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Up next: Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and the Philadelphia Flyers

[SBN Flyers blog - Broad Street Hockey]

Any time the Flyers are having a bad year or struggling through some portion of the schedule the Pens' collective fan base can't help but crack a smile.  And why not?  Over the past month the Flyers have fired their head coach John Stevens and hired former Hurricanes coach Peter Lavoilette, lost goaltender Ray Emery for up to four weeks, posted a 3-7 record over the last 10 games and are currently dancing around the idea of recruiting a former KHL goaltender from his current position with a local rec league.  The last, according to Travis from BSH, doesn't seem all that likely.  Or at least he hopes that's the case.  Either way you look at it, the Flyers are struggling.

If this healthy Pens team isn't licking its chops right now then I don't know what to tell ya.

If there's one benefit that comes from playing a team like the Flyers it's that the Penguins will play them hard no matter what either team's record indicates.  As we've seen in many instances this season, the Pens have struggled against teams with weaker records from time to time as if the standings allow them to get away without a 100% effort.  That shouldn't be the case tonight or Thursday in this home-and-home series against the Flyers.  These two teams always show up to play.  Injuries or not, I expect the Flyers to come out of the gate flying.  How they maintain it may be another story all together.

Last night the Flyers and Bruins offered up a bit of a Winter Classic preview of sorts.  It didn't start out all that exciting for either party and it sure didn't end the way many of us would've liked.  By the time the third period hit with Boston holding a 1-0 lead it was easily the make or break point for my attention span.  James van Riemsdyk finally kicked off the Philly scoring less than three minutes into the period to tie the score at one.  Then Kimmo Timonen tagged on another goal, later adding the empty netter, to put the final at 3-1 in favor of the Flyers.  Brian Boucher, currently filling in while Emery is on the shelf, stopped 26 of 27 shots to pick up the win.  The Flyers made Tim Thomas work a bit more, peppering him with 37 total.  The win is only Philly's second of the month.

This week's two-game series begins on Mellon ice tonight at 7:05.  And just a reminder for those with cable provider technicalities - it's on Versus.