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Playoff Warmup: Flyers-Penguins Gameday Storylines

Apr 1, 2012, 11:57 AM EDT

The Flyers are in Pittsburgh today for the first of two remaining games against their likely opening round playoff opponent. Here's a look at some of the storylines that will shape today's game.
The Flyers are in Pittsburgh today for the first of two remaining games against their likely opening round playoff opponent. The NHL’s system of seeding division leaders 1-2-3 has rendered much of the final month somewhat stagnant in terms of seedings, though there is still a chance the Flyers could move up or down. They’ve now played as many games as Pittsburgh and are just three points back. 
Considering the Flyers have been better on the road and have played well in the Consol Energy Center, there may not be a whole lot of difference between the four and five seeds. But, there is certainly a tone to be set in these two matchups. The Pens are once again the league’s darlings, and to be honest, they’ve earned it this season. 
Just not against the Flyers, so far. Pittsburgh has beaten Philadelphia only once in four contests this season. They’ll be motivated to even the series before starting the one that matters. 

Whooooose Hoooouuuse?
Sergei Bobrovsky survived a shaky start against Ottawa as the Flyers scraped their way to a point yesterday. Bob’s had the Penguins’ number since his first NHL start, when he was the surprise netminder in last season’s opener. His name will forever be etched on the wall of the Consol Energy Center, as he christened the building with a Flyers win on its opening night. 
Bob has started all four games the Flyers have played in the Penguins’ new igloo, and he’s won each of them. 
Max & Sid
Adam Kimelman has a good story on Max Talbot’s first ever game against Sidney Crosby. The two were very good friends while teammates, and Max is looking forward to playing against the player he calls the best in the world. 
The checking line’s battle against the top scoring lines of Pittsburgh should go a long way toward dictating today’s outcome. If there’s a reason to play for home-ice advantage, it’s getting the second change against Sid, Geno & Co. 
Recent History
The Pens are likely still smarting from Scott Hartnell’s final-second OT winner in a game they’d mostly dominated. They’re coming off a 5-3 win over a desperate Buffalo squad, but also two straight 5-3 losses to the Islanders. Yesterday’s Flyers opponent drubbed them 8-4 last weekend. 
Matinee Messes
I’ve previously written how much I love a good NHL matinee game. The Flyers have absolutely broken me of this enjoyment. They’re simply awful when the sun is out. Can they reverse that trend before the postseason begins and bears some nooners that truly matter?
12:30 start today on NBC.