Penguins vs. Flyers preview: Battle of Pa. resumes as 2013 NHL season begins

Bruce Bennett

The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins will begin the 2013 regular season on Saturday afternoon. The game will mark the eighth time that the two teams have met since the final game of last season.

The rivalry between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins is well documented.

With no love lost between the instate foes, this already heated match-up has gained even more animosity following a six-game playoff series last postseason, which resulted in the Flyers upsetting the heavily favored Penguins.

On Saturday afternoon, the two teams will jumpstart a condensed 48-game schedule against one another at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center.

Dating back to the final game of the 2011-12 regular season, Saturday's game will mark the eighth time that the Flyers and Penguins have met. For Pittsburgh, their last eight games have come against the orange and black.

Needless to say, they are probably getting sick of facing their Atlantic Division foe, as members of the team have expressed their frustration with how last season ended. Captain Sidney Crosby has stated that he doesn't have an explanation for what occurred in the goal-crazy series.

However, Crosby is capable of explaining how eager he is to be entering a season without any health issues. Having struggled with concussion related problems dating back to the 2011 Winter Classic, the 25-year-old superstar has stated that he is feeling well and is ready for this season.

On the other end of the spectrum, Philadelphia's superstar is hoping to follow up a breakout year with another strong performance.

Newly named team captain Claude Giroux will make his official debut as the leader of the Flyers on Saturday. While Giroux had already established himself as a rising star, he cemented himself as the team's leader with an impressive opening in Game 6 of last season's series when he administered a seismic hit on Crosby and then scored a goal seconds later to give the Flyers an early lead.

Philadelphia ultimately went on to win the game, which eliminated Pittsburgh from the postseason.

With Pittsburgh once again favored as a Stanley Cup favorite and Philadelphia pegged as a potential contender in the Eastern Conference, Saturday's game will be a chance for the two teams to make an early statement in what is expected to be an intense regular season.

The game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET and will be nationally televised in the United States on NBC.

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