The Philadelphia Flyers look to rebound from one of the worst special teams’ performances in team history when they continue their push for the Atlantic Division crown with a matchup against the last-place Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Flyers are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and have clinched their 11th consecutive postseason berth, but are still trying to catch the New York Rangers in the division. Philadelphia trails first-place New York by five points with five games left, including a meeting with the Rangers this Saturday.
Philadelphia didn’t look like a team poised to make a run at any title on Saturday, though, as it allowed five power-play goals on eight opportunities in a 5-2 loss to Toronto. The Flyers gave up a team-record six extra-man goals twice, most recently against the Minnesota North Stars on Oct. 13, 1988.
“We took really poor penalties,” said Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock, whose team has one of the worst penalty-killing units in the NHL. “We made defending mistakes. When you don’t kill them off, it’s deflating. And when you don’t score on your opportunities, it’s even more deflating.”
Philadelphia converted just 1-of-5 power-play opportunities and never threatened as it fell behind 3-0 early in the second period. R.J. Umberger and Jeff Carter scored for the Flyers, who had 34 penalty minutes.
“No excuses. We have to find a way to get it done,” Flyers forward Sami Kapanen said.
The Flyers have lost three in a row at home, but have won 22 of their last 26 against the Penguins in Philadelphia.
The Penguins, wrapping up a four-game road trip, lost 1-0 to Tampa Bay on Saturday. Rookie Sidney Crosby left early in the second period with a lower-body injury, but returned briefly in the final period.
“It’s not a major injury,” said Penguins coach Michel Therrien, whose team has an NHL-worst 53 points. “It’s day to day.”
Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has lost his last five starts.