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Former Hextall Picks Sink Penguins, Flyers Bounce Snoozing Pens 4-1

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Pittsburgh Penguins game lose to Philadelphia Flyers 4-1

Philadelphia Flyers rookie Noah Cates had the best game of his short rookie season, and other Flyers newbies drafted by former Flyers GM, now Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ron Hextall, had a day. The Penguins looked like a disinterested team playing the second of back-to-back games and never led in the Flyers 4-1 win at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon.

Sidney Crosby (31) scored a goal on a rebound attempt in the final minutes

Cates, 23, turned pro last month after four seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He was the Flyers 2017 fifth-round pick. Cates had a pair of goals and one assist. He also drew the third period penalty, which spotted Philadelphia a rare power-play goal. Philadelphia’s other tally was by Morgan Frost, a Hextall pick (2017 first-round).

The Penguins await the result of the Washington Capitals hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night. The Penguins lead Washington by two points, but at the time of publishing Washington has two games in hand. The Penguins’ loss gives Washington control of their battle for third place and the effort to avoid playing the Eastern Conference top seed Florida Panthers in Round One of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Pittsburgh Penguins just didn’t have it on Sunday.

Later in the first period, Morgan Frost scored the first and only goal of the period. Penguins goalie Louis Domingue could not squeeze the initial shot, and the Flyers got a couple of rebound attempts. Mike Matheson and Evgeni Malkin let Frost (5) have the last poke.

The shots were high volume, and so were the scoring chances. Philadelphia outshot the Penguins 15-14, but the Penguins outchanced Philadelphia 10-9.

The Penguins weren’t great in the first period but had a few good chances. However, the Wells Fargo Center doctors may have called the coroner in the second period as the Penguins glided through the motions.

Not even an early period power play could fire their engine.

Midway through the period, the Penguins were spectators as rookie Noah Cates (4) scored his fourth goal in his 13th NHL game with a nifty deflection near the Penguins net.

Domingue didn’t have a chance as Jeff Carter, and Chris Ruhwedel failed to cover. Frost was also a Hextall pick (2017 first-round).

Evgeni Malkin led the Penguins with four shots after two periods, as the Penguins outshot Philadelphia 27-26 after the second period.

Midway through the third period, the Flyers’ league-worst power play scored. The Flyers’ power play isn’t just bad. It’s almost historically bad at just 12% this season. However, Cates (5) scored on a nearly identical deflection–stick chest high–to score the Flyers’ third goal.

Domingue was excellent. He stopped 36 of 39 before being pulled with over four minutes remaining. He stopped one more in a brief appearance after Crosby’s goal.

Travis Konecny scored the empty-net goal for a 4-1 lead with 2:34 left. In keeping with the theme, Konecny was the Hextall’s first-round pick in 2015.

Martin Jones has shut out the Penguins in three straight starts, dating back to a pair of games in San Jose. The Pittsburgh Penguins beat Jones and the Sharks in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, but Jones extracted more revenge on Sunday. He stopped the first 35 shots before Crosby stuffed a rebound into the cage after Domingue was pulled.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Pete Hoffman
Pete Hoffman
21 days ago

If Crosby scores its not a shutout for Jones!!!

Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
21 days ago

Looked like the Pens are shooting for Florida and Sullivans normal first round exit!

Chase Cranson
Chase Cranson
21 days ago

At least Jarry wound be the scape goat

DaGama
DaGama
21 days ago

Not to make a federal case of it but describing Domingue‘s play as “excellent” seems overly generous. He was flopping and out of position on numerous shots. Not surprising given it was his first game back after a broken foot and only his second NHL game in ages. I just wish his teammates would have broken a sweat in front of him.

RYAN
RYAN
21 days ago

That was even more putrid in person. They should have just dropped the team off as they flew over Pittsburgh international and had an empty plane land in Philly.

Rodrigues is a whole in the ice.

Frank
Frank
21 days ago

No point of going into a written attack on the “game” yesterday. But I am guessing that the word “snoozing or some variation of that has appeared as part of a column at least 10 times this season. Enough said.

Chase Cranson
Chase Cranson
21 days ago
Reply to  Frank

This time of year older players are tierd plus no physical defense makes them look weak they can’t just turn the switch on maybe they win one playoff game

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