There's a difference of course from that 2012 matchup, underlined by the Penguins status as repeat Cup champions. Back then, Crosby could be unnerved and was in that series, starting fights, taking unneeded penalties. Malkin could be shadowed and was. They are older now, and wiser, and more patient.
Petr Mrazek is expected to get the start when the Flyers visit the Islanders Tuesday, and in a weird twist, his play may dictate whether Brian Elliott gets some actual game work before the regular season ends this Saturday against the Rangers.
In his first game back since he hurt himself on Feb. 18, Michal Neuvirth made some nice saves - and left hurt again, replaced by Petr Mrazek. That makes four in the last eight games that Flyers coach Dave Hakstol has made a goaltending change.
Sam Donnellon is a Flyers beat writer for the Daily News and Inquirer. His career has spanned four decades and has taken him all over the world. Prior to joining the Daily News in 1992, he worked as a national writer for the short-lived but highly acclaimed National Sports Daily. He has received state and national awards at each stop and has been honored repeatedly by the Associated Press Sports Editors, the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Associated Press Managing Editors.