As if the Flyers-Penguins rivalry wasn’t already percolating, Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin gave it more juice the other day.
Malkin, indirectly, took a slap at Flyers fans, which means he might get more boos than teammate Sidney Crosby when the teams meet Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Maybe.
After the host Penguins overcame an early 3-0 deficit and beat Boston on Sunday, 4-3, Malkin was miffed about how the Pittsburgh fans treated goalie Matt Murray. Murray has two Stanley Cups to his credit, but he was booed during the first period of Sunday’s game as the Penguins fell into an early hole.
“You pay money for a ticket. You do what you want,” Malkin, who leads the Pens with 50 points, told reporters. “But it’s tough to sit on the bench and hear that. I don’t like it. We hear that in Philly, not Pittsburgh.”
Tuesday’s game is the final one before the All-Star break for both the Flyers and Penguins. In the teams’ first meeting this season, the Penguins trounced the visiting Flyers, 7-1. Murray stopped 29 of 30 shots in that Oct. 29 game.
Murray (2.84 GAA, .900 save percentage) has had a disappointing season and has divided time with Tristan Jarry (2.16, .929), who will start Tuesday.
Brian Elliott (3.20, .901) will get the start for the Flyers.
Left winger Michel Raffl will be out of the lineup Tuesday because of a neck/shoulder issue. With Raffl sidelined, rookie Joel Farabee will move to left wing on a line with Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek.
German Rubtsov, recalled from the Phantoms on Monday, will play left wing on the fourth line.
Raffl should be ready to play in Pittsburgh on Jan. 31, the Flyers’ first game after their extended break.