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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, February 20th (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (7-9-1) at Pittsburgh Penguins (11-5-0), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers got a huge lift from their captain last time out. They hope that Claude Giroux can will them to a much-needed split of their six-game road trip on Wednesday with a victory over the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Flyers lost for the third time in the first four games of their swing on Saturday with a lackluster 4-1 setback in Montreal. Afterwards, Giroux, who is in his first season as captain, called out himself and his teammates, then led the charge on Monday afternoon in a 7-0 thumping of the New York Islanders.
Giroux scored just 26 seconds into the game, assisted on Matt Read's tally 15 seconds into the second period and added another score to cap a three-goal second frame. He had gone seven straight games without a goal, but teamed with Read and Jakub Voracek to form a line that combined for 10 points.
"I think everybody took it personally obviously. And that was the goal," Flyers forward Danny Briere, who scored twice, said of Giroux's words from the previous game. "But once again it's the way he takes care of it himself to start the game. We have no other choice but to follow suit. It's huge leadership on his part."
Read had two assists, Voracek set a career high with four assists and Ilya Bryzgalov made 19 saves for his 30th career shutout in his 400th NHL game.
The effort moved the Flyers to 3-8-0 on the road this season.
"It was a complete game today for 60 minutes," Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said. "It started in the first shift and ended when the horn sounded 60 minutes later. Real complete game. All three zones."
Laviolette's club will need a similar effort again on Wednesday against the rival Penguins, who come in having won three straight and eight of their last 10.
Pittsburgh plays the first of three in a row as the host on Wednesday after picking up road wins in Winnipeg and Buffalo. The Pens are 8-2-0 as the guest this season, but just 3-3-0 at home.
Pittsburgh got goals from Pascal Dupuis and Sidney Crosby just 1:27 into their game with the Sabres on Sunday, scoring on its first two shots. However, Buffalo rallied back to take a one-goal lead before Dupuis' second goal of the game tied things up at 7:06 of the third.
That set up Paul Martin's heroics as he notched the game-winner with 2:04 to play off assists from Dupuis and Crosby.
"I came in off the bench for a change and I think (Crosby) was trying to pass (the puck)," Martin said. "It kind of found its way toward me. I just put it to the net and it went in."
Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves and Crosby had two assists in addition to his goal, giving him 24 points on the season and seven on his past three games.
The Penguins also recorded a power-play goal for an eighth consecutive game and have gone 35.5 percent (11-for-31) with the man advantage over that span
Wednesday is the second meeting of the season between the Flyers and Penguins, with Pittsburgh opening the shortened campaign with a 3-1 win at Philadelphia on Jan. 19.
That was the first encounter between the clubs since a wild six-game series in last season's Eastern Conference quarterfinals, a set that featured a combined 56 goals and plenty of rough stuff before the Flyers emerged as the victors.
Philadelphia had won five straight in Pittsburgh during the regular season before suffering a loss in its last trip there on April 7 and the Pens will try to win two in a row at home in this series during the regular season for the first time since the Consol Energy Center opened in 2010.
02/20 10:57:40 ET