Pittsburgh 2 – Philadelphia 1 (SO)
— Tyler Kennedy (18) scored in regulation and Chris Kunitz netted the game winning goal in the 4th round of the shootout, leading Pittsburgh (43-23-8, 94 pts) to a 2-1 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers (44-19-10, 98 pts) on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Marc Andre Fleury made 19 saves and stopped 3 of 4 Flyers shooters in the shootout, to earn his 32nd victory of the season. Fleury has improved to 5-1 in his last 6 games at Philadelphia.
Chris Kunitz assisted on Tyler Kennedy’s 2nd period power play goal, extending his points streak to 5 games. Kunitz has 5 goals and 4 assists during that span.
Philadelphia got an excellent performance from rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 30 saves in the loss. Mike Richards (21) scored for Philadelphia.
With the win, Pittsburgh pulled within four points of Philadelphia for the division lead. The Penguins host the Flyers on March 29, for the final meeting between the two rivals this season.
Philadelphia leads the season series, 3-2, and have a game in hand on Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh improved to 7-2-2 in their last 11 games.
— The Penguins came into Philadelphia a hungrier team and it showed for much of the game as the Penguins controlled the play offensively.
It was an impressive display of hockey for the Penguins who have evolved into more of a north-south team with the loss of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Of note, Pittsburgh was fast on the puck, getting to loose pucks and really pushed the play, getting their defensemen involved on the rush.
Defenseman Kris Letang (1 assist, 27:56 TOI) was extremely active in the offensive zone, along with Ben Lovejoy who collected 4 shots on goal and logged 21:14 of ice time.
The Penguins were also effective with their cycle down low, showing great puck possession at times.
The disapointment for the Penguins is that they couldn’t get much past Bobrovsky who was the main reason Philadelphia earned a point. It was a nice bounce back game for rookie whose been feeling the heat from the Philly media.
— Tyler Kennedy (18G-22A-40Pts) has reached the 40-point plateau for the first time in his career. Kennedy was the Penguins best player on the ice tonight.
— The Penguins went 1-for-2 on the power play and are now 3 for their last 50.
— Pittsburgh outshot Philadelphia, 31-20, and held the Flyers to 5 shots in the third period and 0 shots in overtime.
— The Penguins return to action tomorrow night at home against the New Jersey Devils, where the Penguins begin a three game homestand.
Notes: Pittsburgh lost Dustin Jeffrey to an apparent right leg injury in the second period of tonight’s game and it doesn’t look good for Jeffrey who was helped to the locker room by two Penguin trainers. The extent of his injury won’t be known until tomorrow when he’s re-evaluated by team doctors in Pittsburgh……
Defenseman Brooks Orpik (broken finger) missed his 12th straight game. Orpik skated with the team for the second straight day and is expected to return to the lineup either Sunday afternoon against Florida or Tuesday night against Philadelphia…..
Mark Letestu (upper body) missed his 3rd straight game due to an upper body injury. Letestu will not be available to play tomorrow night…..
Eric Tangradi (concussion) appears to be the next player in line to play tomorrow night in place of Dustin Jeffrey. Mike Comrie is close but not quite ready to return to game action from hip surgery……
Sidney Crosby (concussion) skated again this morning and continues to intensify his on-ice workout routine….
Brad Thiessen served as the Penguins backup goaltender. Brent Johnson suffered an upper-body injury during Thursday’s morning skate. He is day-to-day.
Thiessen, 25, is in his second season with WBS after signing as a free agent on April 8, 2009. He has appeared in 42 games this season with WBS, posting a 32-7-1 record and .924 save percentage while being named the starting goaltender for the AHL All-Star Game (he missed the game due to injury).
Thiessen currently leads the AHL with 32 wins and a 1.88 goals-against average. His seven shutouts are tied for the league lead, and they established a single-season franchise record…..