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High weekend stakes for Flyers in bid for playoffs

Wins against Penguins, Islanders would clinch postseason berth

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PENGUINS (48-25-8) at FLYERS (39-27-14)

TV: 3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN1

Season series: The Philadelphia Flyers have lost the first three meetings and will attempt to avoid a season sweep to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Two of Philadelphia's three losses have come in the past month, when it was outscored 10-3 on March 19 and April 3.

Penguins team scope: With Pittsburgh clinching second place in the Metropolitan Division with their 14th win in 15 games, a 4-3 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals on Thursday, the Penguins may rest some key players against Philadelphia, but that won't be confirmed until Saturday. Coach Mike Sullivan said he will evaluate who is healthy, who is not, and go from there. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who has missed four games with a concussion, was not ruled out by Sullivan. Rookie goalie Matthew Murray won each of the Penguins' past four games to improve his NHL record to 9-2-1. Goalie Jeff Zatkoff has not started since Feb. 20, a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Before Pittsburgh's final home game against Philadelphia on April 3, Sullivan said he was unsure if Zatkoff would start again before the end of the regular season. Forward Beau Bennett, who did not play Thursday with an undisclosed injury, practiced Friday.

Flyers team scope: Philadelphia will face a pair of crucial weekend games, beginning with its final matchup against Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Flyers will play the New York Islanders the following night in a game that could determine the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. After a 4-3 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, the Flyers are one point behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild-card spot. The Detroit Red Wings have the same amount of points as the Bruins (93) and are third in the Atlantic Division. Boston and Detroit each has one game remaining while Philadelphia has two. If the Flyers win each of their remaining games, they are guaranteed a berth in the playoffs. "If you told us two months ago we'd be in this position, we'd take it," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said following the loss to the Maple Leafs on Thursday. Goaltender Steve Mason likely will start after losing his past three. In three losses to the Penguins this season, Mason has allowed 12 goals while facing at least 34 shots in each appearance. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth has not started since March 16.

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