The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers will reignite their rivalry on Wednesday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
It will be a flipped script for Penguins forward Steve Downie, who began his career in orange and black after being drafted in the first round (29th overall) by Philadelphia at the 2005 NHL Draft.
“I like being on this side,” Downie said with a smile. “It’s going to be a fun game. I’m looking forward to it. We just have to match their intensity level and play the smart way.”
It’s always a heated affair when these two teams get together. The Flyers will try to outhit the Penguins and draw them into post-whistle altercations. That’s something Pittsburgh needs to avoid to be successful.
“They’re a physical team. They like to intimidate teams,” Downie said. “They like to play the body first. We have to be ready for their compete level. They’re going to come in here and work as hard as they can.
“It’s always fun. It’s a challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it. We need to match their intensity and outwork them. That’s the key to that game.”
Head coach Mike Johnston will getting his first taste of the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia rivalry when the puck drops Wednesday night.
“I’m excited,” he said. “When you look at an 82-game schedule some games just blend into the other games and some games jump right out at you. Heading into the season and looking at games last year when Philly and Pittsburgh played, the intensity and emotion, both in the building and on the ice, I think it adds to the game.
“From my perspective I’m really excited about it, because as a coach you come into the game and now you know that your players will have emotion and intensity. Now we have to have a good game plan.”
POULIOT TO PLAY FOR TONIGHT FOR WBS
Penguins defenseman Derrick Pouliot has been in Wilkes-Barre for the past month while rehabbing his shoulder from offseason surgery in May.
He was officially assigned to WBS this morning and will be in the lineup for the Penguins when they play at Albany at 7 p.m.
Johnston said that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will start against the Flyers Wednesday night. The Penguins will play three games over a four-night stretch with road contests in Detroit on Thursday and in Nashville on Saturday.
With such a heavy game load, backup netminder Thomas Greiss is expected to start one of those two road games.
The Pens had all of their roster players at Tuesday afternoon’s practice at CONSOL Energy Center. There were no changes in the team’s lines or defensive pairings from the previous games.
Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (lower-body) took part in his second straight practice with the team.