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Preview: Flyers at Penguins

Jakub Voracek expected to play for Philadelphia; Kris Letang out for Pittsburgh in Stadium Series game at Heinz Field

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

FLYERS (28-25-7) at PENGUINS (37-14-8)

8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, NHL.TV

 

Flyers team scope

Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek is expected to play against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2017 Coors Light Stadium Series at Heinz Field despite sustaining an undisclosed injury at practice Thursday. Voracek has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past six games. The Flyers look to avoid distractions and pick up two critical points. "That's the business job here at hand," coach Dave Haskstol said on Friday. "(You become) really focused on winning the two points that are at hand tomorrow night." Philadelphia (63 points), which did not hold a morning skate Saturday, is five points behind the New York Islanders for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They are 2-5-1 in their past eight games and 3-10-2 in the past 15 road games. The Flyers will look to win their first outdoor game after losing their previous two (0-1-1). They lost 2-1 in overtime to the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Winter Classic at Heinz Field and 3-2 to the New York Rangers in the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park. On Friday, Hakstol said the Flyers understand that Saturday will be unique. "There has been some build up, obviously," Hakstol said. "You certainly look forward to this date on the schedule because it's a pretty special opportunity."

 

Penguins team scope

Defenseman Kris Letang will not play after he was listed as a game-time decision on Friday. Letang practiced Friday after he was diagnosed with an upper-body injury on Thursday, but was absent during morning skate Saturday. "We'll see how it goes," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said, "but he won't play tonight. … His status has been day to day and we're going to manage it day to day." Defenseman Brian Dumoulin, Letang's usual partner, likely will play next to defenseman Ron Hainsey, who was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. Defenseman Justin Schultz (concussion) will be a game-time decision. After practicing the previous two days, Schultz said he felt well and hoped to play against Philadelphia. The Penguins look for their 12th win in 18 games; they 11-3-3 in their past 17 games. Pittsburgh seek to improve to 2-2-0 in outdoor games after losing their past two; The Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres in the 2008 Winter Classic (inaugural) at Ralph Wilson Stadium before losing 3-1 to the Capitals in the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field and 5-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2014 Stadium Series at Soldier Field. Goalie Matt Murray will start.

 

Flyers projected lineup

Jordan Weal -- Claude Giroux -- Wayne Simmonds

Nick Cousins -- Brayden Schenn -- Jakub Voracek

Michael Raffl -- Sean Couturier -- Dale Weise

Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Roman Lyubimov

Shayne Gostisbehere -- Mark Streit

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Brandon Manning -- Radko Gudas

Michal Neuvirth

Steve Mason

Scratched: Matt Read, Nick Schultz, Michael Del Zotto

Injured: Travis Konecny (lower body)

 

Penguins projected lineup

Carl Hagelin -- Sidney Crosby -- Patric Hornqvist

Chris Kunitz -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel

Jake Guentzel -- Nick Bonino -- Scott Wilson

Tom Kuhnhackl -- Matt Cullen -- Eric Fehr

Brian Dumoulin -- Ron Hainsey

Ian Cole -- Justin Schultz

Cameron Gaunce -- Chad Ruhwedel

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Carter Rowney, Steve Oleksy

Injured: Conor Sheary (upper body), Bryan Rust (upper body), Olli Maatta (hand), Trevor Daley (knee), Kris Letang (upper body)

 

Status report

Weal will return to the lineup after missing the past two games. Hakstol said Weal's play prior to his injury earned him a spot on the top line. "It's a short sample, not based on anything we saw at practice [Friday] or anything," Hakstol said. "It's his body of work since he's been with us the past couple of weeks." … Sullivan could tweak Pittsburgh's first line by elevating Hagelin and Hornqvist to Crosby's left and right wing respectively. Crosby had played with Kunitz and Guentzel in recent games.

 

Who's hot

Schenn has scored a goal in three straight games. He has four points (three goals, one assist) during that span. … Crosby has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past nine games and has a goal in three of his past four games.

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