Series (Game 6 of 6)

Pittsburgh leads 5-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 8th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 15th
Game 3: Thursday, December 17th
Game 4: Thursday, January 7th
Game 5: Sunday, January 24th
Game 6: Saturday, March 27th

Flyers 1

(37-32-6, 80 pts)

Penguins 4

(43-25-7, 93 pts)

1:00 PM ET, March 27, 2010

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
PHI 1 0 01
PIT 1 1 24

S. Crosby (Penguins - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

R. Fedotenko (Penguins - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

M. Fleury (Penguins - G): Saves: 26, Save Pct.: .963

Flyers-Penguins Preview


Set to begin the last homestand in their aging arena, the Pittsburgh Penguins need to come away with as many points as possible to give themselves a shot at winning the Atlantic Division.

The Philadelphia Flyers' chances of joining them in the postseason, meanwhile, are becoming increasingly more precarious.

Pittsburgh opens a six-game homestand Saturday afternoon against the rival Flyers, who will be desperate to snap a four-game losing streak in their final regular-season visit to Mellon Arena.

The Penguins (42-25-7) and New Jersey are tied for first place in the division, while the Flyers (37-31-6) find themselves holding onto seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

Neither team is playing particularly well of late in the fight for playoff positioning, but while Pittsburgh would need a complete free-fall to end up lower than fourth place in the East, a continued slump from Philadelphia could leave it out of the postseason.

The Flyers held a 3-1 lead over visiting Minnesota on Thursday night before falling 4-3 in overtime for their fourth straight loss.

"It's a lack of focus, a lack of concentration, a lack of desire," defenseman Chris Pronger said. "That game should be locked down at 3-1. This late in the season, that's just unacceptable."

Though Philadelphia could still realistically finish as high as fifth, ninth-place Atlanta is lurking four points behind.

"It's frustrating. Fans are (angry)," winger Scott Hartnell said. "We're picked to make some noise in the playoffs, but if we keep doing that, we might not be in. It needs to change immediately. We need points this weekend, that's the bottom line."

The Flyers are 1-3-1 against Pittsburgh, with the lone victory coming in a wild 7-4 game in their most recent visit to Mellon Arena on Jan. 7.

Jeff Carter scored two goals in that game and has six in the season series, but Philadelphia's leading scorer is likely out for the rest of the regular season with a broken left foot.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has been without second-leading goal scorer Evgeni Malkin (bruised right foot) for four of its last five games. Malkin, who has two goals and six assists against Philadelphia, practiced briefly Friday but has been ruled out for Saturday.

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar was held out of practice after missing Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss at Washington with an illness, and his status is unknown.

The Penguins could use an offensive boost, as they've scored three goals or fewer in nine straight games.

After playing seven of eight on the road, an extended stretch at Mellon Arena could be beneficial to Sidney Crosby and his teammates, who are 6-0-3 in their last nine at home. Tied with Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the NHL's goal-scoring lead with 45, Crosby has gone six straight games without finding the back of the net.

Thirty of Crosby's goals, however, have come at home.

"We've been on the road for a while, so these are important games for us," Crosby said. "We want to make the most of it."

Facing Philadelphia has always seemed to bring out the best in Pittsburgh's captain. Crosby has four goals and three assists versus the Flyers this season, and his 24 career goals and 53 points when playing them are his most against any opponent.

Pittsburgh will be moving into the new Consol Energy Center next season after playing at Mellon Arena since entering the NHL for the 1967-68 campaign.