The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers renewed their rivalry on Thursday night in Philadelphia with the Penguins coming out on top, 4-1. The first meeting in the 2013-2014 edition of the battle of Pennsylvania did not feature the usual craziness that previous matchups have, but it was still a heated contest.
The Penguins and Flyers entered Thursday’s game as complete opposites of one another. The Penguins had won five of their first six games including being unbeaten at home, and the Flyers only had one victory and fired head coach, Peter Laviolette, three games into the season. The first period ended with both teams failing to put the puck in the net. The Penguins led in shots, 12-8, but Philadelphia was able to kill off three Pittsburgh power plays.
The second period began with both teams still feeling each other out, but at 7:26 things started to heat up as Robert Bortuzzo ran over Zac Rinaldo. Since fighting after a clean hit being delivered has become a thing in the NHL, Kris Newbury came to Rinaldo’s aid, dropping the gloves with Bortuzzo. The Penguins took over the period from that point on. About two minutes after the fight, Jussi Jokinen continued his hot streak, scoring the first goal of the game after a joint setup by Chuck Kobsew and Evgeni Malkin to steal the puck from Kimmo Timonen. Shortly after Jokinen gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead, the top line of Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, and Chris Kunitz came together to give Pittsburgh the 2-0 lead, with Kunitz getting the goal after the Flyers were unable to get the puck out of their zone. After the Kunitz goal, the Flyers looked completely dejected and out of it. With the Flyers looking like they were ready to throw in the towel, they got a spark when they were awarded a power play when Marc-Andre Fleury interfered with Max Talbot behind the Penguin net. On the ensuing power play, Wayne Simmonds brought the Flyers within one of the Penguins with only two seconds remaining in the period. That kind of goal with so little time remaining gave Philadelphia some life going into the second break.
The third period was sort of a like watching paint dry until the seventeen and a half minute mark when Philly’s favorite sports figure put them out of their misery with a tip-in goal off a Pascal Dupuis shot from between the circles. Evgeni Malkin sealed the game for Pittsburgh with an empty-net goal at 19:47 to give them the 4-1 victory.
The Penguins head back to Pittsburgh in control of the Metropolitan division, and have a meeting with the Vancouver Canucks Saturday afternoon (1:00 pm/et; Root Sports, NHLN-US).
-Harry Zolnierczyk had a strong game against his former team. He was getting in their heads and was very physical.
-Dan Bylsma chose to dress even defensemen with Deryk Engelland playing on the fourth line with Joe Vitale and Zolnierczyk.
-Flyers are a mess and Claude Giroux still hasn’t scored a goal eight games into the season.
-Sidney Crosby is on a seven-game point streak.
1. G Marc-Andre Fleury (24 saves, .960 save %)
2. G Steve Mason (31 saves, .912 save %)
3. LW Jussi Jokinen (1G)