Playoff-chasing Penguins put aside memories of outdoor loss to Flyers
Despite the bad blood that has been building between the long-time rivals this season, shenanigans aren’t in the forecast when the Pittsburgh Penguins play host to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night.
The standings are probably too tight to expend energy on extracurricular activities.
When the teams met Feb. 11, Evgeni Malkin received a one-game suspension for swinging his stick at the head of Flyers forward Michael Raffl.
The last time the teams squared off, the Penguins blew a two-goal lead in the final four minutes of regulation and lost 4-3 in the NHL Winter Classic on Feb. 23 at Lincoln Financial Field. Brian Dumoulin received a concussion on a hit by Wayne Simmonds and Kris Letang suffered an upper-body injury when he was tackled by Shayne Gostisbehere in the scrum that followed.
Under normal circumstances, retribution might have been sought by one party or another.
But Simmonds was moved to Nashville at the trade deadline and the Penguins don’t have a very firm grasp on a playoff berth at the moment. In the race for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference, the Penguins are six points ahead of ninth-place Montreal with 10 games to play.
The Flyers, meanwhile, are fighting to stay on the fringes of the playoff picture. They trail eighth-place Columbus by eight points with 11 games to go.
“I think we’ve forgotten about it and moved by it,” Crosby said of the outdoor loss. “I think we understand what we need to do. It’s about us and the way we need to play. Obviously you want to know your opponent and their tendencies, but I think you go out there with the intention of playing our game.”
Given his recent track record, coach Mike Sullivan is likely to turn to Matt Murray in goal to face the Flyers.
The last two times the Penguins have played games on consecutive days, Murray has started both matchups. In the past three weeks, he has defeated Montreal and Boston on the tail end of a back to back.
Murray will be looking to bounce back after being pulled from a 5-1 loss to St. Louis on Saturday after stopping 9 of 13 shots.
He too said the outdoor loss is all but forgotten by now.
“It’s one game at a time, so every time you get in there, you’re looking to give your best effort and give your team a chance to win,” Murray said. “That’s what I’ll look to do.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .