In a battle for the #4 spot in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Flyers (39-22-10) took great strides to locking up the #4 seed in the East, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins (39-27-8) 3-1 Sunday afternoon at Mellon Arena. It was a game of special teams as Simon Gagne and Scott Hartnell each scored a power play goal for the Fylers who now move two points ahead of the Penguins in standings.
Pittsburgh who has a league high 11 comebacks when trailing after the second period, got on the score sheet at 10:02 of the third period when Kris Letang (8) (Power play) beat goaltender Marty Biron low blocker side to cut the Flyers lead to one. Sidney Crosby (95 pts) and Evgeni Malkin (105 pts) assisted on Letang’s third period tally.
Pittsburgh‚Äôs comeback ended with 28 seconds remaining in the third period when Darroll Powe (5) scored a empty net goal to put the Flyers up 3-1. Marty Biron made 27 saves to record his 24th win of the season. Pittsburgh is 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and are now 12-2-3 under interim coach Dan Bylsma.
Pittsburgh won the season series 4-2.
Post Game Analysis
The Flyers did a great job of limiting the Penguins from creating offense in the neutral zone. The biggest difference in the Penguins new system is their aggressiveness in the neutral zone. The Flyers were aggressive in between the red/blue line and forced the Penguins to dump the puck in continuously.
Marty Biron had a very strong game. He made timely saves and made a great save on a Jordan Staal one-timer in the slot with 1:54 remaining in the third period.
Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby were each held without a shot on goal. Malkin was trying to do a bit too much at times especially when carrying the puck in the neutral zone. The Flyers were able to frustrate the league‚Äôs leading scorer. Crosby and Malkin each led the Penguins with 3 giveaways
Bill Guerin saw only 12:46 of ice time and only a 1:12 of power play time. The Penguins did not make enough adjustments up front on the power play. Guerin, and even Sykora should have been used bit more than they were today. In a crucial game like this afternoon was, Guerin needs to be utilized more than he was.
Flyers defenseman Ryan Parent is quietly developing into the stay-at-home defenseman the Flyers needed to acquire at the trade deadline. He is fitting into the Flyers defensive scheme quiet nicely.
Defenseman Sergei Gonchar led the Penguins in ice time (27:28). Enforcer Eric Godard has 2:18 of ice time.
The Penguins will not practice on Monday and will return to the ice on Tuesday. The Penguins host the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.
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