PITTSBURGH -- There are 82 regular season NHL games and many tend to run into each other, but when the Flyers and Penguins meet, there seems to have greater meaning.
Just ask superstar Penguins center Sidney Crosby.
While the stock answer would be to say that all games are important, Crosby talked after today’s morning skate at Consol Energy Center about the intensity this rivalry has, like few others in the NHL.
When asked if this rivalry is extra special, he didn’t hesitate.
“Yes I think you expect the other team’s best and it brings out the best in everybody,” Crosby said. “Other than that you do kind of feel the games have more intensity and you prepare kind of accordingly.”
Crosby said there are several reasons for the rivalry, with the first being history.
“It’s been around a long time and it is something that has developed with games and incidents and playoffs series and a lot of different things,” Crosby said. “Obviously the proximity of the two teams is a big part of it and there are a lot of things.”
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma says this is much more than a basic NHL regular season game.
“There is no question that playing the Philadelphia Flyers is a special, unique game, a rivalry game,” he said. “There is an intensity there and frankly, I stepped into it.”
Bylsma said he got a taste of the rivalry before even coaching a single game against the Flyers.
“Before I played my first Philadelphia Flyers game, fans in Pittsburgh said in profanities ‘you haven’t done anything until you beat Philadelphia,’” Bylsma said.
This is the second of five games this season between the two teams. The Penguins won in Philadelphia, 4-1 on Oct 17. Pittsburgh led 2-1 before Crosby scored with just 1:32 left and the Penguins then added an empty-netter.
The Flyers are 6-10-1 but have won two in a row while the Penguins are 11-6, but Crosby says forget about the records.
“Last game is a perfect example, it was pretty intense and I don’t think the records really change anything,” Crosby said. “I would expect their best game and we need to find a way to win.”