Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 5-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.
* Don't look now, but the Pens are the top team in the Metro Division. And they did it at the expense of their heated enemy.
It's always a thrilling affair when the Pens and Flyers get together. Even more so when the two teams are so close in the standings and with a shot at the Metro Division crown on the line. Thus was the case Wednesday night.
Pittsburgh took both points in the contest with 4 unanswered goals after falling behind 2-1 in the 2nd period. The Pens now have 82 points in the standings, and sit atop the division.
* There was talk before the game that the contests between the Pens and Flyers aren't as heated or physical as they have been in the past. But the scrum that disrupted at the end of the regulation would suggest otherwise.
* Forward Conor Sheary talked candidly last Friday about his lack of production and the struggles in his game. Sheary was in the midst of a 15-game goal-less streak, having not tallied since Jan. 20 - over 6 weeks ago.
Sheary broke that drought with two huge goals to break a 2-2 tie and give the Pens a 4-2 lead heading into the third period. On his first goal, Sheary drove to the net on a two-on-one to bury a rebound. He followed that up 5 minutes later with a nice one-timer shot from the bottom circle. On both goals he ended up falling on the ice with a wide smile.
It was a pair of injuries (see below) that led to his breakthrough. Sheary was bumped up the lineup and rejoined Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. The trio clicked almost immediately and it brought back memories of the 2017 Stanley Cup championship run.
* Crosby picked up 3 assists in the contest. The 3rd assist was his 1,100th career NHL point. He now has 43 career points (16G-27A) in 30 contests in Philadelphia. The crowd despises Crosby, booing him at every opportunity, and he thrives off of it.
* The Pens defeated Calgary, 4-3, on Monday with 3 of their 4 goals coming from defensemen. Pittsburgh continued that trend with Jamie Oleksiak picking up his 4th goal of the season and adding an assist for a 2-point night.
* Forward Bryan Rust (upper-body) was lost early in the 1st period after getting boarded into the end boards by Philadelphia's Robert Hagg. The Pens also lost winger Dominik Simon (lower-body). With all the moving parts, Pittsburgh had to reshuffle their lineup.
The Pens went with the following looks:
Kuhnhackl jumped in occasionally.
The Pens were forced to roll just 3 lines for half of the game, an exhausting undertaking for the forwards. They gutted out the effort.