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Penguins notebook: Pens hungry to bury Flyers

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By Josh Yohe
Friday, March 14, 2014, 6:03 p.m.

Seeing the Flyers on their schedule is enough to motivate the Penguins.

Having a chance to prematurely end the Flyers season?

“You know,” left wing Tanner Glass said, “that sounds like fun to me.”

It's pretty plausible, too.

The Flyers are currently clinging to the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, two points better than New Jersey and Detroit. Of Philadelphia's final 17 games, three are against the Penguins.

And the Penguins know it.

“I think we really put a dent in Washington's playoff hopes earlier this week,” said defenseman Brooks Orpik, referring to the Penguins' other big rival.

“Philly's clinging on to the eighth spot right now. We could really put a dent in their chances, too, especially with how Columbus and Detroit are playing.”

Putting a dent in the Flyers' chances is something of interest to the Penguins.

“If we can beat Philly, hopefully we can diminish their chances of getting into the playoffs,” Orpik said. “I'm sure everyone would be happy about that.”

The Penguins, according to Orpik, made the President's Trophy a goal before the season. They remain only three points behind Anaheim in San Jose for the league's finest record.

“It's nice to have different things motivating you this time of year,” Glass said. “We haven't really had much to play for in a while.”

The Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal, and preventing the Flyers from playing for it certainly has the Penguins intrigued.

“No doubt about it,” Glass said. “It's always fun when we get together with them. We'll be ready.”

• Left wingJussi Jokinen will replace James Neal on the Penguins' top power-play unit. Jokinen, who has played with that group frequently this season because of Neal's absences, typically excels playing in the high slot on the power play. “I really like that spot,” he said. “It lets you use your hockey sense and find the open person.”

• While Neal isn't available this weekend against the Flyers, it appears left wing Chris Kunitz will play. Kunitz was injured against the Capitals on Tuesday when his leg slammed into the goal post. He missed practice Thursday but skated with his teammates Friday and showed no signs of trouble.

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