PITTSBURGH- When you look at where the Pittsburgh Penguins are today- atop the Eastern Conference and riding an 11-game winning streak- it's difficult to believe the transformation that has taken place since last year's playofffs.
In the opening round, the Flyers upset the Stanley Cup favorite Penguins last spring, four games to two. Remember?
Since then, the Penguins have solidified their defense while the Flyers have dropped toward the bottom of the conference standings. Only Florida has fewer points in the East than the Flyers.
Which brings us to Sunday night's showdown in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins will aim for their 12th straight victory and the sagging Flyers will try to gain ground in the playoff hunt.
The Flyers, whose longest winning streak this year is two games, are well-rested. They have not played since Monday's 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay, their fifth defeat in the last seven games.
The Penguins enter tonight's game having allowed just eight goals over the previous seven games. During that stretch, Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun have combined to stop 180-of-188 opposition shots for a .957
That said, the Flyers usually erupt in Pittsburgh. (See their 6-5 win here last month.)
Pittsburgh's top line of Sidney Crosby (6 goals), Pascal Dupuis (8 goals) and Chris Kunitz (13 goals) has scored at least once in 14 of the last 15 games.
This is the third-straight season –and fourth time since 1992-93 –that the Penguins have won 10 or more consecutive games. To put that into perspective, of the NHL's 30 teams, 13 have NEVER won 10 or more consecutive games.
The Flyers will have some lineup changes tonight. We'll have more after the morning skate.