Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins Draw Flyers

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins Draw Flyers

Article excerpt

As if you weren't amped enough for the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs ... And talk about a juicy opening-round matchup. The NHL postseason will have a Pennsylvania flavor, as the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers will meet this week in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

"It never hurts when we play the Flyers," Patric Hornqvist said recently, talking specifically about getting up for games. "There have been a lot of good memories and good battles. They're always fun games."

The Penguins have home-ice advantage for the best-of-seven series, which should draw plenty of national attention and easily could start Wednesday - the first night of games. A full schedule likely will be released Sunday night.

A confluence of events had to happen Saturday for the Penguins and Flyers to meet in the postseason for the first time since 2011-12: A Flyers win, plus losses in regulation by the Blue Jackets and Devils.

Philadelphia easily took care of business earlier in the day, beating the Rangers, 5-0, while New Jersey lost, 5-3, to Washington, and Columbus came up short, 4-2, against Nashville.

"They're really fun games to play," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said last month, speaking on playing the Penguins. "They're not easy games to play. It's easy to get up and play some hockey when you know you're playing the Penguins."

The Penguins swept the regular-season series against the Flyers, 4-0, totaling 20 goals in those four games. It's the first time since 2006-07 (8-0) that the Penguins have swept the Flyers during the regular season.

The season series saw the Penguins go five for 13 (38.5 percent) on the power play while killing 14 of 16 penalties (87.5).

"There's always a heightened emotion associated with the games," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "They're a lot of fun to be a part of."

The Penguins and Flyers have met six times in the postseason, with the Penguins winning just two of those series - in 2008 and 2009, the latter in the opening round, which the Penguins took in six en route to the third Stanley Cup in franchise history.

The teams also met in 1989, 1997, 2000.

That 2012 series is sure to be talked about a ton this week, as it was one of the crazier playoff series in recent memory for the Penguins. …

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