Penguins 4 – Flyers 2
The Pittsburgh Penguins were victorious with a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Heinz Field. This was by far the most entertaining outdoor game the Penguins have played from the standpoint of quality chances being created by both teams.
The ice was not an impediment to the players by any means.
“Ice was great…. It was fast,” Sidney Crosby said afterwards.
“It was such a fun night,” 40 year old Matt Cullen said. “I was just kind of blown away by the atmosphere. Just the whole thing, was one of those bucket list deals.”
The Penguins got a strong performance from Matt Murray who made 36 saves and somehow wasn’t named one of the three stars.
“He was solid,” Crosby said of Murray.. “They [Flyers] generated some really good chances. He had to make some really good saves, some weird ones, bad bounces he had to react to.”
In what’s been a blueprint of how to attack the Penguins over the last month, Philadelphia made an emphasis on getting pucks low and creating a quick opportunity to the net or kicking it out high for a shot from the point and crashing the net.
Murray answered the bell all night.
“Philly’s a team that shoots the puck from everywhere,” Mike Sullivan said, “I think when a goalie gets that much work early in games, it can work one or two ways….. For Matt it allowed him to settle into the game…..He doesn’t get overwhelmed by any circumstance.”
“It was really special,” Murray said of the experience and his 36 save performance.
The Penguins got production throughout their lineup with 5 v 5 goals from Sidney Crosby (34), Matt Cullen (10), Chad Ruhwedel (2) and a power play goal from Nick Bonino (9).
One of the stars of the night for the Penguins was Jake Guentzel.
Guentzel with a two assist night, setup the first two goals of the game with primary helpers. On the Crosby goal, Guentzel sold shot and delivered a perfect dish to Crosby for the goal.
In the second period on the Bonino power play goal, Guentzel again got the puck in the slot and as three Flyers were drawn to him, he setup Bonino for the one-timer goal at the right circle and Neuvirth couldn’t get over fast enough.
Evgeni Malkin called Guentzel the Penguins best player on the night.
Guentzel in the second period was a recipient of a blatantly late hit that is under review from the department of player safety.
— Ron Hainsey played 21:08, had 4 hits and was a +1 in his Penguins debut. Hainsey played the right side in a pairing with Brian Dumoulin. He logged 3:09 on the PK. Hainsey was on the ice for 14 shots attempts, 13 against at even strength. Hainsey’s size alone is going to be a nice addition for a group that gets overwhelmed physically at times below the dots.
— Ian Cole was the Penguins best defenseman tonight. Logged team-high 24:37, had great gap control throughout and he was really good in defending in the neutral zone.
— Top Possession (5v5) Players for the Penguins:
1. Jake Guentzel | 17/9, 65 CF%
2. Sidney Crosby | 16/9, 64 CF%
3. Ian Cole | 20/12, 63 CF%
— The Penguins were credited with 50 hits. Tom Kuhnhackl led the team with 8. Chris Kunitz had 6.
— A Capitals loss has the Penguins pull within five points of first place. For the Flyers, frustration is building inside that room. Setting up to be sellers at the deadline, they need to figure out the goaltending position first long-term before anything else, especially in a division with Braden Holtby, Matt Murray, Henrik Lundqvist, and Sergei Bobrovsky.