by Tony on 12/16/09 at 12:31 AM ET
Aaah, nice to see our old friends from the other side of the state again.
The Penguins hosted the rival Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Igloo in the first of a home-and-home series but weren’t too hospitable, routing the Flyers 6-1.
Jordan Staal scored twice for the Pens, including his 10th career short-handed goal, as the Penguins controlled play for the majority of the game.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 or 27 shots, while Flyers’ goalie Brian Boucher faded late, stopping 29 of 35 shots.
The much-ballyhooed reshuffled powerplay got it’s first attempt of the game with the man advantage after a Matt Carle hooking penalty. It looked like the boys were still trying to work out the kinks, but the passing was decent. The end result was a success, however, as a Ruslan Fedotenko shot that was blocked went to the stick of Sidney Crosby on the right half-boards, who then one-timed it off the right post and past Boucher to make it 1-0 Pens at 3:30.
After that, the tone was definitely set for a back-to-back matchup with the Flyers, with three consecutive fights within 16 seconds of play. Mike Rupp and Aaron Asham started the festivities, followed by Eric Godard and Riley Cote then culminating with Craig Adams and former Baby Penguin Daniel Carcillo. I’d say the first two matches were fairly even, but Carcillo clearly won the finale.
The Penguins doubled their lead soon thereafter, as Crosby, who admits that he’s simply throwing more pucks on net nowadays than trying to make the perfect play, fired a slapper from the right point that Boucher stopped, but squeaked through his five-hole, where Bill Guerin was to bang the loose puck into the net to give the Pens a 2-0 lead.
The Flyers were able to cut the lead in half later in the period after a foolish tripping penalty on Evgeni Malkin. Carle fired a slapper from the left point, which was deflected by Mike Richards and went to the stick of Carcillo, who was able to backhand the puck past a sprawling Fleury to make it 2-1 Pens at 11:46.
A few minutes later, after yet another Malkin penalty, this time for holding, Jordan Staal stole the puck to start a 2-on-1 break short-handed. Staal held onto the puck until the last second, when he then fired a wrister to the right post and into the net past Boucher, giving the Penguins a 3-1 lead going into the second period.
The second was relatively uneventful, until the last minute of play that is. That’s when Penguin nemesis Scott Hartnell attempted an extra pass in the Penguins’ zone that was blocked. That led to play going the other way as Crosby brought the puck into the Flyers’ zone, holding the puck until he was able to make a cross-ice pass to Kris Letang. Letang fired a wrister from the left slot that Boucher stopped, but Staal was right there to pounce on the rebound and banged it home, giving the Penguins a 4-1 lead with only 15 seconds remaining in the second.
The rout continued into the third period, when Malkin brought the puck into the Flyers’ zone and left the puck for Fedotenko, who blasted a one-timer to the top shelf past Boucher to make it 5-1, then Malkin scored on a short-hander of his own in the final minutes for the final score of 6-1.
- 136th consecutive sellout tonight at the Igloo.
- Outside of the three fights in the first period, it really wasn’t that physical of a game. Something tells me it won’t be like that on Thursday.
- With his three points tonight, Crosby is now again within three points of Joe Thornton.
- The Pens ended up going 1-for-4 on the powerplay. I will say, though, if they keep that crisp passing going, their percentage is bound to go up.
- Not a great night in the faceoff circle, with the Pens only winning 40 percent.
- Rupp and Orpik led the Pens with four hits apiece.
As mentioned, the finale of the home-and-home series will be in Philly on Thursday night.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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