The Flyers haven't played the Penguins since a 7-1 drubbing on Oct. 29 — a game that happened so long ago, and was so ugly, that you'll be forgiven if you forgot about it entirely.
It was also 11 days before Penguins captain Sidney Crosby left a game and didn't return. He's been out since Nov. 9 with a sports hernia injury, a 25-game span in which the Flyers have both caught fire and cooled off ... without playing the Penguins once.
Now, it seems the Flyers might have missed Crosby's lengthy injury entirely. Crosby is reportedly traveling with the Penguins during Pittsburgh's upcoming three-game road trip, and while his status for three West Coast games is unclear, it seems his return is impending.
At the time of his injury, the Penguins said Crosby's minimum recovery time would be six weeks. When Crosby and the Penguins visit the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 21, the 32-year-old will be more than 10 weeks out from surgery. Oh, and the two teams meet again Jan. 31.
The timing for the Flyers, facing one of the league's best players twice in an 11-day span after he spent months on the mend, could not be crueler.
As Flyers fans are well aware, Crosby has scored more points against the Flyers during his 15-year career (102) than any other team outside of the Islanders. The last time they faced each other, back in October, Crosby notched a goal and two assists in the blowout win. And the Penguins haven't exactly been slouches in Crosby's stead, racking up 34 points during his 25-game absence.
The Flyers, meanwhile, are tied for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot heading into Tuesday's matchup with the Hurricanes. And now they might have to stay afloat in the postseason race with three games against Crosby incoming.
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