The Pittsburgh Penguins (31-14-5) played their 11th in 20 days and a nine-day break awaits the Penguins. For most Tuesday night, the Penguins looked like a tired team ready for a vacation. The Philadelphia Flyers remained patient and took advantage of the Penguins mistakes. Eventually, the Penguins collapsed.
Philadelphia shutout the Penguins 3-0 at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night.
The Penguins had an emotional comeback win on Sunday over the Boston Bruins. That magic and energy weren’t packed for the trip to Philadelphia. The Penguins rallied in the third period but couldn’t cross the 20-shot barrier. The Penguins didn’t have a shot on goal for the last 10 minutes of the game.
“We’re not going to make excuses. We’ve got a long break here, so we need to be better,” Sidney Crosby said. “There’s not much to say. We’re not going to make excuses. We haven’t made excuses all year, we’re not going to start now.”
Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry stopped 27 of 29 shots. He will represent the Metro Division team in the NHL All-Star Game this weekend in St. Louis.
The Penguins narrowly dodged another injury in the first period. Philadelphia forward Jakub Voracek kneed Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel. Voracek only received a minor penalty for tripping.
The Penguins were generous and more so in the second period. Several minutes into the second period, after another Penguins turnover in the neutral zone, Philadelphia transitioned against the soft Penguins coverage. Voracek (10) slipped behind several Penguins defenders and deked Jarry for the first goal of the slog.
Late in the second period, the Penguins again gave Philadelphia the puck and again failed to defend. After Penguins rookie defenseman John Marino was backchecked, James Van Riemsdyk (14) poked a pass through Jarry’s pads from a few feet away.
“We’ve played a lot of games this year and it’s been a pretty tough schedule as of late, so it will be good for the team (to take) a couple of days and recharge,” Jarry said in defense of his teammates.
The Penguins had just 13 shots on goal in the first 40 minutes of hockey as they were ensnared by the Philadelphia neutral zone trap. The system was installed by coach Alain Vigneault, who was a longtime Penguins tormentor as the coach of the New York Rangers.
The Penguins gained some traction midway through the third period but never lit the lamp. Philadelphia goalie Brian Elliott, who was burned for seven goals when the teams first met in October, stopped all 19 shots.
Head coach Mike Sullivan did try everything. In a rare move, he combined Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the same line.
Philadelphia defenseman Justin Braun (3) scored the empty netter.
The Penguins will begin a nine-day break and host Philadelphia on Jan. 31.