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NHL on NBC: Pens host Flyers in possible playoff preview

Apr 12, 2014, 10:13 AM EDT

Sidney Crosby, Steve Mason, Nicklas Grossmann AP

NBC continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign today when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Philadelphia Flyers at CONSOL Energy Center at 3:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBC, you can watch the game online.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in a curious position this afternoon when they host the Philadelphia Flyers because, depending on the outcome, they can have a hand in helping determine who they’ll play in the first round of the playoffs.

If the Penguins pull off a win, it’s possible they could face the Flyers in the opening round of the postseason. Working against them is how they’ve handled the Flyers this season. Philly is 3-1-0 against Pittsburgh this season and after sweeping a home-and-home set last month, many believe the Flyers are in the Penguins’ heads.

It’s a double-edged sword for the Penguins. If Philly moves to 4-1-0 against them this season, the Flyers will face the New York Rangers in the first round leaving the Pens to either deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets or Detroit Red Wings in the postseason. With Nathan Horton out of action for the next six weeks for the Jackets, the Pens may have their fingers crossed they can deal with them.

The Pens have won two in a row, both via shootout, so they’ve got that going for them. Jussi Jokinen has points in three straight and has the shootout winner in the last two games. Maybe Steve Mason and Ray Emery have done a little studying to prepare.

The Flyers, meanwhile, head into the game coming off a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sean Couturier has goals in back-to-back games and instead of his usual job of trying to frustrate Evgeni Malkin (out with a foot injury), he may get to step up another level and shadow Sidney Crosby.

While that’s the match-up to watch there, seeing how the suddenly healthy Penguins defense tries to get a handle on Claude Giroux is worth keeping an eye on.

  1. narfmoo12 - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    During that home and home series, Couturier shadowed Crosby the entire weekend

  2. nunan - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    Some things may be settled today with Philly and CBJ both playing. Bs can win the President’s trophy, too. Big day.

  3. penguins87and71 - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Never thought I would be rooting for the Flyers to beat the Penguins, but today I kind of am. Man that was hard to say.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      And I wouldn’t be too upset if the Pens won. Though it’s never good to start the playoffs by losing games I wish there was a way to drop down just enough to play the Pens but not Boston. The Rangers already got home ice and the Flyers suck at MSG (really against the Rangers in general). In Pittsburgh, however, the Flyers have no problem. They’ve even played Boston better than NY. So I’m torn, go into to the playoffs on a high note then meet a team that’s in their head or lose a few and take on a team that seems to be mentally weak against you. Then of course there’s the question of how a 1st round series against the arch rivals would take out of them. They were pretty drained the last time.

      Not that I’m positive the Flyers would beat a pretty healthy Pens team but the chances go up against them.

    • elmerbrownelmerbrown - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      Never thought I would be rooting for the Penguins to beat the Flyers but today Iam Man that was easy to say ! Flyers knock Pens out of first round it was easy to say !

  4. chanceoffleury - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Definitely an interesting situation for the Pens to be in. Losing would actually probably give them a better playoff matchup. And also I’ll be curious if Fleury’s in net. If he gets shelled you could really mess up his psyche, even more than it already is I’m sure, just a couple days before the playoffs. But if you play him it’s a great test because that pressure is there this game. And if he does play great it’s gonna be huge for his confidence no matter who you get dealt in the first round. Might not seem like it, but it’s a huge game on the Pen’s side too, depending on the roster choices they make.

    • joey4id - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      Are yo suggesting they should lose? Giving up 2 points could come back to bite them. If, and that’s a big IF, the Pens make it out of the ECF they’ll want to have home ice advantage in the SCF. Hitting 111 point could make a big difference depending on who will come out of the WC. Pens should play there best players to rack up as many points as they can. It’s too late to worry about Fleury’s psyche. That should have been addressed prior to the trade deadline if that was a concern. Pitt has to go with their best players to help them win the final 2 games. Resting players is not always a good thing. Ex: Montreal rested Price, Emelin, and Markov in Chicago and loss in OT. If the playoff were to start today TB would have home ice advantage.

      • killerpgh - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t when it comes to resting players. With back to back games today and tomorrow than a couple days off before the playoffs start on the 16th I think I would rest some guys each day. Not throwing the game by not dressing guys, but if anyone has a minor injury and taking a week off will make a difference you have to try to be as healthy as possible going into the playoffs.

        I’m going to the Pens game on Sunday. Sucks if they sit Crosby/Kunitz/Neal/etc. But that’s a risk when I bought my ticket. Teams that give themselves some breathing room during the regular season earn the right to choose who to play and who to rest during meaningless games. Unfortunately sitting players has outcomes for other teams. Different league but look Cheifs/Chargers game workout out last year. Cheifs sat something like 20 out of 22 starter and it still took the Chargers OT and a miss short field goal by the Cheifs for the Chargers to win. The Chagrers win knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs.

  5. thesportsjudge - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    B’s-Habs is the best rivalry in the NHL, but this is a VERY close second, and is must watch!

  6. puckmepuckyou - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Throw the game Chief then beat them down in the playoffs.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      I don’t think it’s in his nature to rest players and “throw the game”. They keep saying they don’t care who they face but I think Berube is the one guy who truly subscribes to that.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 12, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      Puck everybody~!

  7. jimeejohnson - Apr 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    If you just love the entire state of PA and don’t care who wins, you’ll join me in a cheesesteak with fries and coleslaw. What the Hell do you mean “nope”?

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