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Flyers at Penguins preview

Raffl returns to Philadelphia lineup; Schultz game-time decision for Pittsburgh

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

FLYERS (27-17-6) at PENGUINS (31-14-5)



The Game

Justin Schultz will be a game-time decision for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Philadelphia Flyers at PPG Paints Arena on Friday.

The 29-year-old defenseman has missed 16 games with a lower-body injury; he was injured on his first shift in a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Dec. 17. Schultz has eight points (two goals, six assists) in 27 games this season.

Pittsburgh is second in the Metropolitan Division, six points behind the Washington Capitals and seven ahead of sixth-place Philadelphia. It is 6-2-0 in its past eight games and 14-4-1 in its past 19.

Michael Raffl (upper body) will return for the Flyers, who have won their past two games and five of their past seven (5-2-0). The left wing missed the Flyers' 3-0 win against the Penguins at Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 21, each team's final game before the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game and mandated five-day schedule break.


Players to watch

Flyers forward Sean Couturier has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in his past 10 games. He had one assist against the Penguins on Jan. 21.

Penguins forward Sidney Crosby has eight points (three goals, five assists) in five games since returning from core muscle surgery. His 102 points (42 goals, 60 assists) in 69 games are the fourth-most against the Flyers in NHL history, behind Mario Lemieux (124), Jaromir Jagr (120) and Bryan Trottier (117).


They said it

"We're in a great spot right now. We're sort of in charge of our own destiny." -- Flyers coach Alain Vigneault

"If I'm in, just try to pitch in however I can and help this team." -- Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz


Flyers projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk -- Claude Giroux -- Travis Konecny

Michael Raffl -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Scott Laughton -- Kevin Hayes -- Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Joel Farabee -- Connor Bunnaman -- Tyler Pitlick

Ivan Provorov -- Matt Niskanen

Travis Sanheim -- Philippe Myers

Robert Hagg -- Justin Braun

Brian Elliott

Alex Lyon

Scratched: None

Injured: Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder), Shayne Gostisbehere (knee), Carter Hart (lower abdominal strain)


Penguins projected lineup

Jared McCann -- Sidney Crosby -- Dominik Simon

Bryan Rust -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Zach Aston-Reese -- Teddy Blueger -- Brandon Tanev

Alex Galchenyuk -- Andrew Agozzino -- Anthony Angello

Jack Johnson -- Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson -- John Marino

Chad Ruhwedel -- Justin Schultz

Tristan Jarry

Matt Murray

Scratched: Juuso Riikola

Injured: Nick Bjugstad (core muscle surgery), Brian Dumoulin (ankle surgery), Jake Guentzel (shoulder surgery), Dominik Kahun (concussion)


Status report

Farabee will move to the fourth line with Raffl returning. … Angello is expected to make his NHL debut after being recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Thursday.


Stat pack

Giroux needs three points to reach 800 in the NHL. … Malkin has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past eight games.

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