Image courtesy of Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images
The Philadelphia Flyers provided their second win of the weekend against the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they beat their division rivals 4-3 this afternoon on the other side of the state. Wayne Simmonds had two goals and Claude Giroux had a pair of assists, while Steve Mason stopped 20 shots in the win.
Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, and Jayson Megna scored for the Pens in the loss, while Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby were held scoreless for a second straight game.
It wasn't a dominant performance similar to yesterday's decision over the Penguins, but the Flyers did provide another 60-minute performance. After coming out firing early, the Orange and Black also ended with a strong 10 minutes of defensive hockey. Philly did receive a scare in the dying seconds of the contest, as the Penguins threw the kitchen sink at Mason and company, but just missed tying the game.
Marc-Andre Fleury may have been pulled in the loss, but it wasn't due to his play. He made several unbelievable saves, but his defense didn't provide much help. Fleury made a handful of sprawling athletic saves, but rebounds after those saves and traffic in front led to the Flyers' first three goals.
On top of the early surge, the Flyers' penalty kill continued their dominance of the Penguins over the weekend. After the Orange and Black killed off all five of the Penguins' power plays yesterday, Philly prevented Pittsburgh from scoring on any of their four man advantage chances. Not only did they keep the Pens from scoring on the power play, they once again scored a shorthanded tally, as Matt Read had another goal down a man.
The game started with an all-out attack from the Flyers, as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead just 13:41 into the game.
The scoring opened with Brayden Schenn putting home a rebound 2:06 into the tilt. After Vincent Lecavalier skated into the zone and waited for Olli Maatta to drop to the ice to take away the passing lane, the former Tampa Bay bolt threw a pass from along the goal line to Fleury's left and found Simmonds in the slot. Fleury made a ridiculous glove save on Simmonds' attempt, but due to the netminder sliding out of the crease and Maatta sliding past the net, Schenn was able to beat a hopeless Robert Bortuzzo in the crease for his 17th of the season.
Less than five minutes later, Simmonds deflected a Kimmo Timonen shot from the point to make it a 2-0 advantage 6:47 into the contest. It was a strong power play from the Flyers that saw Fleury make several crucial saves, but Simmonds eventually beat Fleury in the last seconds of the man advantage.
Simmonds scored his second of the game minutes later to make it a 3-0 lead. Giroux fed Simmonds at the side of the net, which allowed the power forward to spin clockwise before he provided a shot that resulted in a rebound that he recovered and put past Fleury for his 20th goal of the season.
Fleury was then replaced by Jeff Zatkoff, as the Pens' starter denied 12 of 15 shots.
The goalie change ended the Flyers' dominance, as Orpik eventually cut the lead 3-1 late in the first period. The blue liner's shot from the point made it's way through traffic and beat Steve Mason's glove for his second of the year with 2:27 left in the opening frame.
Niskanen provided a similar goal early in the middle stanza, as Mason failed to see the d-man's blast from the point 5:50 into the second period. Niskanen's 10th of the season made it 3-2 in favor of the Flyers, as Pittsburgh continued to look for the equalizer.
Matt Read was the next player to score, however, as he potted his second shorthanded goal in as many days. With Steve Downie in the box, Read led a 2-on-1 with Sean Couturier against Olli Maatta after Deryk Engelland fell over with the puck in the Flyers' defensive zone. As Read glided through the circle to Zatkoff's right, the forward released a snipe that beat the goaltender's glove for his 19th of the season 12:11 into the middle period.
The two-goal lead wouldn't last for the Flyers, as Megna scored his fifth tally of the season with under four minutes to play in the second period. As Brian Gibbons led a 2-on-1 with Megna, the forward timed up a perfect pass to leave Mason with little chance to stop the cross-ice bid.
NOTES: Today was Giroux's 400th NHL game. He had two assists and was minus-1 in 19:50 TOI...Today was also Andrew MacDonald's 300th NHL game. He was minus-1 with a shot on goal in 20:52 TOI...The Flyers have killed off 15 straight penalties and haven't allowed a power-play goal against for the last four games...The Flyers scored two power-play goals or more in a single game for the eighth time this season...The Flyers have won three of their last four games in Pittsburgh...The Flyers improved to 3-1-0 against the Penguins this year. They improved to 14-9-3 against the Metropolitan Division and to 23-16-5 against the Eastern Conference...Philly improved to 35-25-7 this season. They were 39-21-7 after 67 games in 2011-2012.