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Aftermath: Flyers 6, Penguins 3

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
  
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QUICK ANALYSIS
 
The Penguins special teams couldn’t match the Flyers’ production and Pittsburgh fell to third in the Atlantic Division standings with a 6-3 loss. The Penguins, feeling the effects of playing four games in less than six days, were lethargic in the first period.

Pittsburgh didn’t match the Flyers intensity in the opening period and an abnormal number of power-play chances for both teams meant that Pittsburgh couldn’t get any five-on-five rhythm. The first period was a special teams battle that Philadelphia won with two power-play goals.

The Penguins fought back in the second period and made it a 2-1 game. However, Philadelphia scored three goals within a 6:55 span of the second period and cruised to a victory.
 
WHAT HAPPENED
 
(AP) -Mike Knuble scored twice and the Philadelphia Flyers won their fourth straight game with a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Joffrey Lupul, Mike Richards, Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter also scored goals, and Kimmo Timonen added a career-high four assists, as the Flyers extended their unbeaten streak at home in regulation to nine games (7-0-2).

Jordan Staal, Eric Godard and Ruslan Fedotenko scored for the Penguins, who have lost four of their last five.

Philadelphia goaltender Martin Biron stopped 23 shots to improve his record to 11-6-4 as Philadelphia moved into second place in the Atlantic Division.
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT

Matt Cooke introduced Kimmo Timonen to the boards (photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
 
What Worked: Final Period
With the Flyers leading 5-1 entering the third period, the Penguins concentrated on winning that final frame and creating something positive to take away from the game. Pittsburgh outscored the Flyers, 2-1, and was even in shots, 8-8, in that final period. The Penguins finished strong and can build on that effort.

What Didn't Work: Special Teams
The Penguins special teams performance cost them the game. Pittsburgh’s penalty killing, which was hot coming into the game, surrendered four power-play goals. Pittsburgh did notch a late man-advantage goal when the game had already been decided, but early in the game – when the Penguins really needed it – nothing was working. They had one power-play shot in the first two periods and the Flyers penalty killers had more scoring chances than Pittsburgh's power play. 
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
Philadelphia’s Kimmo Timonen recorded a career-high four assists in the matchup. The Finnish product had helpers on the Flyers' first two and last two goals of the game. He also defended Sidney Crosby and held the Penguins captain off the scoresheet and a minus-1 rating.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
Max Talbot and Mike Zigomanis were scratched by the Penguins. Both players may be close to returning because following the game, Pittsburgh sent Jeff Taffe and James Connor back to the AHL.

The Penguins opened the first period a little lethargic, possibly the result of playing four games in less than six days. The Flyers started the game energized and took the body early to set the physical tone. The Penguins didn’t quite match the Flyers intensity early and were outscored 2-0 and outshot 13-6 in the first period. Contributing to the Penguisn woes was the lack of five-on-five play. Pittsburgh couldn’t get any even-strength flow because of the high number of power-play opportunities.

Scott Hartnell, who draws the ire of Penguins fans, was trying to get under the Penguins’ skin early. He roughed up Evgeni Malkin early and took a hard slashing penalty on Ruslan Fedotenko.

Philadelphia struck first with a power-play goal at 5:49 of the first period. Kimmo Timonen took a slap shot on net that went wide with Dany Sabourin atop his crease challenging the shot. As the shot caromed behind the net, Sabourin flopped to the ice. Joffrey Lupul picked up the puck and threw it into the net on a wrap around. Sabourin, while laying face down, couldn’t get his paddle down and defenseman Kris Letang also tried to protect the post with his skate but both were too late.

Pittsburgh’s power play struggled mightily against Philadelphia’s aggressive penalty killing style. The Penguins were never able to setup properly and the Flyers created a few scoring chances with their PK units. Philadelphia did a great job of pressuring the Penguins puck carriers and forced Pittsburgh to panic and make bad passes.

The Flyers took a 2-0 lead on Mike Knuble’s power-play score. Mike Richards blasted a shot on net from the slot. Sabourin made the save but kicked out the rebound. Knuble beat Letang to the puck and deposited it into the net.

The Ruslan Fedotenko-Jordan Staal-Tim Wallace tandem notched the Penguins’ first goal of the game. Wallace chipped the puck out of the Penguins zone with four Flyers trapped. Fedotenko took the puck into the Philadelphia zone with Matt Carle dropping back. Staal came barreling down center ice with Glen Metropolit on him. Alex Goligoski jumped into the play late to create a three-on-two chance. Fedotenko sent a crossing pass to Goligoski at the near point. Metropolit jumped on the Penguins rookie defenseman, leaving Staal uncovered in the slot. Goligoski sent the puck to Staal, who re-directed the puck into the net for his 10th goal of the season.

The Flyers answered with another score to regain that two-goal advantage. Pascal Dupuis’ lead pass to Sidney Crosby was intercepted by Carle. Dupuis rubbed Carle out of the play but not before he sent the puck to Richards. He skated into the zone on a two-on-one and took the shot himself above the circles. Brooks Orpik came late and nailed Richards after he got off the shot, but the Flyers captain buried to puck for his12th goal of the season.

Philadelphia continued to assert its will with another goal. Hartnell, public enemy No. 1, notched his 10th goal of the year. There was a blown assignment on the play as no one picked up Hartnell in front of the net. Jeff Carter had the puck behind the net with Orpik on him. He sent a puck to Carle at the low circle. Mark Eaton remained in front of the net and placed his stick along the ice to try to take away any centering pass. Hartnell, who had a hat trick in the previous game, creaped into the slot wide open. Carle got the pass through Eaton’s stick and Hartnell nailed the one-timer.

The Flyers power play continued to dominate the Penguins penalty killers, adding a third goal on the man-advantage. Timonen was down low when Malkin jumped on him. Timonen sent the puck to Richards at the point. Malkin didn’t get out on him right away and Richards had room to setup up a shot-pass to Knuble in the slot. Knuble re-directed the puck into the net for his second power-play goal of the game.

Eric Godard got his first goal as a Penguin on a similar play as the Penguins’ first goal. Malkin skated the puck from his own zone and gained the Flyers blue line. He dished to Petr Sykora. Godard split the two defenseman and Sykora sent him a centering pass. Godard got his stick on the puck and re-directed it into the goal.

Godard was in a familiar setting when he dropped the gloves with Hartnell. Godard tried to get in a good shot but Hartnell fell to the ice before any heavy punches could be thrown. Godard was only one assist shy of the Gordie Howe hat trick.

Carter continued the onslaught by converting his 21st goal of the season and the Flyers’ sixth goal of the game. It was also Philadelphia’s fourth power-play goal of the game. Carter was setup to the right of the Penguins goal. Lupul sent a shot-pass that sneaked through the heart of the Pittsburgh penalty killing unit and to right to Carter.

Fedotenko scored a late goal on the power play. Jeff Taffe sent the puck low to Sykora, who fed the puck to Fedotenko in the high slot. Fedotenko, a former Flyer, one-timed a blast into the top right corner.
 
GAME NOTES
 
> Pittsburgh dropped to 16-10-4 on the year, with a 8-6-2 mark on the road. Pittsburgh is 11-6-2 in its last 19 games but has dropped four of its last five games.

> Joffrey Lupul gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 5:49 of the first period. Mike Knuble upped the lead, 2-0, with his own power-play goal at 11:41. Jordan Staal made it a 2-1 game at 10:09 of the second period. Mike Richards made it a 3-1 score with his 12th goal of the season. Scott Hartnell’s 10th score of the year gave Philadelphia a 4-1 lead. The Flyers upped the advantaged, 5-1, on Knuble’s second power-play goal of the game. Eric Godard notched his first goal of the year at 11:06 of the third period. Jeff Carter added the Flyers’ fourth power-play goal at 15:50 to make it a 6-2 game. Ruslan Fedotenko netted a late power-play goal for Pittsburgh.

> Pittsburgh was outshot by the Flyers, 27-26. Pittsburgh has only been outshot six times in its past 19 games.

> Evgeni Malkin recorded an assist against the Flyers to increase his NHL lead with 49 points (12G-37A). Malkin’s 37 assists are also a league best. Malkin is on pace for a 100-assist season (101). Only three players in NHL history have recorded 100-assist seasons (Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzkey and Bobby Orr). Malkin has five goals and 13 assists for 18 points in his last 10 games.

> Sidney Crosby was held scoreless against the Flyers but still has six goals and 13 assists for 19 points in his last 10 games. Crosby climbed the rankings and is now second in the league in scoring with 44 points (13G-31A). His 31 assists are second most in the league, behind only teammate Malkin’s 37.

> The Penguins have the top two scorers in the NHL in Malkin (12+37=49) and Crosby (13+31=44). The last time Pittsburgh had the top two scorers in the league was the 1995-96 season when Mario Lemieux (first) and Jaromir Jagr (second) topped the NHL. The team also had that distinction when Lemieux (first) and Kevin Stevens (second) did it in 1991-92.

> Staal nailed his 10th goal of the season. He has three points (G-2A) in the last two games. Staal has five points (2G-3A) in his last five games.

> Fedotenko had a power-play goal and an assist for a two-point game. He has four goals and three assists for seven points in his last six games.

> Godard notched his first goal as a Penguin and first of the season.
 
THREE STARS QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
   
1. Kimmo Timonen, PHI
2. Mike Richards, PHI
3. Mike Knuble, PHI
"We know that they have a good power play. You can’t give them
that many opportunities. They’re going to make you pay."
- Sidney Crosby
 

 


Author: Sam Kasan

Author: Sam Kasan

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