Flyers vs. Penguins preview: Oh, wait ... we're still in the playoff race?!

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, the Flyers are still in the playoff race, and after five days off they'll look to break Pittsburgh's 11-game win streak on Sunday evening.

Awful stat: The Philadelphia Flyers have 13 wins this season. The Pittsburgh Penguins are on an 11-game win streak. And thus, the frustrating 2013 season in a nutshell.

Flyers_orange_mediumPens_blue_medium
Philadelphia Flyers (13-16-1, 27) at Pittsburgh Penguins (24-8-0, 48)
7:30 p.m. | Consol Energy Center | Pittsburgh, Pa.
TV: NBC Sports Network | Radio: 93.3 WMMR
Get the Pittsburgh perspective at Pensburgh

Regardless of the Flyers' current situation -- and whether or not you believe this is more of a shortened-season fluke or just the beginning of problems that could plague the Flyers for the next few seasons -- there's always one constant here: Games against the Penguins matter, a lot, and beating them makes everything better, if only for a night.

There's also one other reality following the lengthy five-day break the Flyers just sat through: Magically, they're still in the postseason race, making tonight's game all the more important.

There are 18 games remaining in the 2013 regular season and somehow, the Flyers sit just five points out of a playoff spot. Even more magically, they now have games in hand over all but two of their direct playoff chase opponents. Rightly or wrongly, they're in the playoff race and a win streak of any kind could put them in a really great position to control their own fate. It's an outside chance considering they have five teams to climb over just to get back to eighth place, and considering they haven't won more than two games in a row this season, but the chance is there.

A win against the Penguins, ending their 11-game streak, would be a pretty great way to kick off a last gasp run at the playoffs. Regardless of how well the Pens have been playing of late, this is still Flyers vs. Penguins and you can truly throw all of the numbers out the window. The game will be crazy, and there's really no telling who will come out on top.

Questions to Answer

1. With Evgeni Malkin out, how does Peter Laviolette match his lines vs. the Penguins?

2. How do the Flyers come out of the gate after nearly a week off?

3. How do the lines shakeup with Danny Briere out of the lineup?

4. Jake Voracek, still Jake Scoracek?

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