Philadelphia Flyers 22 pts (8-9-6)
Pittsburgh Penguins 27 pts (12-10-3)
7 p.m. ET
PPG Paints Arena – Pittsburgh, PA
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 93.3 FM WMMR
PHI @ PIT
PIT @ PHI
PIT @ PHI
PHI @ PIT
Jakub Voracek, 29
Phil Kessel, 31
Sean Couturier, 13
Phil Kessel, 11
Jakub Voracek, 22
Phil Kessel, 20
As bad as things have been going for the Flyers for nearly the last three weeks, a hot streak to close out 2017 would get them right back into the playoff picture. Entering tonight’s game they are just six points out of a wild card and eight points out of third place in the division.
In fact, if the playoffs were to start today, the Pittsburgh Penguins would miss the postseason too after winning the last two Stanley Cups. The Flyers can pull themselves to within just three points of the Penguins with a regulation win tonight.
Head coach Dave Hakstol is sacrificing speed and skill for size and physicality tonight. Taylor Leier and Jordan Weal will both be scratched in favor Jori Lehtera and Dale Weise, who will make up the fourth line along with Scott Laughton.
On the back end, defenseman Andrew MacDonald will return to the lineup after missing the last 15 games with a leg injury. He will skate on the top pairing with Ivan Provorov tonight. Say what you want about MacDonald’s play, but the Flyers went 3-6-6 with him out of the lineup. Hopefully he will add some stability in front of tonight’s starting goaltender, Brian Elliott.
The Flyers will catch a break as Evgeni Malkin will miss his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury.
The Penguins have won three of the last four meetings against the Flyers in Pittsburgh. They have been very tough to beat at the PPG Paints Arena this season going 7-2-1 on home ice. However, both of those regulation losses came last week versus the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks.
Probable Flyers Lineup
Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
Danick Martel - Nolan Patrick - Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl - Valtteri Filppula - Travis Konecny
Jori Lehterä - Scott Laughton - Dale Weise
Ivan Provorov - Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere - Robert Hägg
Travis Sanheim - Brandon Manning
Brian Elliott (6-5-5, 2.85 GAA, .905 save %, 0 SO)
Probable Penguins Lineup
Conor Sheary - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hörnqvist
Jake Guentzel - Riley Sheehan - Phil Kessel
Carl Hagelin - Carter Rowney - Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl - Greg McKegg - Ryan Reaves
Olli Määttä - Kris Letang
Matt Hunwick - Justin Schultz
Brian Dumoulin - Chad Ruhwedal
Matt Murray (11-7-1, 2.94 GAA, .906 save %, 1 SO)
C-Evgeni Malkin (upper-body) day-to-day