The news on the ice, however, was not as good as the announcement
of Letang's scheduled return after missing six weeks following a
Philadelphia right winger Wayne Simmonds scored two power play goals
and added an assist as the Flyers defeated the Penguins 4-3 on
Sunday afternoon, sweeping the weekend home-and-home series.
The loss was just the second at home in regulation for Pittsburgh in
its last 21 at CONSOL Energy Center.
"The power play was good again. The penalty kill was good again,"
Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "Lots of shots, lots of chances;
played a pretty solid game."
The Penguins were looking to avenge at 4-0 loss in Philadelphia on
Saturday, but their special teams failed again, allowing two
power-play goals and one short-handed, while going 0 for 4 on their
own power play on Sunday and 0 for 9 for the weekend.
"Any time you've got (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin on the
power play, you've got to make sure you're ready to go and know what
your job is, and our penalty killers did a good job of that," Flyers
captain Claude Giroux said.
After shutting out the Penguins on Saturday, the Flyers picked up
right where they left off, scoring the first three goals of the
First it was center Brayden Schenn, who pushed in the rebound from a
Simmonds shot at 2:06 of the first period to give the Flyers the
early 1-0 lead.
Less than five minutes later, while working on a power play,
Philadelphia defenseman Kimmo Timonen fired a shot from the point
that was masterfully deflected by Simmonds, who was parked in front
of the Pittsburgh net.
Simmonds picked up another power-play goal — and third point of the
period — when he took a pass from the point with his back to the
net, spun around and whacked at his own rebound until it squeezed
past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury at 13:41 of the first.
"I don't want to say we try to pick (Pittsburgh's penalty kill)
apart, but we know where they're going to come from and we try to
change our point of attack and it seems to be working," Simmonds
The goal was enough to end Fleury's day and bring in backup
goaltender Jeff Zatkoff in relief.
Pittsburgh finally solved Flyers goaltender Steve Mason when
defenseman Brooks Orpik fired a bouncing puck from the point that
bounded off the ice and over Mason's glove to cut the Philadelphia
lead to 3-1 at 17:33 of the first.
Defenseman Matt Niskanen pulled
the Penguins to 3-2 when he blasted a slap shot over Mason's left
shoulder at 5:50 of the second period. The goal was Niskanen's 10th
of the season, adding to his career high.
"We did a good job of getting something going. We got some momentum
and clawed our way back, made it a hockey game," Niskanen said.
[to top of second column]
Just when it looked as though the Penguins might even the score, the
Flyers scored a short-handed goal, their second in as many days, to
make it 4-2.
Right winger Matt Read broke in on a two-on-one but had no intention
of passing. He fired a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Zatkoff
at 12:11 of the second period.
"That's to their credit, they are aggressive, we know they're going
to pressure us," Bylsma said. "We didn't get the end zone time we're
used to or capable of for our power play."
The theme of two-on-one goals continued at 16:19 of the second when
Penguins center Brian Gibbons broke down the left wing, swooped
around the lone defenseman back for the Flyers and found breaking
forward Jayson Megna, who tapped the Gibbons pass just inside the
right post for his fifth goal of the season, pulling the Penguins
back to within one at 4-3.
The Penguins hit the post with one second left, but that was as
close as they would get.
The weekend sweep kept the Flyers in playoff position.
NOTES: The Penguins have now lost 413 man-games to injury, which is
the most in franchise history. By comparison, the Flyers have lost
176 man-games to injury. ... D Matt Niskanen's goal gave the
Penguins two D-men (Kris Letang is the other) who have reached
double digits in goals, the first time they have accomplished that
since 2007-08 when Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney had 12 each. ...
Flyers C Claude Giroux is one game shy of 400 for his career. ...
Scratches for the Penguins were RW Neal (concussion), LW Chris
Kunitz (lower body) and D Simon Despres. Scratches for the Flyers
were LW Jay Rosehill, D Hal Gill and D Erik Gustafsson. ... The next
games for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will be Tuesday. Pittsburgh
will host Dallas and Philadelphia will host Chicago. ... The
official attendance was 18,647 — Pittsburgh's 317th consecutive
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