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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, April 12th (All times Eastern)

Philadelphia Flyers (41-30-9) at Pittsburgh Penguins (51-24-5), 3 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers will continue their fight for a higher seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, as they visit the rival Pittsburgh Penguins for Saturday's afternoon battle at Consol Energy Center.

The Flyers are tied at 91 points with Columbus for third place in the Metropolitan Division, but have a game in hand as well as one more non- shootout victory over the Blue Jackets, who lost in regulation to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.

That setback means that Philadelphia can clinch third place in the Metropolitan with a victory this afternoon.

The team finishing third in the division will face the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. The Rangers locked up second place and home-ice advantage in the first round after Thursday's win against Buffalo.

Philadelphia clinched a postseason berth after posting a second straight win Tuesday night at Florida, but the Flyers lost for the fifth time in seven games following Thursday's 4-2 setback in Tampa.

Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson each had a goal and an assist to help the Lightning down the Flyers. Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier scored for Philadelphia, while Ray Emery gave up four goals on 30 shots to take the loss.

"To be honest with you, I thought we were taking the play to them in the third period," said Philadelphia head coach Craig Berube.

Nicklas Grossmann missed Thursday's game with an injured right ankle is the Flyers defenseman is questionable for today's game.

The Flyers are wrapping a three-game swing as well as their regular-season road schedule today. Philadelphia, which closes the regular season tomorrow against visiting Carolina, is 17-16-7 as the away team this season.

Philadelphia has won three straight against the Penguins since dropping the opener of the season series at home on Oct. 17. The Flyers have won two straight, three of four and eight of the last 10 regular-season meetings in the Steel City.

The Flyers and Penguins could wind up playing each other in the first round if Philadelphia finishes in the East's first wild card spot. Pittsburgh clinched the Metro Division title and is locked into the East's second spot.

Pittsburgh has won two straight and three of its last four games. The Pens notched a 4-3 shootout victory over Detroit on Wednesday, as Jussi Jokinen scored the lone goal of the decisive phase.

Jokinen, Pittsburgh's third skater, entered the zone close to the right boards and weaved his way towards the slot. He lost control of the puck just as Detroit netminder Jonas Gustavsson went for a poke check. The puck bounced up into the air and rolled into the net for the game winner.

James Neal scored two power-play goals and Jokinen also scored in regulation for the Penguins. Matt Niskanen and Paul Martin both supplied two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 34 shots in the win.

The Penguins got a boost from several players returning to the lineup. Kris Letang returned after missing 10 weeks due to a stroke he suffered on Jan. 29. The 2013 Norris Trophy finalist contributed an assist and logged 22:30 in his first game back. Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, and Olli Maatta were also re- inserted into the lineup.

"I felt pretty good," Letang said. "I'm just happy to be on the ice."

Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin is still sidelined with a sprained foot, but he could be ready to go when the playoffs begin next week. Malkin has missed the last nine games.

The Pens are closing the regular season on a three-game road trip that is set to end tomorrow against Ottawa. Pittsburgh boasts a 28-9-2 record as the host this season.

Steve Mason could get the call in net for the Flyers on Saturday and is 4-2-1 with a 2.65 goals against average and .915 save percentage in seven career outings against the Pens.

Fleury is 24-15-1 with a 2.83 GAA and .902 save percentage against Philadelphia in his career. Pens backup Jeff Zatkoff's only career outing against the Flyers came in a March 16 home loss in which he stopped 19-of-20 shots.

04/12 10:27:06 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
CHI 84
MIA 96
Final
CLE 108
OKC 98
Final
NOP 109
DAL 106
Final
ORL 99
IND 106
Final
PHO 100
LAC 120
Final
ATL 112
MIN 100
Final
TOR 114
DET 110
 
Final
SAN 101
MIL 95
4th
GSW 91
BOS 79
 
4th
DEN 84
WAS 87
 
1st
LAL 8
HOU 16
 
Final
UCONN 66
SFLA 53
Final
GT 62
BC 64
Final
VT 47
UVA 50
Final
OSU 82
IND 70
Final
UCF 46
CIN 56
Final
WICHS 74
DRAK 40
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
MAR 73
FAIR 67
 
Final
HART 61
MAINE 70
 
Final
MAN 71
MON 64
 
Final
PRIN 96
ROWAN 48
 
Final
SIENA 55
PETE 69
 
Final
RIU 53
BONA 48
Final
BING 54
USB 61
 
Final
MLOWELL 50
VERM 61
 
Final
BUT 77
SHU 57
Final
SALA 55
YALE 72
 
Final
PITT 68
LOU 80
Final
ILLST 53
NIOWA 54
Final
GTDNS 69
UMBC 55
 
Final
IONA 87
NIAG 64
 
Final
TENST 55
BEL 63
 
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
VILL 71
CREI 50
Final
MD 68
NW 67
2nd
UTAH 60
WASH 39
 
Final
TEAMFOLI 12
TEAMTOEWS 17
Half
CARTER 20
IRVIN 19