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Penguins lose to Flyers despite Crosby's 300th goal

by Wes Crosby /

PITTSBURGH -- Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube wishes they could play more games here, and with good reason.

Brayden Schenn scored twice to help the Flyers to a 4-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. Philadelphia is 13-2-1, including 11-1-1 in the regular season, at Consol Energy Center since it opened in 2010-11.

"We get excited and we play well against the Penguins," Berube said. "It's one of those teams that bring out the best in us and we feel pretty comfortable in this building, that's for sure."

Pittsburgh (42-24-11) is tied with the New York Islanders for second in the Metropolitan Division and is seven points ahead of the Ottawa Senators, who trail the Boston Bruins by three points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Penguins have one game in hand on the Senators.

Sidney Crosby’s 300th NHL goal opened the scoring.

After winning a faceoff back to defenseman Ian Cole at the point, Crosby positioned himself below the goal line as Cole sent a slap shot into traffic in front of Steve Mason. Forward Patric Hornqvist gathered Cole's attempt and backhanded a pass to Crosby to the right of the net.

Crosby's wrist shot gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead 3:29 into the first period. It was his 26th goal. He has scored 31 of his 300 goals against Philadelphia, his most against any team.

"It's nice to get the number," Crosby said. "Obviously, it's much nicer when you win. So [winning] is kind of more my focus than the number."

The Flyers (31-29-17) have won their three games against the Penguins this season after winning four of five last season.

Philadelphia had 13 of the first period's final 17 shots, and Vincent Lecavalier took advantage by tying the game with his eighth goal of the season.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare whipped a shot off of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's pad that bounced to Lecavalier crossing in front of the crease with Penguins forward Nick Spaling. Lecavalier turned toward the net and as he drifted away from it sent a wrist shot past an outstretched Fleury with 2:46 remaining in the first.

Schenn scored on a wrist shot from the slot with 7:17 left in the second to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.

With Penguins forward Steve Downie in the penalty box, Jakub Voracek sent a pass past goalie Fleury's right pad and to Schenn outside of the crease. He redirected Voracek's pass behind Fleury 49 seconds into the third period for a 3-1 lead.

Pittsburgh went to the penalty box five times, and Philadelphia went to the penalty kill twice.

"They’re not an easy [team] to play, first of all," Schenn said. "They have great fans and they’re a great team. For whatever reason, we come in here and seem to do pretty well. It was a solid team effort. … Maybe these teams don't like each other very much. Yeah, some games get a little more rough than others. We [play] them again Sunday and I'm sure they're not going to be happy about this one.

"We expect to get [a rougher matchup] then."

Flyers defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, who returned after missing one game with the flu, extended the lead to 4-1, 5:34 into the third. Colaicacovo didn't see his first goal of the season go in after taking a stick to the face.

"Whatever it takes," Colaiacovo said. "Our focus tonight was to be smart and stay out of the box. They have a pretty lethal power play they can throw out there. It is a rivalry, but play between the whistles. Whatever happens, happens. For the most part, we had great energy tonight. We did a lot of good things.

"At the end of the day, we fought hard to get the win."

The Penguins played without forward Evgeni Malkin, who was out with an undisclosed injury. Malkin returned Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes after missing six games because of a lower-body injury; he had two assists in a 3-2 victory and played Sunday against the San Jose Sharks.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said an injury was found when Malkin was being evaluated during a maintenance day Tuesday. Malkin is day-to-day.

Without Malkin and down to five defensemen, Johnston said he was impressed with how Pittsburgh's defense performed. He could not say the same about its forwards.

"I thought our defense did a good job," Johnston said. "Maybe at the halfway point of the game, their gap was a little loose at times. But I thought it was our forwards. Our forwards had to carry more pressure. They had to sustain more pressure. They didn't get enough pressure in the zone. And then the key goal was the power-play goal to start the third period there."

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