Series (Game 4 of 6)

Pittsburgh leads 5-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 8th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 15th
Game 3: Thursday, December 17th
Game 4: Thursday, January 7th
Game 5: Sunday, January 24th
Game 6: Saturday, March 27th

Flyers 7

(21-19-3, 45 pts)

Penguins 4

(27-17-1, 55 pts)

Coverage: NHL

7:30 PM ET, January 7, 2010

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
PHI 3 2 27
PIT 2 1 14

J. van Riemsdyk (Flyers - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Carle (Flyers - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

S. Crosby (Penguins - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

Flyers-Penguins Preview


Their season-long losing streak behind them, the Pittsburgh Penguins can now focus on making up ground in the Atlantic Division. Hosting the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night could help them continue their push for the division lead.

The Penguins look to win their fourth in a row this season over the Flyers, who have just two victories in their last 13 regular-season visits to Pittsburgh.

Jordan Staal scored twice with an assist and Ruslan Fedotenko added a power-play goal and an assist as the Penguins (27-16-1) snapped a five-game slide with Tuesday's 5-2 victory over Atlanta. Pittsburgh trails division-leading New Jersey by six points.

"We kept it simple, didn't turn the puck over a whole lot and we played in their end a lot more," Staal said. "When you do those things, you're going to find ways to win games."

Pittsburgh, which eliminated Philadelphia from each of the last two postseasons, has won 10 of the last 13 regular-season matchups in this division rivalry.

After defeating the host Flyers 5-4 on Oct. 8, the Penguins swept a home-and-home series with Philadelphia for the first time in 17 years with victories Dec. 15 and 17.

Thursday will be the first matchup between these clubs at Mellon Arena since Pittsburgh's 6-1 victory Dec. 15. Staal had two goals and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists in a contest with three fights during a 16-second span of the opening six minutes.

"In juniors I've seen that -- back to back to back (fights) like that -- but not up here," said Crosby, who has 11 goals and 15 assists in 14 career home games versus Philadelphia. "It was pretty exciting for both teams. It lived up to the rivalry, that game."

Evgeni Malkin could use this matchup with Philadelphia to start improving his play. Malkin, who has five goals and seven assists during an eight-game point streak versus the Flyers, has not found the back of the net in the last six games. The last time Malkin went seven straight without a goal was a 10-game stretch Dec. 22, 2008-Jan. 8, 2009.

While the Penguins look to close the gap with the idle Devils, Philadelphia (20-19-3) is trying to work its way into playoff contention. The Flyers snapped a two-game slide with Wednesday's 6-2 victory over Toronto but remain in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.

"We have to try to get as many points as we can, try to win games, and get back in the playoff picture," Chris Pronger said after recording a season-best three assists. "We need to take it to another level."

Danny Briere and Jeff Carter have done just that versus Pittsburgh this season. Briere, who scored twice Wednesday to reach 500 career points, has two goals and an assist this season against the Penguins.

"He's a guy that is really quick, agile, and hard to contain," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said Wednesday. "He's a great play-maker and a great scorer."

Carter had two goals and two assists in the Oct. 8 loss and found the back of the net once in the Dec. 17 defeat.

If Michael Leighton gets his eighth consecutive start Thursday it will be his first against Pittsburgh since Dec. 4, 2008, while with Carolina. Leighton is 0-3-0 with a 3.03 GAA in three career starts versus the Penguins.

Although Marc-Andre Fleury is 3-0-0 with a 2.27 GAA against Philadelphia this season, Brent Johnson is expected to make his second straight start. Fleury is 0-4-0 with a 4.07 GAA in his last four starts.