The Flyers notched a 3-2 home win over Pittsburgh on Dec. 8 and have taken two straight and four of the last five encounters between the clubs, but Philly enters tonight with losses in back-to-back games and four of its last five. Tonight marks the finale of a five-game road trip for the Flyers and is also the club's last game before it hosts the New York Rangers this Monday in the Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has won four straight and is now tied with the Flyers for second place in the Atlantic Division. The teams are two points behind the Rangers for division bragging rights.
The Flyers have had success in the Steel City recently, winning three straight and four of their last five games in Pittsburgh. The Pens' last home win over Philadelphia came in a 4-1 decision on March 27, 2010.
Pittsburgh, which has scored 19 goals over its last four games, notched a 4-2 win Tuesday against visiting Carolina. James Neal recorded a goal and one assist as the Penguins used a three-goal third period to down the Hurricanes and improve their record at home this year to 11-3-2.
Steve Sullivan, Pascal Dupuis and Jordan Staal lit the lamp in the final 20 minutes for the Penguins, who unloaded 52 shots on the Carolina. Marc-Andre Fleury needed to stop just 16-of-18 shots for the victory.
"When you're controlling the offensive zone like that you're going to get your bounces," Neal said. "We just want to stick with it and we did that. We had some Grade-A chances and finally converted when it counted most."
Neal now has seven goals and four assists during an eight-game point streak. He has 21 goals on the year to lead the Penguins. Evgeni Malkin has also recorded a point in eight straight and has six goals and 12 assists during his run.
On the other hand, the Flyers have surrendered 19 goals over their last five games and were dealt a 5-1 setback Tuesday night in Tampa. Steven Stamkos netted a pair of goals and Mathieu Garon stopped 31-of-32 shots in the easy win for the Lightning.
Philly netminder Ilya Bryzgalov was torched for five goals on just 16 shots, while Scott Hartnell's first-period tally was the lone offense for the Flyers.
"What's frustrating is we didn't score any goals on all those chances," Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr said. "It pretty much looked like nothing went our way. Two weeks ago, everything went our way. But that's the nature of the business."
The Flyers welcomed back forwards Danny Briere and Brayden Schenn to the lineup. Briere missed one game with a hand injury and Schenn had been sidelined with a concussion since December 3.
In addition to Schenn, Philadelphia hopes to have another young forward back from a head injury soon, as Sean Couturier nears a return to the ice. The rookie has missed the last four games after getting hit in the head with a shot by teammate Kimmo Timonen. Couturier is questionable for tonight.
The Flyers are 13-5-2 as the road team this year. The club will get three full days of rest before hosting the league's annual outdoor game Monday at the home of MLB's Philadelphia Phillies.