Penguins look to rebound vs. visiting Flyers

PITTSBURGH -- Ever since the shootout was instituted over a decade ago in the 2005-06 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been one of NHL's best teams at gaining the extra point. They are the league's all-time leaders in shootout wins with 72.

This season has been another matter as the Penguins are only 3-5 in shootouts. Their last two contests -- a 2-1 road loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and a 4-3 home defeat to the New York Islanders on Friday -- have seen them fall in the shootout and fail to gain extra points at a time when they're duking it out with the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets for first place in the Metropolitan Division as well as the top overall record in the NHL.

"It's always frustrating to lose the shootout," said Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury, third on the NHL's all-time goaltending shootout wins list with 53. "That's the way things are now, they're not going to change anything. Just got to bear with it and get those extra points when we get to overtime and shootout."

Despite those setbacks against the Senators and Islanders, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was pleased with his team's play in those contests.

"We're not perfect by any stretch out there, but we're competing hard," Sullivan said. "We're battling right down to the wire and I thought we did that again (Friday). The last two nights for me have been really two hard-fought points. We would have liked to have gotten the second point, but it didn't turn out that way."

Having played overtime and beyond the two previous days and set to host the cross-state rival Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday at PPG Paints Arena, the Penguins did not practice Saturday.

"That's hard," said Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel. "A shootout in back-to-back nights and overtime, especially for our big players. They're getting a lot of ice. So that's difficult. We're going to manage our strength here in the next couple days and get ready for (Philadelphia)."

Having lost six of their past nine contests, the Flyers will take any sort of victory in order to keep their dim postseason hope alive. They suffered their latest loss, a 1-0 defeat on the road against the Blue Jackets on Saturday, despite a 36-21 advantage in shots.

"We put a lot of shots on the net," said Flyers right winger Jakub Voracek. "Nobody cares. We lost the game. That's the bottom line."

In their past 17 defeats, the Flyers have scored a mere 20 goals. Part of that can be attributed to a power play which has converted only three of its 43 past chances over the past 12 games. That equates to a conversion rate of 6.9 percent.

"We have to bear down," said Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds. "Sometimes you have to force the puck into the net."

Goaltender Steve Mason, who made 23 saves in a 4-0 shutout at home against the Penguins on March 15, is expected to start Sunday. Matt Murray is expected to start in net for Pittsburgh.

The Penguins recalled defenseman David Warsofsky from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and assigned defenseman Frank Corrado to their AHL affiliate.
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