The Pittsburgh Penguins will look for their third consecutive victory when they battle the host Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
The Penguins (45-23-11, 101 points) defeated the Detroit Red Wings 7-2 on Saturday.
Evgeni Malkin scored twice and Kris Letang added a goal and two assists. Sidney Crosby, Chad Ruhwedel and Rickard Rakell each had a goal and an assist for the balanced Penguins.
Malkin missed the previous four games following a suspension for a cross-check against Nashville’s Mark Borowiecki on April 10.
“His impact on the power play is significant,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of Malkin. “He just adds a little bit of unpredictability. He’s got a bomb of a shot for a one-timer. He’s such a threat. I think he opens up opportunities for others away from him.”
The Penguins have three games left, beginning in Philadelphia.
“The only thing we can really worry about is these last (three) games and trying to get on a roll and rack up some points here. Then wherever it falls, it falls,” Pittsburgh center Jeff Carter said. “The last five are big for our team. Obviously, you want to be going at full speed when that first (playoff) game starts.”
After this matchup, the Penguins will close the regular season with home games against the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets.
But they have loftier goals that extend beyond the regular season.
“It’s all about the playoffs,” Carter said.
The Flyers will hope to build on their positive momentum from Thursday’s 6-3 victory on the road against the Montreal Canadiens.
James van Riemsdyk led the way with two goals and an assist, and Ivan Provorov added a goal and an assist.
As the season winds down, the Flyers (24-43-11, 59 points), who have had 13-game and 10-game losing streaks, will continue to evaluate their young players such as Ronnie Attard, Morgan Frost and Bobby Brink.
Brink, who led all NCAA players in assists while helping the University of Denver to a national championship, registered two assists against the Canadiens.
“As a line, I thought we played really well,” said Brink, who played on a line with Joel Farabee and van Riemsdyk. “We dictated play and created turnovers.”
Despite the maddening amount the losses, the Flyers have continued to compete under interim head coach Mike Yeo. Earlier this season, the Flyers fired head coach Alain Vigneault.
“I think we should try to finish the year strong and try to go into the summer with a little bit of a better feeling,” Provorov said.
There are four games remaining, beginning with this matchup against the rival Penguins.
“We just have to find a way to keep getting better every game here,” Yeo said. “It’s about effort from here and continuing to play hard and compete every night so we go into next season in a positive way.”
–Field Level Media