Flyers-Penguins preview: Can Philly contain Sidney Crosby?
The Flyers will try to end a seven-game losing streak when they face a Penguins team coming off an impressive win over Tampa Bay.
Penguins (12-10-3) vs. Flyers (8-9-6)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday.
WHERE: PPG Paints Arena.
BROADCAST & STREAMING: TV — NBCSP; Radio — 93.3 FM.
SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Twitter, @BroadStBull; @samdonnellon.
KEY PLAYERS: After a slow start, superstar Sidney Crosby has started to heat up for the Penguins. Crosby has points in three straight games, during which he has three goals and three assists. Stunningly, Crosby (minus-12) and star defenseman Kris Letang (minus-16) are a combined minus-28.
In 59 career games against the Flyers, Crosby has 84 points (36 goals, 48 assists).
The Penguins have been led by right winger Phil Kessel, who has 11 goals and 31 points.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (seven goals, 21 points) has missed the last three games with an undisclosed injury and is listed as day to day. Matt Murray, who is 11-7-1 with a 2.94 GAA and .906 save percentage, is expected to face the Flyers' Brian Elliott (6-5-5, 2.85 GAA, .905 save percentage).
The Flyers, losers of seven straight, will get a boost on defense as Andrew MacDonald will return after missing 15 games because of a leg injury.
The Flyers have gotten most of their production from the top line of Claude Giroux (10 goals, 25 points, plus-10), Sean Couturier (13 goals, 25 points, plus-14), and Jake Voracek (seven goals, 29 points, plus-6).
The Flyers have outscored opponents, 42-32, in five-on-five play. Conversely, the Penguins have been outscored, 57-33, when playing five-on-five.
THINGS TO KNOW: The Flyers haven't lost eight straight since 2008. … The Penguins have won three of the last four games against the Flyers in Pittsburgh, including one at frigid Heinz Field last season. … Based on Sunday's practice, Dale Weise and Jori Lehtera will replace Jordan Weal and Taylor Leier on the Flyers' fourth line. The changes give the Flyers more size but much less speed. … When their opponent scores first, the Flyers have won just one of 11 games (1-7-3). … The Penguins' power play is second in the NHL, clicking at 26.6 percent, and it will try to exploit the Flyers' weak penalty kill, which is ranked 28th and has been successful just 74.7 percent of the time.
HEAD TO HEAD: This will be the first of four meetings this season between the teams. The Flyers, who went 2-2 against the Penguins last season, have a 153-90-30-8 advantage in the all-time series.
Tuesday: 7 p.m. vs. San Jose.
Saturday: 1 p.m. vs. Boston.
Monday: 9 p.m. at Calgary.