Penguins vs. Flyers Preview
Philadelphia, PA (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins haven't lost in nearly a month and are atop the NHL standings with Sidney Crosby scoring at a record pace. Still, they haven't been able to separate themselves from the Philadelphia Flyers.
Pittsburgh looks for a franchise record eighth straight road victory and 13th straight win overall Tuesday night when it faces rival Philadelphia, which is only one point behind the Penguins for the league's best record.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made the Flyers -125 money line favorites for Tuesday's game against the Penguins. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 80% of more than 325 bets for this game have been placed on the Penguins +115.
Crosby can match his career-best 19-game point streak, which he set Oct. 6-Nov. 17, 2007. During his current run, Crosby has 20 goals and 16 assists to take the league lead in points with 51. Crosby has 14 goals and nine assists during the Penguins' 12-game winning streak, which began Nov. 17 against Vancouver.
"I've always said he was a great player," Flyers captain Mike Richards told the team's official site of Crosby. "You can't be too aggressive because he's so strong on his skates that he just pushes off you. I think it's just slowing him down and realizing that you can't rush him because he always makes those plays and finds the open guys.
Pittsburgh (21-8-2) hasn't lost on the road since a 3-2 defeat in Anaheim on Nov. 5. The Penguins' 5-2 victory Saturday in Buffalo matched the franchise record of seven straight road wins set twice, most recently Oct. 3-Nov. 3, 2009.
Extending the streak against the Flyers may hinge on Crosby, who averages 1.71 points against Philadelphia. He has 26 goals and 34 assists in 35 career games against the Penguins' in-state rival.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves against the Sabres to win his 11th straight start. Fleury is 13-0-1 with a 1.70 goals-against average in his last 14, and he's 7-3-0 with a 2.88 GAA in his last 12 appearances against the Flyers.
Evgeni Malkin, who has missed the last four games with a knee injury, participated fully in practice and could return for this game.
"I feel better everyday," Malkin told the team's official site. "(Monday) I skated pretty hard. I feel alright. It's tough when I'm not playing. I understand that I need rest because my knee is a little bit sore. I hope I play (Tuesday)."
The Penguins won 5-1 on Oct. 16 in Philadelphia, but the Flyers have won both meetings in Pittsburgh.
Richards said the Penguins' recent success and the tightness in the standings makes the rivalry that much stronger.
"It's always to get up for these games," Richards. "Especially with what they've done and what we've done recently with regards to success and battling for position in the standings. Even though it's early, we know how critical the points are."
Philadelphia (19-7-5) is 4-0-1 in its last five after winning 2-1 on Saturday in Boston. Richards scored for only the second time in 10 games, and James van Riemsdyk scored his fifth of the season.Coach Peter Laviolette hasn't decided on a starting goaltender for the Flyers. Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky has started all three games against Pittsburgh, going 2-1-0 with a 2.67 GAA. Brian Boucher, however, is 4-0-1 with a 1.71 GAA in his last five starts.
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