Flyers look for measuring stick

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates a goal with teammates Chris Kunitz (14), Matt Niskanen (2), and Pascal Dupuis. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

To say that the Flyers and Penguins are going in different directions would be an understatement.

But to say that the confident Penguins are not overlooking the Flyers, when they renew their rivalry on Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center, would be the absolute truth.

Just read what the Penguins have been saying:

“They’ve lost a lot of one goal games,” Sidney Crosby said Wednesday. “It can happen in hockey. The margin of error is so small in this league.”

“I am surprised to see them with the record they have now,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

“It’s a long season,” Pascal Dupuis said. “There are things in their system that they aren’t doing right. I’m sure they are trying to address that and I’m sure they’re looking at this game as a stepping stone for them.”

Yes, the Flyers do view Thursday night’s test as a “measuring stick” - a chance to see if all of the positives they have built since Saturday night’s loss in Detroit can build into a win against one of the NHL’s best teams.

“Since I’ve been here, they’ve always been a good team,” Kimmo Timonen said. “You measure yourself, you measure your team when you play a team like Pittsburgh.”

Nearly the same identical Flyers team that scored 30 goals in 6 games against the Penguins 18 months ago has just 10 goals this season. Usually, when these two teams meet, the systems are abandoned and a lesser-form of pond hockey resumes. 

New coach Craig Berube is hoping that isn’t the case - leaving at least one disciplined team on the ice.

“Hopefully on our part, there is (discipline),” Berube said. “It will be a big test. We’ve got to be really good without the puck against this team, they’ve got world-class players and scorers." 

"Right now makes me think of when we played Boston in the [2010 Stanley Cup] Playoffs," Claude Giroux said, referring to the series against the Bruins three years ago. "We were down 3-0 [in the series] but we were talking to ourselves and were like, 'How the hell are we down 3-0? We should be up 3-0.' We just stayed with it and came back to win the series.

"You know, it's a long season. If you think about it we still have 75 games left. That's a lot of games."

McGinn - Giroux - Voracek
Talbot - Couturier - Read
Raffl - Schenn - Simmonds
Rinaldo - Newbury - Hall

Timonen - Gustafsson
Coburn - Grossmann
Streit - Schenn


Scratched: Jay Rosehill, Andrej Meszaros, Hal Gill.
Injured: Scott Hartnell (upper-body), Vinny Lecavalier (lower-body).
Out for Pittsburgh: Kris Letang, Beau Bennett, James Neal, Matt D’Agostini.

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