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Pens-Flyers In-Game Blog

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins


0:00: Horn sounds. Flyers take this one, 6-4.

0:32: And Kunitz cuts Philly's lead back to two when he re-directs a Malkin feed past Bobrosky. FLYERS 6, PENS 4

1:00: Benches are quite empty as a lot of players have been thrown out of the game. Play resumes quite a while later. When it's all said and done, Pens to the PP.

1:03: And the hatred between these two teams has erupted. After Vitale levels Briere, two fights break out at center ice between Engelland-Simmonds and Adams-Bourdon. Then on the benches, the coaching staffs are also having words. Laviolette and Pens asst. coach Tony Granato head to the locker rooms. The on-ice shenanigans are also still going on. It's going to take a while to sort this one out.

1:15: With Fleury out of the goal for the extra attacker, Voracek gets an empty-netter. His second goal of the game. FLYERS 6, PENS 3

1:26: Pens putting together quite a late surge, but Flyers are getting in the lanes and blocking shots.

4:42: Sullivan tees one off from the slot that appears to hit the post and deflect out, but the replay shows it did indeed cross the goal line. The play is under review...and it counts! Flyers rookie Brayden Schenn crosschecks Crosby in the back away from the play, but since the goal was scored on the delayed penalty call, the Pens don't get a power play. FLYERS 5, PENS 3

6:45: Giroux wins an O-zone faceoff win back to Bourdon. The Flyers D-man winds up and blasts one from just below the circle. It deflects off Michalek and past Fleury. FLYERS 5, PENS 2

8:04: Malkin and Crosby on the ice together as they normally are following a PK. Malkin gallops around the perimeter and throws a puck to the cage that Crosby gets a pretty (and difficult) tip on, but Bobrovsky isn't fooled.

8:45: The Pens go back to full strength.

9:27: Fleury with two humungous saves on a pair of point-blank chances by the Flyers during this shorthanded situation.

10:51: Cooke to the box for slashing. Pens heading to the PK.

     "Just keep shootin #Pens one will finally give!!"


13:23: Voracek gets a breakaway and is able to slip one past Flower with a beautiful move for the score. FLYERS 4, PENS 2

15:05: Great shift by Staal, Dupuis and Sullivan. They swarmed the net hard and won all of the puck battles in the Flyers D zone.

17:25: Simmonds is all alone on the backdoor and gets an absolutely gorgeous pass from Voracek. Simmonds slams it past Fleury's outstretched pad with 37 seconds left on the penalty to Kunitz. FLYERS 3, PENS 2

18:15: Wellwood is released and the Flyers will head to the power play for the next 1:29 minutes.

18:48: Kunitz goes to the box for interference with 31 seconds left on the penalty to Wellwood. We'll go 4-on-4 for that period of time.

20:00: Puck drops to begin the third. Pens on the power play to start. Game on!

(Getty Images)

This game really opened up in the second, with the Flyers stealing the momentum early on a goal from Max Talbot just 1:25 into the period. They must have gotten one heck of an intermission talk from coach Peter Laviolette, as Philly has definitely shaken off any early fatigue and found their legs in this game. Pens are outshooting Flyers 30-14, but haven't really made Bobrovsky work for any of the shots. 

0:00: First 40 minutes are in the books. Pens get a great chance with just 1.3 seconds remaining in the period, but Crosby isn't able to get any mustard on a rebound off the post and Bobrovsky falls back and covers. We're tied 2-2 and Pens have 30 shots to the Flyers' 14.

0:17: Wellwood in the box for holding. Pens with another crucial PP chance here.

1:40: Flyers kill it off and go back to full strength.

3:30: Pens now on the PP.

3:43: Flyers caught with too many men on the ice. There are 13 seconds left on Sullivan's penalty and three seconds remaining on Bourdon's.

5:02: Crosby and Malkin just pulled off a sick play. Sid split the Flyers D, but opted to hit a crashing Geno with a pass. Malkin toe drags around the defender and wrists a shot that Bobrovsky absorbs and holds onto.

5:30: Sullivan can't handle the puck on the blue line and the Flyers have a 2-on-1 with Malkin the lone Pen back. Sullivan gets called for tripping on the play. We'll go 4-on-4 for the next 1:50.

5:40: Neal gets a long stretch pass and appears off to the races. But his momentum carries him just far enough where he has to stop and collect the puck. However, he recovers and sets a nice mini-pick for Michalek, who tries to get a wraparound shot past Bobrovsky but is denied. Neal draws a hooking penalty on the play. Pens to the PP!

6:57: This game has gotten intense. Neither side is budging an inch.

11:17: Letang carries into the zone and makes a pretty drop pass to Crosby, who carries to the goal and gets off a great chance. Heads up play by Letang. These are the elements he adds to the Pittsburgh lineup.

12:55: Engelland leads the charge down the ice after getting a breakout pass from D partner Niskanen. His initial shot is stopped but Engo collects his own rebound and nearly beats Bobrovsky!

14:19: Big save by Fleury as a Flyers player finds a lane down the side of the ice. 'Flower' comes out and challenges him, and turns the puck aside.

     "take it back the Flyers NO brotherly love #PensMobile #Pens"

18:35: And the Flyers have tied this one up early. Rinaldo turns and fires a shot at the cage that former Pen Max Talbot re-directs past his old road roommate Fleury for the score. It's Talbot's first goal in 13 games, PENS 2, FLYERS 2

20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Flyers PR just told us that defenseman Nicklas Grossmann will not return to the game with a lower-body injury (see 7:55 entry of the 1st for details). Game on!

     "If this is a sample of the first round of the playoffs for the #Pens, it's going to be a wild ride. #BattleofPennsylvania"


     "I am loving the energy in the #ConsolEnergyCenter right now. Wish I was there to join. #Pens"


     "This is exactly why this game is the game of the week on nbc #Pens"

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The Penguins came out flying from the drop of the puck in this one. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead within the first 4:58 of play on goals from Sullivan and Neal. The Flyers, who haven't fared well in afternoon games this season, seemed to find their legs near the end of the frame, getting momentum after a penalty kill about midway through and getting on the board with 4:51 left to cut Pittsburgh's lead to 2-1.

- Dupuis earned an assist on Sullivan's goal, extending his NHL-season-high point streak to 14 games.
- Dupuis has collected 9 goals, 9 assists and 18 points over that span
- Malkin has extended his point streak to 5 games, posting 8 points over that span.
- Letang is a plus-2 and skated a game-high 9:55 minutes this period, his first game back after missing 3 straight with a lower-body injury.

0:00: That'll do it for the first. Pens take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Shots are 16-8 in favor of Pittsburgh.

1:20: Pens with a solid kill against one of the NHL's best PP teams. Niskanen released. Pens back to full strength.

3:24: Now the Flyers get their first PP chance of the day as Niskanen goes to the box for holding. Pens' PKers: Staal, Cooke, Orpik, Michalek.

4:51: Pens get caught running around in their own zone a bit and it results in a Flyers goal. Giroux's shot from the slot sneaks under Fleury and though the Pens goalie falls backward to try and stop the puck, it trickles over the goal line. Hartnell with the screen on the play. PENS 2, FLYERS 1

5:27: Flyers seemed to grab a little momentum after that penalty kill. They've had a few good shifts in the offensive zone ever since and have generated a number of chances.

7:55: Flyers D-man Nicklas Grossmann hurt in a collision in the circle of his own zone. He immediately goes down the runway to the dressing room.

9:00: Bylsma just put Crosby, Malkin and Kunitz on the ice together. Now Cooke, Staal and Neal are taking a shift.

10:57: Flyers able to kill it off as Briere is released. They're back to full strength.

13:02: Briere takes out Vitale away from the play and he's going to go off for interference. Pens get the first PP of the afternoon. Pens sticking with the five-forward model for the start of this man-advantage even though Letang is back.

15:02: Kunitz gets caught on the halfwall with two Flyers surrounding him and smartly pushes it back down the boards to Malkin behind the net. Neal recognizes the play unfolding and rushes to the side of the cage, where Geno hits him with a pass. Neal snaps it past Bobrovsky in the bilink of an eye for the goal! Philly uses its timeout. PENS 2, FLYERS 0

     "Why is it when crosby is on the ice..Things Happen.. #wow! @pghpenguins #golfchipshot by @Sullivan26"


     "Sullivan's goal was insane! #Pens"


16:30: Dupuis extended his NHL-season-high point streak to 14 games with the assist on Sullivan's goal. That's Dupuis' 18th point (9G-9A) over the streak. #SuperDuper

Dupuis cycles behind the net to Crosby, who hits Sullivan with a pass in the slot. Though Sully only gets a piece of the bouncing puck, he gets enough mustard on it to send a knuckler past Bobrovsky for the score! PENS 1, FLYERS 0

19:29: The Pens win the opening faceoff and carry into the Flyers zone. Malkin drops a pass to Letang on the point, who nimbly sidesteps a Flyers player and whips a backhand to the cage. Welcome back, Tanger.

     "Soon the emotion train wreck known as a #pens vs flyers game will commence! always stressful-edge of your seat hockey. GO PENS"

     "Welcome back #Tanger, we have missed you! #Pens"


20:00: Puck drops to start the first. Game on!

12:30 PM:
It's official: Kris Letang is back in the lineup today vs. Philadelphia!

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Pens' line combos...



Fleury in goal. As expected, Sergei Bobrovsky gets the nod for Philly as Ilya Bryzgalov recovers from a chip fracture in his right foot he sustained last week.

11:25 AM:
Here is the rest of what coach Bylsma had to say to the media this morning...

On where you want scoring chances to come from:
There is more to it than just location. There is way more. It’s not just odd-man rushes.  We have a certain area that we consider to be a scoring chance. There are circumstances in which, if it’s outside that area it could still be a scoring chance, like a wraparound. Some wraparounds are chances and some are not. We also chart when the opposition misses the net or we miss the net and it’s still a scoring chance for given the quality of the situation. If a guy’s on a breakaway and he misses the net, we still have given them a breakaway so it would be a scoring chance against even though they didn’t hit the net. The same would be true for us. We created the breakaway, it’s still a scoring chance. It’s not totally a black and white situation. There are a lot of variables. There are some times when as a coaching staff, twice a game, we have to get together and decide if it was a scoring chance or not. The reason it is or isn’t, is not because we all agree, but because I say it because I’m the last guy to say it is or not.

On the differences in Matt Niskanen’s game this year:
I’ll just talk about last game and you can take that in general. He was very aggressive defending. He had a play last game where (Jason Pominville) comes over the line, stops up and tries to make a play and (Niskanen’s) gap is tight. He steps right up and knocks him down, takes the puck, pokes it up in the neutral zone and we go the other way. He snapped a puck up three or four times coming out of the D zone, executing in that area of the game, on the blue line, getting the shot through back in towards the net there for our players. Just that element of his game – that aggressiveness, skating ability, the way he plays with the puck – was a significant factor and a difference in that game for us.

On the consistency of the penalty kill:
It’s real important. (Philadelphia has) the most power-play goals in the league. It’s always a key factor. They have a very dangerous two units out there, (Danny Briere)’s unit and (Claude Giroux)’s unit so it’s going to be a big part of the game and going forward against the Flyers. Sometimes with the penalty kill you can penalty kill well and give up a goal. Sometimes you can penalty kill poorly and not give up a goal. I would say in the last 10 games I’m more concerned about the games we didn’t give up a goal than the ones we did give up a goal. We know we blocked a shot, it comes right back to them and they put it at the net. Not only do they get the goal, we broke up a play that lands on someone’s stick and they get another goal. We penalty killed well in those games. I’m more concerned about the three previous games where we were still giving up some scoring chances on our penalty kill. They didn’t score on those. That’s a game-to-game thing. We chart those throughout the year. I really liked last game. We talked before the game about what penalty killing is.  As you go into the playoffs you’ve got to be able to jump over the boards and kill penalties at key times in the game regardless of what your percentage is, regardless of what happened last game. Against Buffalo we had one of those kills late in the game, of which I thought we came up big on.

On if they got back to the game he wants to play against Buffalo:
I liked the Buffalo game a lot. That was a hard fought, contested game by a Buffalo team that’s playing really well. And they played really well in that game (on Friday), which is maybe the first game we’ve had like that in a while where the team we played against played extremely well for most of the game, the whole game. It was hard fought. It was contested. It was physical. It was fast. Our team responded with a really good game on the defensive side of the puck. Real cognizant of that, still played a fast aggressive game. That was a great test for our team, a great win for our team and we are going to see four more games very similar to that starting here today.

10:45 AM:
Good morning everyone (and Happy April Fool's Day). It's a game day in Pittsburgh, as the Pens are preparing to battle the Flyers here at CONSOL Energy Center. The puck will drop at 12:30 p.m. EST on NBC, which is a change from the originally scheduled time of 3 p.m. The Pens are looking to snap a four-game home losing streak against their cross-state rival this afternoon. They're also looking to widen the gap between them and the Flyers, who are three points behind them in the standings.

Since there is no morning skate with the early start, head coach Dan Bylsma just addressed the media outside the Pens locker room. He said that Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal and defenseman Kris Letang, who has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury, is a game-time decision for today's contest.

"He was back in Pittsburgh skating on his own while we were on the road trip," Bylsma said. "Part of it is just another day and how he feels after consecutive days of working out. That will go into it."

Bylsma had no other lineup updates. Stay tuned for the full transcript of Bylsma's comments and for the official scratches and line combinations once we get closer to game time.

(Getty Images)
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