|Penguins, Flyers enter Stadium Series in frosty mood|
The timing for the participants Saturday in an NHL Stadium Series outdoor game is, well, interesting. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers might not be in a celebratory mood coming off particularly tough losses.
The league's outdoor games come with pageantry, special uniforms, national TV and at least some expectation of excitement on the teams' parts. It will be no different Saturday at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field. home of the NFL's Eagles.
But the Penguins were steamed and frustrated after a 4-0 pasting at home on Thursday by San Jose, and the Flyers were kicking themselves after a 5-1 loss at Montreal the same night.
And that's on top of a weather forecast that is even more gloomy. Several agencies are calling for rain, with the National Weather Service forecasting a 90-percent chance of rain for Saturday night as of Friday morning. Heavy rain could force a postponement, perhaps until Sunday.
Pittsburgh will use the Metropolitan Division matchup against the Flyers to try to bounce back from the San Jose loss after the Sharks scored three power-play goals and a shorthanded goal.
"We're extremely frustrated ... and disappointed, but we don't have any time to sit and dwell on it. We've got to focus on the next one," Penguins veteran forward Matt Cullen said. "We have to turn the page. It doesn't matter what the scenario is at this point of the season. You've got to turn the page in a hurry and move forward."
Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan was as short and terse postgame as he's ever been, declining to discuss a series of scrums late in the loss and his ensuing ejection from the game.
But Sullivan did stress a need for his team to be resilient.
"It's essential to have success in this league," he said. "It's hard to win. You're going to have nights where it goes your way, and you're going to have nights like (Thursday)."
Both teams fell behind 3-0 after one period in their Thursday losses.
"We get scored on on two horrible neutral-zone forechecks, and that set the tone for the game," Philadelphia interim coach Scott Gordon said after his team gave up multiple odd-man rushes.
It was the second straight game that 20-year-old goaltending phenom Carter Hart gave up three goals on nine shots and got pulled, although against Montreal he was victimized by a series of turnovers by his teammates.
"You look at these past two games, and you put it behind you and learn from it," said Hart, who has been instrumental in the Flyers' push to get back into the playoff conversation.
Philadelphia was 12-1-1 in its 14 games before its current two-game losing streak, with the only regulation loss in that stretch coming 4-1 against the Penguins Feb. 11.
Instead of starting Hart in the nationally televised game, Brian Elliott was tabbed to start by Gordon, who revealed the somewhat surprising news after the team's Friday practice, saying "if this game was at any other time, we would have gone back to who the other goalie was."
Philadelphia will be without veteran defenseman Radko Gudas, who on Saturday will be serving the second game of a two-game NHL suspension.
This will be the teams' second outdoor meeting. The Penguins beat the Flyers 4-2 in 2017 at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field, home of the NFL's Steelers.
--Field Level Media