, but made 24 saves on 25 shots in his last start, a 3-1 win against the Minnesota Wild on March 23. Philadelphia did not hold a morning skate Sunday.

 

Penguins team scope

The Penguins will be without forward Evgeni Malkin again Sunday when they attempt to pull within one point of first place in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh is tied with Columbus for second place in the division, three points behind the Washington Capitals. "I think that all these teams have kind of clustered together," captain Sidney Crosby said. "As much as you want to look at what other teams are doing, we have to get those points." Malkin, who did not participate in the morning skate Sunday, has missed five games with a lingering upper-body injury sustained while blocking a shot against the Calgary Flames on March 13. Sullivan called Malkin's absence Sunday part of the rehab process. "Part of it's on the ice. Part of it's off the ice," Sullivan said. "They have a good handle on it. There's a game plan there." In their five games without Malkin, the Penguins are 3-0-2 and have averaged 3.4 goals per game. Pittsburgh would like to take each of the two points available Sunday after losing each of its past two games in a shootout. Forward Scott Wilson is expected to play after missing a 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders with a lower-body injury on Friday. Wilson skated to the right of center Oskar Sundqvist and left wing Tom Kuhnhackl. Goalie Matt Murray is expected to start after Marc-Andre Fleury made 43 saves on 46 shots Friday.

 

Flyers projected lineup

Matt Read -- Claude Giroux -- Jakub Voracek

Jordan Weal -- Valtteri Filppula -- Wayne Simmonds

Brayden Schenn -- Sean Couturier -- Dale Weise

Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Travis Konecny

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Brandon Manning -- Radko Gudas

Nick Schultz -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Roman Lyubimov, Michael Del Zotto

Injured: Michael Raffl (lower body), Nick Cousins (upper body)

 

Penguins projected lineup

Conor Sheary -- Sidney Crosby -- Bryan Rust

Matt Cullen -- Carter Rowney -- Phil Kessel

Chris Kunitz -- Nick Bonino -- Patric Hornqvist

Tom Kuhnhackl -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Scott Wilson

Brian Dumoulin -- Justin Schultz

Ian Cole -- Cameroun Gaunce

Mark Streit -- Chad Ruhwedel

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: David Warsofsky, Josh Archibald

Injured: Evgeni Malkin (upper body), Olli Maatta (hand), Trevor Daley (knee), Kris Letang (upper body), Carl Hagelin (lower body), Ron Hainsey (upper body), Tom Sestito (upper body), Jake Guentzel (concussion)

 

Status report

Cousins missed a fifth consecutive game Saturday. Flyers coach Dave Hakstol may update his status before the game. … Letang, Maatta, Hainsey, Daley and Guentzel each skated before Pittsburgh's morning skate but will not play.

 

Who's hot

Couturier has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past seven games. … Crosby has 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in his past eight games. He leads the NHL with 42 goals and the Penguins with 82 points, six points behind Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid for the League lead.

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