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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Flyers, Penguins enter next chapter of their clash

Feb 20, 2013, 8:01 AM EDT

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 19: Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers attempts to make a move around Brooks Orpik #44 of the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 19, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Philadelphia Flyers will head to the Consol Energy Center for a match against the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Few rivalries have been more intense than that of the Penguins and Flyers in recent years.

The two teams have met in the playoffs three times in the previous five years and their most recent series in 2012 had just about everything – except maybe goaltending. They scored a combined 56 goals in just six games.

That’s not hard to believe when you look at the elite forwards on either squad. This season though, only one of the two teams have lived up to expectations.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have gotten off to an 11-5-0 start thanks in no small part to the continued success that forwards Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal have enjoyed. However, they’ve also gotten a couple pleasant surprises, like Chris Kunitz recording 14 points in his last nine games.

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The Flyers have had surprises too, but not all of them good.

Part of Philadelphia’s struggles can be blamed on injuries, but, as captain Claude Giroux put it, there have been plenty of times when the Flyers have just gone through the motions.

Their shaky start has led to questions about GM Paul Holmgren or head coach Peter Laviolette’s job security. That prompted team president Peter Lukko to stand up for the GM and coach while also preaching a message of patience.

A mere day later, the Philadelphia Flyers responded to that vote of confidence with a crushing 7-0 victory over the New York Islanders.

Of course, that was just one game and it was against a team that’s not typically held in high regard. Crosby and the Penguins will be a much tougher test, but you can count the Flyers putting everything they have into this contest.

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Probable goaltenders: PIT – Marc-Andre Fleury (8-3-0, 2.34 GAA, .914 SV%) | PHI – Ilya Bryzgalov (7-7-1, 2.42 GAA, .911 SV%)

Top scorers: PIT – Crosby (7-17-24, 16 GP) | PHI – Jakub Voracek (3-12-15, 17 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Pittsburgh – Forwards: None
Philadelphia – Forwards: Jody Shelley (hip), Scott Hartnell (foot) Defensemen: Andrej Meszaros (shoulder), Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion), Chris Pronger (concussion) Goaltenders: Michael Leighton (finger)

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  1. pens87 - Feb 20, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    Can’t wait for this game. Flyers coming off a dominating 7-0 performance and the Pens following a good win in Buffalo yesterday. Records mean nothing…its a rivalry game. 7:30pm can’t get here soon enough!

    • pens87 - Feb 20, 2013 at 8:13 AM

      a good win in Buffalo *Sunday*.

    • misterhyd3 - Feb 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      Agreed. I hate the Pens, but they’re a great club. Despite some of his antics, I’d love Sid in orange and black, and I’m really looking forward to this matchup. Best of luck to your Pens. I hope it’s a close game =P

    • lionsflyersandredbirds - Feb 20, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      Notable Injuries:
      Pittsburgh — Forwards: None

      I think that is the most important stat of the night…

      • jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        wow, making excuses already?

      • jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:53 AM

        the most notable stat is Crosby 2nd in league w/ 24 pts – Giroux tied for 43rd w/ 13pts.

      • lionsflyersandredbirds - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:51 AM

        No, if we lose it won’t be due to injuries. But you can’t deny that it never hurts to have a completely healthy team…

      • letsgopens8771 - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:53 PM

        Uuhhhh…What about Neal 2nd in the NHL in Goals (11) AND Leading the NHL in Powerplay goals (7)??

    • stevierod - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Well put.

      As a Flyers fan, and overall hockey fan… there is nothing better than Flyers vs. Pens. It is always exciting to watch.

  2. ml3939 - Feb 20, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    Yes, to me it’s the best rivalry in sports but this comments section will inevitably be filled with horridly stupid comments from trolls on both sides.

  3. sportsfreak13 - Feb 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    I can’t wait for this game! Really wish hartnell was healthy for this one, but the flyers will still play just as physical and hard without him. This is arguebly one of the most entertaining rivalries in the NHL today and im just glad we get to watch it. Lets Go Pens!!!!! Lets keep it classy on here pens fans.

  4. steelpenbucs87 - Feb 20, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Throw out the records and the stats in this one boys.

    I like the Pens to take this match up on their home ice. They’ve been playing solid defensively and getting on the scoreboard consistently over the last 10 games (save the NJ home-and-home). Not a slight against the Flyers who are starting to get their mojo back – I just think its a case of a healthy team that is humming along versus a team that’s on the right track but still trying to get healthy (7-0 win not withstanding).

  5. csilojohnson - Feb 20, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Should be a great game. Philly has had the Pens number at Consol. Good night to turn that around. Lets go Pens!

    • jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      would like to see vokoun tonight. flyers own fleury at consol and this will be his 4th game in a row – he’s about due for a bad game – love him but just sayin…

  6. hockeywithdrawal - Feb 20, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Both teams have a little fire under their asses for this one…hopefully the Pens don’t get suckered into anything, I think they’re on to the Flyers game at this point (they looked like they were last game).

    • hockeywithdrawal - Feb 20, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      Above all else, no matter who wins, and who loses…I hope Milbury isn’t in the box.

      • drunk4thliners - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        Milbury is a guy who hates “goons” but forgets he “gooned” his way through an entire hockey career.

  7. franchisethighs - Feb 20, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    Looks like the ginger convention is happening in the city of champions tonight. They scheduled a conference room at the hotel for perms and jheri curl sessions. Along with demonstrations on how to remove condoms with their mouths.

    • sportsfreak13 - Feb 20, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      Please PHT do the right thing and ban this guy. He is a disgrace to pens fans and humanity in general.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:31 AM

        I second this. Dude never contributes anything of substance. On another note can’t wait for this game. Got class til 9, definitely skipping out early. Flyers need this game more and they hafta play like it.

      • wicky888 - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        Very true, although I do find this particular screen name to be very entertaining

    • bcsteele - Feb 20, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      What is wrong with this guy?

      • sportsfreak13 - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:01 AM

        Some people were dropped on their head as a child. This guy was thrown at a wall repeatedley, then dropped down a flight of stairs.

      • govtminion - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:21 AM

        sportsfreak13, any chance we can do it again then?

      • sportsfreak13 - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        hahaha i wish.

  8. broadstbully33 - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Should be a great game. Excited to watch this one. Flyers pens always turns out as a great match up regardless of who wins. This is def the best rivalry in sports.

  9. phillyphannn83 - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    It’s depressing to think what kind of team we could be without that injury report. Hopefully our luck can turn and guys stop dropping like flies. Maybe then we can see who the REAL Flyers are. Till then just keep it close enough in the standings so we can be in it at the end. We really miss Hartsy right now.

  10. dkphilly1122 - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Without a doubt best Rivalry in sports is Flyers Vs Pens. As a Flyer’s fan I don’t like the Pens, BUT I also respect them, there fans and how good there team is. People from both sides will talk trash as always on here, but that just proves there are haters in every city. I always look forward to these games because they always live up to our expectations as fans of both teams. Get your popcorn ready. It is definitely gonna be a great game with tons of checks, great plays and goals.

    • johninpa - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      Popcorn sounds good, but this game may deserve a couple of cold ones, too! Should be a great game.

  11. chanceoffleury1 - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Contrary to the rest of their season, the season opener was actually one of the better games for the Flyers. Even though they lost, they played pretty solid. Neither team was spectacular offensively, but the goaltending was good on both sides. Here’s to hoping the Pens PP is on their A-game tonight! Something tells me special teams could end up deciding the game. Been counting down to this game all month!!!

  12. mclovinhockey - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Should be a good one. I thought giroux and Danny would have a break out game vs Montreal but it took an extra game. Hope they continue this and start pushing for the playoffs

  13. govtminion - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Should be a good one. I’m not a big fan of either team, but I love watching two rival teams throw themselves at each other for 60 minutes. Particularly after the goal-fest last spring, I’ll be very interested to see how this goes tonight. Predicting 4-2 Penguins (including an empty-net goal)- if the Flyers were healthier this might go the other way, but right now it’s hard to bet against the Pens.

  14. joewilliesshnoz - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Pens vs. Flyers, it’s a great day for hockey, let’s get it on !

  15. philly4lyfe - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    I hope they put mcginn back in the lineup tonight. he brings a much needed net presence with hartsy still out and I think we’ll need that more than harry z’s speed. wouldnt mind seeing sestito getting back in there too.

  16. philly4lyfe - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    and hopefully cooke can keeps his skates to himself =)

    • chanceoffleury1 - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Yeah, we wouldn’t want him injuring any of those potential Norris candidates the Flyers have over there.

  17. philly4lyfe - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    thats right, I almost forgot its ok to injure someone as long as hes not a top tier guy.

  18. Anthony Maiorana - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Reblogged this on Evening the Score.

  19. hockeyfan28 - Feb 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Hope Pierre is somewhat objective and not mistaken for the penguins mascot tonight for a change

    • hockeywithdrawal - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      We get Pierre, you get Milbury.

  20. puckmepuckyou - Feb 20, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Lol pens mascot. Great rivalry great hockey and I’m glad not to read any personal attacks on players in these comments as if anyone really knows the players personally. Anyway go Flyers and let’s watch a great game.

  21. phillyphanatic77 - Feb 20, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Flyers need to come out of the gates with the type of energy they had on Monday, and I have a feeling they will. It would be nice to have Hartnell in for this game as he knows how to push the Pens buttons, but since he’s not that job falls on Simmonds and Schenn. If they can get Malkin and others to take ill-advised retaliation penalties it could bode well for the Flyers. But the Flyers must be disciplined themselves (that means you Rinaldo/Sestito/Simmonds). Can’t wait for the puck drop on this one! Look for a 3-2 final, with the better goalie deciding the outcome. No shootouts please.

  22. kneary47 - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Hey Enzo, think the Penguins want to win this opening face off and set the tempo for the game?

  23. timsabourin - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Honestly, I was hoping for the number of ruthless chirps in this comments thread to be way higher… Disapointed guys, thought you were all better than this.

  24. pitpenguinsrulez - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    I will never care for philly in sport simply put. the only good things to come out of philly were ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) and the philly cheesesteak that’s it. I hope this game is good and 7:30 cant come any sooner! LETS GO PENS!!

  25. wisdomnfl - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    Hey finally some good clean and intelligent banter between pens and flyer fans! I love it should be a great game!

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