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game recap

Rookie goalie Murray helps Penguins defeat Flyers

Makes 28 saves in second of back-to-back starts; Pittsburgh wins sixth straight

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- In two games without Marc-Andre Fleury, rookie goalie Matthew Murray has helped the Pittsburgh Penguins continue to win and build confidence.

Murray made 28 saves in the Penguins' 6-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers at Consol Energy Center on Sunday.

A day earlier, Murray, 21, made 24 saves in his first career shutout, a 5-0 win against the New York Islanders, hours after the Penguins announced Fleury would miss an undetermined amount of time with a concussion.

"I think it's just a little bit more physical in this league," said Murray, who has won his past five starts and is 7-2-1 in his NHL career. "There's a lot more traffic and a lot of times, you can have a little bit of contact in front of the net, or whatever it may be, so in that regard, I think physically, it can be a little bit more tiring in this league. I thought I handled it fairly well … I was pretty happy with how I played."

The Penguins (46-25-8, 100 points) are second in the Metropolitan Division, five points ahead of the New York Rangers, after winning 12 of their past 13 games. They are on their second six-game winning streak in the past month.

Video: PHI@PIT: Crosby nets PPG off rebound attempt in front

The Flyers (39-26-13, 91 points) are one point ahead of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They have played one fewer game than the Bruins.

Philadelphia's next game is Wednesday at the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit (91 points) is third in the Atlantic Division, one point ahead of Boston, but is also battling Philadelphia in the wild-card race.

"Every game's important," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "Obviously, that's a key one with where we sit in the standings, but every game has been critical for us over the last, really over the last two months. Do they get bigger as we get to the final week? You could say that, but yeah, obviously, each game that we have left is critical."

Video: PHI@PIT: Hagelin lays out to tip puck past Mason

The Penguins outshot the Flyers 16-6 in the first period and built a 2-0 lead.

With Philadelphia forward Wayne Simmonds in the penalty box for hooking, Sidney Crosby opened the scoring by backhanding a rebound past goalie Steve Mason. Phil Kessel sent a shot into the crease before Nick Schultz's stick broke, keeping him from clearing the puck and giving Crosby the opportunity to score his 33rd goal with 4:22 remaining in the period.

"I thought we had a great start," said Crosby, who has at least one point in 18 of the past 19 games. "We generated a lot of chances, scored first, and I thought throughout the game we just played the right way."

Video: PHI@PIT: Bennett pads the Penguins' lead in the 1st

Pittsburgh forward Beau Bennett made it 2-0 1:05 later. Forward Conor Sheary battled Nick Cousins and Mark Streit into the Philadelphia zone before sending a cross-ice pass that set up Bennett for a one-timer from one knee into an open left side of the net.

Bennett's goal was his first since he scored twice against the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 9.

Patric Hornqvist scored to make it 3-0 10:34 into the second period after stripping Simmonds of the puck. Hornqvist shot off of Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, collected the puck and then beat Mason for his 21st goal.

Simmonds shot between defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Brian Dumoulin with 41.2 seconds remaining in the second to cut Pittsburgh's lead to 3-1.

Video: PHI@PIT: Hornqvist wires a shot past Mason's shoulder

Carl Hagelin pushed Pittsburgh's lead back to three goals by diving at Nick Bonino's redirect off of a Kris Letang shot to deflect it past Mason 4:14 into the third period.

Flyers forward Jakub Voracek made it 4-2 with his 11th goal 8:04 into the third before Penguins forward Eric Fehr answered at 9:43. Fehr scored a shorthanded goal into an empty net to make it 6-2 with 1:39 remaining.

Voracek said he felt Philadelphia's effort improved from its 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh on March 19, but he didn't find any comfort in that.

"I think we played a little bit better than we did at home, but it wasn't enough," Voracek said. "Doesn't matter if you play better or not. We lost the game with two points on the line."

Video: PHI@PIT: Voracek redirects the puck past Murray

MacDonald left immediately following Fehr's first goal after being hit into the boards.

Mason made 33 saves in his ninth straight start.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said recent wins against division rivals the Flyers, Islanders, Washington Capitals and New York Rangers should bolster his team's confidence heading into the postseason.

"I think it should give our guys plenty of evidence that regardless of who our opponent becomes, that we can win," Sullivan said. "I think that when our team plays the game the right way, and we've used that phrase a lot and we've tried to define that with our guys, I think we're as good as any team in the League."

Video: Penguins increase winning streak to six in 6-2 win

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