The Flyers and Penguins seemed destined for a first-round meeting in the upcoming playoffs. They'll have plenty of time to build up the rivalry before then with two more scheduled regular-season matchups.
Still up for grabs is who will have home-ice advantage in that potential meeting and the clubs battle for two big points this afternoon in Pittsburgh.
With four games left to play for each team, the Penguins sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with 102 points, five behind the New York Rangers for the most in the conference and Atlantic Division. The Rangers and Penguins do meet one more time this season in Pittsburgh on April 5 and New York is also in action this evening against visiting Boston.
The Flyers, meanwhile, sit only three points behind the Penguins and three up on the idle Devils, who sit sixth overall in the East with three games left on their schedule.
Philadelphia will also visit Pittsburgh to close out the season on April 7 and has won three of four versus the Penguins this season, including a 4-2 victory in the lone meeting so far in Pittsburgh back on Dec. 29.
The Flyers have won seven of the past 10 encounters overall, as well as four in a row and five of their past six trips to the Steel City. They captured a 3-2 overtime win in the last meeting at home on March 18, with Scott Hartnell scoring with 0.9 seconds left in the extra frame to snap the Pens' 11-game winning streak.
Philadelphia makes the trip across Pennsylvania after suffering a 4-3 shootout setback to visiting Ottawa on Saturday afternoon. The Flyers got off to a slow start, falling behind by three goals after the first period before battling back with a trio of second-period goals of their own. Sean Couturier and Braydon Coburn scored in the frame, while Wayne Simmonds added to his career high total by getting credited with his 26th goal after Brayden Schenn's shot hit off Simmonds' face before going into the net.
"I saw it coming but there's not much I could really do. Just trying to take the shot and it got deflected off," Simmonds said.
With starting netminder Ilya Bryzgalov sitting out his second straight game due to a chip fracture in his right foot, Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for the Flyers, who finished March with an 11-3-2 record.
"Every game needs to be won no matter what the standings show," said Bobrovsky, who should get the start again today with Bryzgalov doubtful.
Flyers forward Danny Briere had a pair of assists in yesterday's win to give him two goals and seven helpers in his last four games.
Pittsburgh has its own red-hot forward to counter with in Sidney Crosby. The Penguins captain logged a goal and three assists in Friday's 5-3 victory at Buffalo to make him the seventh youngest player to reach the 600-point mark.
Crosby has missed the majority of this season due to a concussion and neck issues, but has managed five goals and 24 assists for 29 points in only 18 games this season.
"It was fast out there and we wanted to play fast," said Crosby of Friday's victory. "They wanted to play fast, too. It was pretty good atmosphere and was a playoff-style game. Very happy to get the win here."
Evgeni Malkin added his 48th goal of the season and an assist to up his NHL- leading point total to 102, while Pascal Dupuis had a pair of helpers to stretch his point streak to 13 straight games. Dupuis has logged nine goals and eight assists over what is now the longest point streak in the NHL this season.
In his first action since Feb. 19 because of an undisclosed injury, backup netminder Brent Johnson made 25 saves to help the Pens get back on track. They had lost three of their previous four, including a home-and-home sweep at the hands of the last-place Islanders.