A tilt on Broad Street is supposed to be a slobber knocker. The Philadelphia Flyers (13-15-6) are supposed to be the aggressors. Instead, the Pittsburgh Penguins (20-8-5) dominated play, and Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry did the aggressive stick swinging in the first period. Bryan Rust scored multiple goals for the third straight game, and the Penguins lineup, which is getting healthy, deconstructed the decimated Flyers lineup, 6-2 at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.
The Penguins won their 10th in a row, the longest streak in the NHL this season.
The Flyers had five players in COVID protocol. Travis Konecny (1/5), Travis Sanheim (1/5), Claude Giroux (1/4, Ivan Provorov (1/4), Jackson Cates (1/3), and Nick Seeler (1/3). Injuries also hamper the Philadelphia roster. Sean Couturier, Ryan Ellis, Derick Brassard, and Nate Thompson are out.
Opponents didn’t pity the Penguins without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jeff Carter, Jake Guentzel, and Bryan Rust, nor did the Penguins pity the Flyers.
Most of the above scored points (Jeff Carter and Evgeni Malkin are still out of the lineup).
Bryan Rust (8, 9) continued to fill the net. Midway through the first period, Rust scored a power-play goal. After Jake Guentzel and Evan Rodrigues kept the play alive, defenseman Kris Letang froze goalie Carter Hart by signaling a shot from the high slot. However, Letang instead snapped a pass to Rust along the goal line for a one-timer.
Just over two minutes later, Rust struck again. During a line change, Rust streaked from the bench to the slot. Rodrigues was battling for a puck in the slot, but Rust snatched the loose puck at full speed and zipped it through Hart’s five-hole.
Like Rust, Guentzel also had two goals (17, 18).
The Penguins completed the three-goal first period in the final minutes. Letang circled the net and snapped a pass across the crease to Guentzel, who had three pokes. Hart made the first save, Guentzel hit the post on the second, and Hart almost gloved the third. However, reviews showed the puck crossed the line in Hart’s mitt.
Midway through the third period, Guentzel slipped behind the Flyers’ defense for a breakaway goal and his second of the game.
Rodrigues also continued his breakout season with pretty plays and lit lamps. Rodrigues broke for the offensive zone, and linemate Kasperi Kapanen chipped the puck ahead for Rodrigues (15), who made a twisting backhand deke before sweeping to the forehand.
The Flyers pushed hard late in the second period. The Penguins were sloppy, and defenseman John Marino missed a puck at center ice, which resulted in a two-on-one. Cam Atkinson blasted a slap shot past Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry.
Pittsburgh Penguins fourth-line center, who welcomed his third child last weekend, Brian Boyle, scored a shorty midway through the third period, too. Boyle powered a slapshot past Hart from the LW circle.
Oscar Lindblom (4) ended the scoring by beating Jarry with a slapper from the circle with seven minutes remaining.
Trista Jarry made a few tough saves but continued his dominance over opponents. Jarry stopped 18 of 20 shots. Jarry’s workout partner Hart was pretty good until the middle of the third period. Hart stopped 26 of 32.
Kris Letang had three assists. Crosby had two.
The Penguins scored 19 goals in their last three games.