PHILADELPHIA — Sidney Crosby became the all-time goals scored leader against the Philadelphia Flyers when he scored his 52nd career goal against the usually orange-clad bullies in the first period. With Crosby and a dominant fourth line, the structured and patient Pittsburgh Penguins had little trouble handing the Flyers their ninth straight loss (0-6-3).
The Penguins won their fifth straight.
But cmon, Ryan Poheling, shoot the puck with a hat trick on your stick. Coach Mike Sullivan deployed his fourth line in the final minute while on a power play furthering Peohling’s attempt at a hat trick. Instead, Poehling tried to set up Teddy Blueger for an easy tap-in goal.
“I think for a line, we played direct, down the line. I think we recovered pucks well. And then once we got a little high, we spread them out well, and created plays off of that. So I think that’s what was clicking mostly,” Poehling said.
But cmon, man, shoot the puck!
Get Dave Molinari’s Penguins recap here.
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Credit the Penguins. They held form, held the puck, and Philadelphia was docile, except for a couple of fights. The Penguins out-chanced the Flyers 25-7 through two periods. They have nearly erased the entire seven-game winless streak and quickly reversed course from a sloppy, undisciplined teamed to a steady, poised group.
“I think it’s a process. We can see it coming even in the last few games there. When we didn’t get the result, we felt like we were playing the game the right way,” Sullivan said. “My experience sometimes is that’s usually what happens. You might deserve a better fate on those types of nights, and you don’t get it, but if you keep playing the game the right way, you get rewarded ultimately.”
Boos cascaded from the paying faithful at the Wells Fargo Center after the second period, though it was unclear if the fans were unhappy with a team showing so little pushback or that they could have been at the King of Prussia mall.
In traditional Philadelphia operations, the Flyers abandoned their chase on the scoreboard in the second period and opted for fighting. Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson stepped into the ring against NHL heavyweight Nic Deslauriers. The fight went about as one would expect, but Pettersson’s bravery was rewarded in the room.
Brock McGinn also scrapped with Nick Seeler. Instead of issuing an instigator penalty, officials mercifully saved Seeler the instigator by issuing roughing minors and an extra two to Seeler.