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game recap

Flyers top Penguins, gain ground in wild-card race

Philadelphia six points behind Bruins for second spot in East; Pittsburgh fails to climb in Metropolitan

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Philadelphia Flyers climbed closer to the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-2 at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday. 

Philadelphia (35-32-8) is six points behind the Boston Bruins. The Flyers and Bruins each have seven games remaining. 

"You look at it one game at a time," Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. "We win. It takes care of everything else. We just control what we can control right now. That's winning games."

 

WATCH: All Flyers vs. Penguins highlights

 

Pittsburgh (46-18-11) remained tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have one game in hand, for second place in the Metropolitan Division. They're each three points behind the Washington Capitals.

The Penguins lost in regulation at home for the fifth time in 38 games this season (29-5-4). They lost each of their three games in the past four days (0-1-2).

"The reality is every team in the League is playing the same schedule," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "It's not just us."

Steve Mason made 25 saves for the Flyers. Jordan Weal, Valtteri Filppula Dale Weise and Jakub Voracek scored four straight goals after Matt Cullen gave Pittsburgh an early lead with a power-play goal at 4:31 of the first period.

Weal tied it 1-1 with 54.4 seconds remaining. Weal turned away from Oskar Sundqvist in the neutral zone, darted to the left circle and shot over Ian Cole's stick blade and under Matt Murray's glove.

Video: PHI@PIT: Weal fires a nice wrist shot past Murray

"I'm just trying to go out every night and give it my best shot," Weal said. "My game is to create opportunities offensively and spend as little time [in the defensive zone] as possible. I try to do that every night. Consistency is key."

Filppula gave Philadelphia a 2-1 lead with his ninth goal of the season at 12:49 of the second period. The goal was upheld after Pittsburgh challenged for goaltender interference.

Weise made it 3-1 at 1:11 of the third period and Voracek made it 4-1 at 8:41 before Patric Hornqvist cut it to 4-2 at 13:36.

Radko Gudas extended the lead to 5-2 with an empty-net goal at 17:31, and Gostisbehere made it 6-2 at 18:58.

Murray made 27 saves. He has allowed at least four goals in four of his past seven starts.

"They had the momentum pretty much the entire game," Murray said. "For a lot of the time they were really swarming in our end zone. … Just one of those games that we didn't get the bounces and things didn't go our way."

Penguins forward Conor Sheary left after playing 3:56 in the first period. Forward Tom Kuhnhackl took his place at left wing alongside center Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust for the remainder of the first before Chris Kunitz took over to start the second period.

Sullivan said Sheary is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

 

Goal of the game

Filppula battled Cole near the Penguins crease before Weal spun and shot off the inside of Nick Bonino's right skate. With Murray scrambling in his crease, Filppula shot under him.

Video: PHI@PIT: Filppula slides puck home from doorstep

 

Save of the game

Before Cullen made it 1-0, Mason kept Sheary from scoring the opening goal earlier in the first period. Phil Kessel redirected a pass through the Philadelphia crease to Bonino, who tipped it wide of the left post before Sheary took a point-blank shot that Mason absorbed and froze at 3:41.

 

Highlight of the game

Cullen passed to Hornqvist at the top of the right circle, where Hornqvist attempted a shot but was shoved from behind. Cullen recovered the puck and shot through Mason, with it settling in the crease before the 40-year-old forward charged to tap it in for his 12th goal of the season and second in two games.

Video: PHI@PIT: Cullen follows his shot, finishes PPG in 1st

 

Unsung performance of the game

Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald had a quietly effective game Sunday. He led the Flyers with four blocks and added five hits in 20:36.

 

They said it

"Every time you play Pittsburgh there's a little extra something in the building that night. I think it showed. We were playing confident out there. We were making plays. It was cool to see and fun to be a part of." -- Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere

Video: PHI@PIT: Gostisbehere cranks home a sweet one-timer

 

"Guys are in a pretty good rhythm here the last week. … Guys were focused, yet relaxed." -- Flyers coach Dave Hakstol

 

"It's like any other position. Performance is always the dictator." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on the goalie rotation between Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury

 

Need to know

Flyers forward Nick Cousins missed a sixth consecutive game with an upper-body injury. … Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin also missed a sixth consecutive game with an upper-body injury sustained against the Calgary Flames on March 13. He did not skate before Pittsburgh's morning skate Sunday, which Sullivan said was part of the rehab process.

 

What's next

Flyers: Host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TCN-PH, RDS2, TSN5, NHL.TV)

Penguins: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Flyers score four in 3rd, cruise past Pens, 6-2

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