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Rivalry Night doubleheader gets numerical look

by John Kreiser

What could be better than a Philadelphia-Pittsburgh game on Wednesday Night Rivalry presented by Coors Light? How about a second game -- one between a pair of Western Conference rivals.

That's the case this week, with the Flyers visiting Pittsburgh and the St. Louis Blues in Denver to face the Colorado Avalanche. Both games can be seen on the NBC Sports Network in the United States and TSN2 in Canada.

The Flyers and Penguins have been battling for bragging rights in Pennsylvania since they entered the NHL in 1967. The Flyers ended Pittsburgh's season last spring by eliminating the Penguins in six games; Pittsburgh got a measure of revenge on opening day by beating the Flyers 3-1 in Philadelphia.

The Blues, coming off a 2-1 home loss to San Jose on Tuesday, face the Avalanche for the first of three times this season.

On Wednesday Night Rivalry presented by Coors Light, Claude Giroux and the Philadelphia Flyers face Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Then, the St. Louis Blues square off with the Colorado Avalanche in the Mile High City. (Photo: Getty Images)

Here's a statistical look at both halves of the Rivalry Night doubleheader:

Flying high: Despite losing their first meeting of the season, the Flyers have had the better of their cross-state rival since both entered the NHL as part of the first expansion. Philadelphia has won 142 of the 264 regular-season meetings. Pittsburgh has won 92 and the other 30 ended in ties. The dominance includes the past two seasons, each of which saw the Flyers win four of six meetings. Philadelphia has enjoyed more success than any visiting team at the Consol Energy Center since the Penguins' new home opened in October 2010 -- they won the first game ever played in the building and went 5-0-0 before Pittsburgh's 4-2 victory last April 7.

Too much Sid: Sidney Crosby hasn't had a point and is minus-4 in the Penguins' last three games against the Flyers (the last two playoff games in 2012 and the season-opener last month), but he's had his way with Philadelphia throughout his career. Crosby's 27 regular-season goals (in 40 games) are the most he's had against any team, and his 66 points are second. Add in postseason play and he has 89 points in 57 games.

Giroux is grand: Claude Giroux had the Flyers' lone goal in the 3-1 loss on opening day, giving him 16 points in 20 career games against Pittsburgh. Nice numbers -- but not close to the damage he did to the Penguins' playoff hopes last spring. All the Flyers' new captain did in that opening-round series was pile up six goals and 14 points in six games as Philadelphia upset Pittsburgh in the opening round. No player came close to having that many points in any playoff series last spring. Also, Giroux has eight goals and seven assists in his last eight games in Pittsburgh.

Singing the Blues: Colorado has had the better of St. Louis since entering the NHL as the Quebec Nordiques, but the advantage has been even more pronounced since the franchise moved to Denver for the 1995-96 season -- and especially so when the Avalanche are at home. The Blues have won just eight of their 35 regular-season visits to Denver; Colorado has 23 wins and the other four games ended in ties. The Avalanche have won the last six games at the Pepsi Center, outscoring St. Louis 30-14 in that span. Overall, the Avs have won 39 games, lost 23 and tied six. The teams have met just once in the playoffs, with Colorado beating St. Louis in five games in the 2001 Western Conference Finals before defeating New Jersey for the Stanley Cup.

Big deal: The Avalanche and Blues were involved in one of the biggest deals of the 2010-11 season. On Feb. 18, 2011, St. Louis sent defenseman Erik Johnson, the first player taken in the 2006 NHL Draft, to Colorado in a four-player deal that sent forward Chris Stewart and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Each of the players involved in the deal had been taken in the first round (two high draft picks were also involved). Johnson has had seven goals and 34 points in 106 games with Colorado since the deal; Shattenkirk has 12 goals and 74 points in 122 games in the same span. The teams have split their six games since the deal.

Fill in the blanks: One outcome that's not likely (historically speaking) on Wednesday night is a shutout by the home team. Colorado hasn't shut out the Blues in Denver this century; the last one was a 5-0 victory on Nov. 3, 1999. The only two shutouts at the Pepsi Center since then were 1-0 victories by the Blues on Oct. 31, 2001, and April 12, 2009.

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