You never know what to expect when the Penguins and Flyers do battle, and with the two teams meeting for the third time in the first 23 days of the season, tempers flared quickly.
Not only did the first period feature a combined 34 penalty minutes between the two teams, but a pair of fights broke out within the first 23 seconds of the contest.
Once things quieted down, it was the Penguins who controlled the better of the play, jumping out to a 1-0 lead on a beautiful tic-tac-toe play that resulted in a Kris Letang tally.
However, once the Flyers got a shorthanded tally from Claude Giroux 5:20 into the second period, it was Philadelphia which dictated the pace of the game over the final 40 minutes.
The Flyers used a stifling forecheck to keep the Penguins hemmed in their own zone throughout much of the final two periods, and then held on late to record their second 3-2 victory at CONSOL Energy Center this month.
The Flyers also received quality netminding between the pipes from rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped 26 of 28 shots, including a great sliding save on an Alex Goligoski one-timer early in the third period when the Penguins trailed by just one.
Kris Letang continues to play great hockey at both ends of the rink for the Penguins. The 23-year-old blueliner scored the game’s opening goal in the first period and added an assist on Tyler Kennedy’s third-period tally to record his third multiple-point effort in the last six games.
Thanks to his two-point night, Letang now finds himself at the top of the charts among defensive scoring leaders in the National Hockey League. He is tied for first in goals (3), points (11) and rating (plus-8).
In addition to his two points, Letang led all skaters by playing 26:09 minutes, recorded two shots and blocked one shot.
Pittsburgh was totally controlling the game when Danny Briere went to the penalty box for tripping 4:16 into the second period. However, instead of the Penguins building upon the 1-0 lead they possessed, it was Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux earning himself a mini-breakaway, where he beat Marc-Andre Fleury on a backhander for his NHL-leading third shorthanded marker of the season.
(AP) - Claude Giroux scored short-handed and on a power play and rookie Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves to win in Pittsburgh for the second time in three weeks, leading the Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Penguins on Friday night.
• It was quite a start to this hockey game. By the time the contest was 23 seconds old, there were a pair of fights. Matt Cooke and Mike Richards squared off just six seconds after the opening faceoff, while Deryk Engelland answered the challenge from Flyers heavyweight Jody Shelly. Engelland, who is developing into a fan favorite, knocked the larger Shelley to the ice with a pair of thunderous blows.
• The Penguins scored one of their prettiest goals of the season when Kris Letang opened the scoring at 8:12 of the first period. Flying through the neutral zone, Letang skated to the Flyers blue line where he dished a pass to Mike Comrie on the near side. Comrie then passed the puck to a streaking Evgeni Malkin in the left circle. Four Flyers went at Malkin, allowing him to float a pass to a wide-open Letang at the top of the crease for the tap-in goal.
• Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury might not have had a lot of rubber thrown his way by the Flyers, but he did make a lot of key stops to give the Penguins a chance to mount a comeback. Fleury’s best sequence came midway through the second period when he made a pad save on Darroll Powe and followed that up about 30 seconds later by flashing his glove to deny a wrist shot by Mike Richards.
• Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin missed the end of the third period with an undisclosed injury. Head coach Dan Bylsma said following the game that he didn’t have an update on Malkin’s condition.