Opposites collide as Flyers host Penguins

9:59 AM, Oct 17, 2013   |    comments
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(SportsNetwork.com) - The basement-dwelling Philadelphia Flyers will host the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, as the Pennsylvania rivals meet for the first time in 2013-14.

While the Penguins have jumped out to a 5-1-0 start and are sitting atop the Metropolitan Division with 10 points, the 1-6-0 Flyers are eight points behind in last place.

Although the Flyers upset Pittsburgh in the opening round of the 2012 playoffs, the Pens have claimed two straight and four of the past five regular-season meetings between the clubs. Philadelphia also has dropped two in a row and three of its past four home tilts against the Penguins, not including the postseason.

Philadelphia fired head coach Peter Laviolette after an 0-3-0 start, but the coaching switch has done little to spark the Flyers. The team responded with a win in the first game with Craig Berube behind the bench, but the Flyers have since lost three straight in regulation.

The Flyers held a 2-1 lead heading into the third period of Tuesday's home game against Vancouver, but the Canucks wound up winning the contest 3-2 in regulation. Ryan Kesler scored a pair of goals for the visitors, including the deciding tally with 2:25 left in regulation.

Tye McGinn registered his first career two-goal effort for the Flyers, while Steve Mason made 22 stops in the loss.

Despite playing in only two games for Philadelphia this season, McGinn is leading the club with three goals. The Flyers have a total of 10 goals in seven games this season and are a pitiful 2-for-29 on the power play this season.

Of course, the powerful Penguins have had little trouble scoring goals this season. The club is averaging 3.83 goals per contest, potting 23 scores in only six games.

Evgeni Malkin scored the game-winner in Pittsburgh's most recent game, a 3-2 regulation victory over Edmonton on Tuesday. Malkin scored on the power play 7:20 into the third period to lift the Pens to the home win over the Oilers.

Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz each registered a goal and an assist, while Sidney Crosby collected a trio of helpers for the Penguins, who are off to their best home start (4-0) since opening the 1994-95 season 7-0 at Civic Arena.

"Our guys capitalized on some chances and found ways to put it in the back of the net," Crosby said. "We generated some good chances tonight and it was nice to get it going."

Crosby is leading all NHLers this season with 12 points on five goals and seven assists. He has been a thorn in Philadelphia's side over the years, recording 71 points (28 G, 43A) in 43 regular-season games against the Flyers.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20-of-22 shots in Tuesday's triumph and is expected to get the start again tonight.

Pittsburgh is playing just one game on the road before returning to the Steel City for a three-game homestand. The residency begins with Saturday's tilt against Vancouver.

The Sports Network

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