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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, February 21st (All times eastern)

Pittsburgh Penguins (28-25-6) at Philadelphia Flyers (31-16-9), 1 p.m.

(Sports Network) - It has been over five weeks since the Pittsburgh Penguins posted a road victory. That win, coincidentally, came in Philadelphia.

Having given their new head coach his first taste of triumph, the Penguins try to snap a five-game road skid in this afternoon's matchup versus the hosting Flyers at the Wachovia Center.

Pittsburgh enters this contest just 12-13-4 on the road, where they haven't won since a 4-2 victory in Philadelphia on January 13. An inability to win in enemy arenas has just been part of the Penguins' season-long struggles that led to the firing of Michel Therrien on February 15.

After an appearance in last season's Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to Detroit after knocking off Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference finals, the Penguins are just fourth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the East with 62 points.

Therrien was replaced by Dan Bylsma, who lost his debut versus the Islanders in a shootout on Monday before his team notched a 5-4 win over Montreal on Thursday. Playing in just his third game of the season due to offseason shoulder surgery, Sergei Gonchar's first goal of the year led to Bylsma's first victory on the bench.

Evgeni Malkin added a goal and an assist, while Petr Sykora, Maxime Talbot and Miroslav Satan also lit the lamp for the Penguins, who have earned at east a point in three of their last four contests (2-1-1). Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 23-of-27 shots for the Penguins.

Pittsburgh, which will next visit Washington on Sunday afternoon, snapped a five-game road losing streak in this series when it knocked off Philadelphia last month. The Penguins have won three of four over their division rivals this season and six of the last eight meetings, not including playoffs.

Part of their success versus the Flyers has come thanks to outstanding play from Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Malkin, who leads the NHL with 58 assists and 84 points, has 12 goals and 16 assists in 19 career games versus the Flyers. Crosby has 18 goals and 23 assists in 24 career bouts with Philadelphia.

Both skaters have two goals and two assists each in the series this year.

The Flyers enter this test on a three-game winning streak, their longest since a five-game burst from December 6-16. They hosted the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday and notched a 6-3 victory, helped by a career-best five points out of captain Mike Richards.

Richards had two goals and three assists in the win, including his NHL-leading sixth short-handed goal of the season. Mike Knuble posted the game-winner late in the third period to notch his sixth straight 20-goal season. He also became the fifth Flyer to reach that mark this year, joining Jeff Carter (34), Richards (22), Simon Gagne (22) and Scott Hartnell (21).

Glen Metropolit, Braydon Coburn and Darroll Powe also lit the lamp for the Flyers, who have also won five of their last six overall and are 17-7-3 as the home team this season. Martin Biron stopped 39-of-42 shots to post his fourth straight win.

The Flyers are fourth overall in the East and trail Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey by eight points in the standings.

02/21 10:34:17 ET


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