NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 13th (All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (16-9-4) at Philadelphia Flyers (15-7-6), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - While the Pittsburgh Penguins dominated their most recent opponents, the Philadelphia Flyers pulled off one the best comebacks in team history. The two Atlantic Division rivals -- tied for second in the standings -- clash this afternoon at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center.
The Penguins had no trouble knocking down the Islanders -- and keeping them down -- in Thursday's 9-2 victory. Petr Sykora and Pascal Dupuis both notched their first-career hat tricks, with Sykora also having an assist.
Miroslav Satan posted a goal and two helpers for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak in convincing fashion. Sidney Crosby collected three assists, while Evgeni Malkin chipped in a goal and an assist as 13 different Penguins skaters posted a point. Malkin, who has two goals and seven assists over a five-game point streak, continues to lead the NHL in points with 48 (12 goals, 36 assists), with Crosby second with 44 (13g, 31 a).
John Curry made 24 saves to get the win, though it has been Dany Sabourin that has handled most of the work with No. 1 netminder Marc-Andrew Fleury out with a lower-body injury. Fleury hasn't played since November 15 due to the injury.
The Penguins will play the first of back-to-back road games tonight and have lost four of their last five as the visiting team. They will enjoy a nice breather after today's test, as the Pens won't take the ice again until Thursday in Atlanta.
The Flyers, meanwhile, matched their best comeback in team history when they erased a four-goal, third-period deficit to post a 6-5 shootout win over Carolina.
Scott Hartnell keyed the rally, getting the first two goals in the third frame for his fourth-career hat trick. Scottie Upshall followed with a goal and Simon Gagne tied things with his 15th goal of the season.
Antero Niittymaki allowed five goals and made 26 saves, but redeemed himself by making a pair of stops in the shootout. Gagne and Mike Richards both scored in the extra session. Richards has points in each of his last six games (5g, 4a).
It was the team's largest comeback since turning a 5-1 deficit into an 11-6 win over Detroit on February 23, 1988. The club's most recent win was its third straight. Philadelphia is 8-4-3 as the host having won the first two tests of a four-game homestand.
The Flyers had been 0-2 in shootouts before beating Carolina. One of those losses came versus Pittsburgh on November 13, the Penguins fifth win in their last six versus the Flyers. Pittsburgh has lost four straight in the City of Brotherly Love, though.
The Pens also eliminated the Flyers in five games in last season's Eastern Conference Finals.
Both Crosby and Malkin have excellent career numbers against the Flyers. Crosby has scored twice in two games against them this year, giving him 18 goals and 21 assists in 22 games against Philly, while Malkin has 11 goals and 15 assists in 17 games.
Gagne has scored three goals in two games versus the Penguins this year and has 18 goals and 19 assists in 43 games against them.
12/13 10:34:48 ET