CRANBERRY — So many chapters. So much emotion.
The cross-state archrival Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers will resume their, uh, merriment Sunday afternoon in a national NBC game at PPG Paints Arena.
This one has some extra salt.
For one thing, the Flyers (38-25-12) can pull even with the Penguins (42-27-6) in points with a regulation win as both try to maneuver in the tight-as-new-jeans Metropolitan Division. Each team has six games remaining after Sunday.
“This part of the season, we’re all preparing ourselves for putting us in the best spot possible,” Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist said after practice Saturday. “Philly’s in our way. And we’re in their way, too. So it’s going to be a good game.
“And it doesn’t hurt when we’re playing the Flyers. It always brings good memories and good battles.”
In addition, the Penguins will be going for a sweep of the four-game season series, although Philadelphia did get a point from an overtime loss in the clubs’ first meeting Nov. 27. In the two more recent meetings, the Penguins won by a collective 10-3.
The only time the Penguins have swept their bitter rival in a season series was 2006-07, when teams played a lot more intradivisional games and the Penguins went 8-0 against the Flyers.
While things haven’t been quite as lopsided since then, the teams have not played such a meaningful game this late in the season in several years.
“It’s just similar to what it has been here for the last little bit – just higher intensity, and all those details are magnified in big games like this,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “From here on in, every point is important, especially against a team that’s been part of a rivalry for a long time.”