The Flyers would much rather go into their NHL-mandated Jan. 22-30 bye week riding a win over the Penguins than stewing over a loss to the division rival.
They'll decide their fate ahead of the break Tuesday night when the Flyers (26-17-6) host the Penguins (31-13-5).
Let's get into the essentials:
• When: 7:30 p.m. ET
• Where: Wells Fargo Center
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Network
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com
• If the Flyers want to beat Pittsburgh, they'll have to find a way to at least somewhat slow down Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Since returning from core muscle surgery, Crosby has eight points (three goals, five assists) in four games, while Malkin has gone scoreless only twice over his last 19 games, a stretch in which he has put up 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists).
Those two have notoriously hurt the Flyers. Crosby owns 102 points (42 goals, 60 assists) in 68 career games against the Flyers and Malkin boasts 70 points (27 goals, 43 assists) in 56 lifetime meetings with the orange and black.
During the Flyers' 7-1 loss to the Penguins on Oct. 29, the lone matchup thus far in 2019-20, Crosby enjoyed a three-point game and Malkin was out. The Flyers have been far better defensively at home, so let's see what adjustments they make in Game 2 of the four-game regular-season series.
• Speaking of playing at home, the Flyers have taken significant strides in that area. They are 16-4-4 with 36 points at home after going 19-18-4 with 42 points last season.
Another important improvement has been their play against the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers are 8-2-3 vs. divisional opponents compared to a 10-16-2 mark against the Metro last season.
Interestingly, the Flyers and Penguins have been polar opposites against the Eastern and Western Conferences. The Flyers are 18-6-4 vs. the East compared to 8-11-2 against the West, while the Penguins are 11-9-3 vs. the East compared to 20-4-2 against the West.
• The Flyers will be without Michael Raffl (upper body) as rookie call-up German Rubtsov enters the lineup.
Joel Farabee, who has goals in back-to-back games, should see greater minutes.
Claude Giroux-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
Joel Farabee-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Scott Laughton-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
German Rubtsov-Connor Bunnaman-Tyler Pitlick
Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Justin Braun
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