0:00: And a great start to the homestand for the Penguins! They defeated the Flyers by a 4-1 count, taking the season series, 5-1. Chris Kunitz
, Pascal Dupuis
, Matt Cooke
and Ruslan Fedotenko tally for the Penguins, while Sidney Crosby
picks up three assists. The Penguins leapfrog the New Jersey Devils into the Atlantic Division lead. They are back in action tomorrow night when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at 5 p.m.
Last minute of play!
Pittsburgh kills off the Rupp penalty.
Rupp gives the Flyers a late power play after a cross-checking penalty.
That didn't take long to make them pay. Crosby centers the puck from the near corner to Fedotenko, and he throws a shot into the net from just outside crease. Penguins 4, Flyers 1.
Crosby draws a roughing penalty on Hartnell and the crowd goes crazy. The Penguins have to make him pay.
McKee took a couple good runs at Hartnell behind the Penguins net after he and Orpik's penalty expired. The fans love anytime a Penguin roughs Hartnell up.
Hartnell felt the need to hit into Fleury following a save, so Orpik came in and tackled him to the ice. The crowd showed Hartnell how they feel about him as he skated to the penalty box.
Both players received two minutes for roughing.
10:10: Sidney Crosby
almost scored his league-leading 46th goal of the season but the goal was waved off as referees said he made contact with the goalie prior to the puck entering the net. Crosby had his own rebound bounce off his shin pads and trickle over the line.
Dupuis was penalized before the last TV timeout for tripping. Philadelphia is currently 0-for-2 on the man-advantage.
Don Farr Moving and Storage Moves of the Game:
The Penguins take a two-goal lead. Fedotenko knocks Laperriere to the ice in front of the net to pick up a Crosby centering pass. Fedotenko sends a backhand pass to Matt Cooke
, who taps a shot into an open net. Penguins 3, Flyers 1.
Backlund was removed from the game because of a lower-body injury.
Both teams are back at full strength.
Save of the game right there by Marc-Andre Fleury
. Claude Giroux made a nice move after getting around a Penguins defenseman but Fleury sprawled to the ice to make the stop.
That power play lasted all of 41 seconds after Pronger is sent off for high-sticking Talbot.
The Flyers receive their second straight power play with Jay McKee sent off for holding.
Brian Boucher is now in goal for the Flyers. We will try to get word on what happened to Backlund.
The Penguins look to put the finishing touches on a 5-1 record this season against the Flyers.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES:
- Sidney Crosby
leads the Penguins with five shots.
- Brooks Orpik
and Maxime Talbot have four hits apiece.
- Crosby (8-6) and Jordan Staal
(7-5) are each over 57 percent on faceoffs.
Forty minutes are complete at Mellon Arena and the Penguins lead the Flyers by a score of 2-1. Pittsburgh also has a 24-19 shots advantage as they have really taken it to the Flyers since the middle of the first period.
Rupp's is out and the Penguins have ran their streak to 26 straight kills.
Philadelphia gets to work on their first power play with Rupp penalized for roughing.
You can smell the dandilions getting set to bloom, which means one thing - it's Maxime Talbot time of year. The Stanley Cup hero scored on Wednesday against Washington, and he is flying around today against the Flyers. This is a good development for the Penguins moving forward.
Let's go around the NHL with Dietz and Washington:
Backlund might have made that last glove save on Fedotenko, but he just had trouble with a wrist shot from Staal, the second time this period he hasn't been able to catch a pass.
Huge glove save by Backlund on a Ruslan Fedotenko drive as he skated down the left wing.
There is nothing like afternoon hockey on the weekend in March against an archrival. This crowd today at Mellon Arena has really done their part to help the Penguins.
Is there anything better than watching highlights of the Penguins beat up on the Flyers? OK, good point ... eliminating them from the postseason back-to-back seasons:
The Penguins take the lead! Sidney Crosby
dances over the Philadelphia blue line and fires a shot from the slot off the pad of Backlund. Dupuis pokes home the rebound for his 18th goal of the season. Penguins 2, Flyers 1.
Sorry I missed a couple seconds of the action there. Much like the crowd, I was busy watching Mike Rupp demolish Scott Hartnell into the far boards in the Flyers zone. Rupp's hit had so much ferocity it broke Hartnell's hit. Then Rupp nearly set up a beautiful by Criag Adams but a HUGE save by Backlund.
Great call by the referees. They wave off a Simon Gagne goal because Fleury was nowhere near the cage as a result of Ville Leino plowing right through him. Somehow no penalty was called on the play. But I think we'll all take the goal being waved off.
The Penguins fall to 0-for-3 on the power play as Philly kills it off.
Huge break for the Penguins. Laperriere steals a pass at his own blue line and has a breakaway against Fleury. He rips a shot off the post to Fleury's left.
Philadelphia just can't help going back into the penalty box. It's kind of what they do. Van Riemsdyk is making his second trip of the game there after interferring with Fleury.
Nice save by Backlund on Ponikarovsky taking a shot from the left seam. Crosby made a cross-ice pass to Poni to set him up. You can see the chemistry forming more and more between these two.
Hopefully the Penguins can keep up the momentum they generated over the last half of the first period.
FIRST PERIOD STATS:
- Brooks Orpik
was dishing out some free candy in the form of three first period hits.
- Pittsburgh outshot the Flyers 5-2 over the last half of the period.
- Marc-Andre Fleury
picked up his second assist of the season on the Chris Kunitz
Philadelphia had the advantage early but the Penguins find their game over the last half of the period and we have a 1-1 contest after 20 minutes. Both teams have seven shots on goal.
Philadelphia kills off the minor but the Penguins knot the score one second later. Jordan Leopold's shot from the left point went off the right pad of Backlund and caromed right to Chris Kunitz
in the right circle. Kunitz stopped the puck with his skate and fired a shot upstairs. Penguins 1, Flyers 1.
Huge scramble in front of the net with Backlund lying on his stomach but Bill Guerin and Ponikarovsky can't push the puck over the line. Much better puck movement by the Penguins on this power play however.
Pittsburgh goes right back on the man-advantage as rookie James van Riemsdyk goes to the penalty box for hooking.
Philadelphia kills off the Giroux penalty with relative ease.
The turkey is on the table for the Penguins with Claude Giroux in the penalty box for holding.
The Penguins just missed a tallying possibly the goal of the year. Crosby made a behind the back backhand pass to Orpik at the left point. Orpik fired a shot-pass towards the net which Ponikarovsky deflected off the post.
Nothing gets the crowd fired up like watching Iceburgh knock "Rocky" to the ground at the top of the art museum. "This ain't no city of brotherly love!"
Pittsburgh gets their best scoring chance of the night as Crosby gets a good look from the middle of the slot. Backlund corrals that shot in his stomach.
And we get our first - probably not last - mix-up in front of the Philadelphia net. Nothing really comes of it but a good job by the Penguins of getting to Backlund and trying to get inside his head a bit.
Great shift by the five-man unit of Sidney Crosby
, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Pascal Dupuis
, Brooks Orpik
and Kris Letang
to hem the Flyers in the offensive zone with a five-man cycle. That was huge to break up the momentum the Flyers seemed to have been building.
Philadelphia just had six or seven skaters on the ice but only the 17,000-plus fans noticed.
Maxime Talbot helps get the crowd going again by drilling Ian Laperriere against the boards in the near corner of the Flyers zone.
A fluke tally gets the Flyers on the board first. Arron Asham
throws a saucer pass to the front of the net intended for Scott Hartnell, but the puck bounces off the ice and hopes over the pad of Fleury. Flyers 1, Penguins 0.
20:00: Marc-Andre Fleury
gets the call once again in goal for head coach Dan Bylsma.
STAT OF THE NIGHT:
Pittsburgh is a remarkable 19-1-2 at Mellon Arena during March/April over the past three regular seasons.
With their top two netminders, Leighton and Ray Emery, both injured, and Brian Boucher struggling, 28-year-old rookie Johan Backlund makes his NHL debut for the Flyers. It's going to be important for the Penguins to pepper him with shots early while he still has jitters.
1:02 PM: Evgeni Malkin
will miss his fifth contest in the past six games today due to his foot injury. The Penguins will also be without the services of defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who will miss his second-straight game due to illness. Eric Godard is Pittsburgh's other scratch. Philadelphia's scratches include leading scorer Jeff Carter, Matt Carle, Riley Cote and goaltender Michael Leighton.
The Penguins begin the final six-game regular-season homestand at Mellon Arena this afternoon when they conclude their season series against the archrival Philadelphia Flyers. Pittsburgh has already clinched the season series over the Flyers, currently owning a 4-1 lead. The Penguins won each of the three contests in Philadelphia: 5-4 on Oct. 8; 3-2 in a shootout on Dec. 17; and 2-1 in the most recent meeting on Jan. 24. Pittsburgh crushed the Flyers, 6-1, at Mellon Arena on Dec. 15. Sidney Crosby
has seven points (4G-3A) in the five games to lead the way.
Author: Jason Seidling