We're gonna just get right down to the point (points) here with this one. Below the subhead here are the basic facts around today's game.
Philadelphia Flyers (41-30-9, 91 pts) at Pittsburgh Penguins (51-24-5, 107 pts)
3 p.m. | Consol Energy Center | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: NBC | Stream: NBCSports.com | Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Get the Pittsburgh perspective at Pensburgh
* Pittsburgh eww gross.
* The Flyers enter today's game with a leg up on the No. 3 spot in the Metropolitan over the Columbus Blue Jackets (thanks to their 3-2 loss in Tampa Bay last night) and also on the top, non-Boston-facing wild card over the Detroit Red Wings (thanks to their 2-1 loss to Carolina last night).
* With a non-shootout win in today's game, the Flyers would be locked into the No. 3 seed in the Metropolitan and would be guaranteed to face the Rangers in the conference quarterfinals. (If they won today's game in a shootout, they could drop down to the first wild card if they lose on Sunday and Columbus wins tonight, but I mean come on lol Flyers winning in a shootout.) If the Flyers lose today ... we'll break down the scenarios after the game.
* The Penguins are locked into the No. 2 seed in the East (and the No. 1 seed in the Metropolitan) and from a standings perspective this game probably could not mean less to them. Ironically enough, as you could likely infer from the above, they can guarantee that they won't play the Flyers in the first round with a regulation or overtime loss today.
* You likely remember the last time/times these two teams played, as the Flyers swept a weekend home-and-home back in March that was the beginning of the run that got them into the playoffs. As you may also recall, Pittsburgh's team that weekend was more or less two of the best players in the world (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, of course) and a bunch of dudes that they pulled from a rec league in Moon Township.
* Today they'll have a few more reinforcements in terms of depth. Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Kris Letang, and Paul Martin -- all of whom missed both games in that mini-series back in March -- are all healthy and will all presumably be in the lineup today, so given how much of a problem their depth has been, they're going to be a tougher out than they were before. However, they'll be missing one of those aforementioned best players in the world, because Malkin hurt his foot a week after those games against the Flyers and still hasn't fully recovered.
* For the Flyers, they made some tweaks to their lineup coming into Thursday's game, most notably with Erik Gustafsson coming in for Nicklas Grossmann. We never got a full explanation for that one -- Grossmann's been nicked up a bit and there have been talks about ankle problems, but it seemed like he'd been playing through it for a bit, so who knows. No word yet on if we'll see the same thing today. Lineup should presumably be the same otherwise.
* Zac Rinaldo is also still out, with two games remaining on his suspension. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Flyers have only taken four minor penalties and eight total penalty minutes in their last two games. Probably just a blip on the radar, but given how often and how quickly things tend to blow up between these two teams, it'll be worth seeing how all that goes without Zac in the lineup.
* Speaking of, the power play has been pretty bad the past five or so games. Pittsburgh is often good for what ails the Flyers when it comes to the man advantage. Today?
* NBC game. Have there been any Flyers-Penguins games in the last three seasons that weren't on some form of national TV? Like, any of them? Semi-serious question.
* Pittsburgh eww gross.
That's all I got. Game at 3. Gamethread up around 2. Go Flyers.