Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 25th 2024

A longtime snarly rivalry will take on even more importance Sunday afternoon when the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins. The cross-state foes nearly always play each other with heightened emotions. This time, the two Metropolitan Division clubs will have the added drama of being in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Penguins are the more desperate of the two, sitting nine points out of a wild-card spot. Pittsburgh has squandered some chances to move up in recent weeks, going 4-6-4 in 14 games before coming up with a solid 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. For the moment, that could help persuade Kyle Dubas, the Penguins’ president of hockey operations and general manager, to hold off on making any big moves leading up to the NHL trade deadline on March 8. He has said the team’s results and how well it plays will affect his decisions. “The ball is in our court,” Pittsburgh winger Bryan Rust said. “We have got to prove we (as the current group) are worth taking a chance on, and that’s what we’re looking to do.” Dubas did make one move late in the week, acquiring winger Emil Bemstrom from the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Alex Nylander and a conditional sixth-round draft choice in 2026. Bemstrom, who had five goals and 11 points in 32 games with Columbus, could make his Penguins debut against the Flyers. On Saturday, he practiced on the team’s third line and second power-play unit. “He’s a guy who shoots the puck well,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “That’s one of his strengths. I think he has good offensive instincts. He skates pretty well. So he could help us in a number of different ways.” Philadelphia, meanwhile, could be without winger and leading scorer Travis Konecny for the second straight game. He left Friday’s practice because of an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day. He did not play Saturday when the Flyers fell at home against the New York Rangers 2-1. It was the first missed game of the season for Konecny, who has 27 goals and 54 points. On the flip side, Philadelphia got winger Tyson Foerster back Saturday after he missed four games because of a right foot injury. He scored the Flyers’ lone goal. “He’s been great for us all year,” Flyers forward Scott Laughton said of Foerster. “We’re going to need him to be good, especially coming up if (Konecny) is out.” Philadelphia still has a precarious hold on third place in the Metropolitan but has lost three of four (1-2-1) since recording a four-game winning streak. The Flyers ran into a buzz saw on Saturday as the Rangers won their 10th straight game, 2-1. It also was a tight, physical game, which could come into play Sunday against well-rested Pittsburgh. Philadelphia coach John Tortorella did not make any judgments about how his team played against one of the top teams in the league. “I don’t have measuring sticks,” he said. “We lost the game. We get ready to go to Pittsburgh. I thought we did some really good things. We just get ready for our next game.” –Field Level Media

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