PITTSBURGH (KDKA) –The Philadelphia Flyers dominated the Penguins on Saturday and carried that momentum into Sunday’s game at CONSOL Energy Center.
Matt Read’s shorthanded goal in the second period proved to be the difference as the Flyers swept the home-and-home series with a 4-3 win Sunday afternoon.
The game didn’t start out well for the Penguins and was more of a case of déjà vu.
The Flyers struck just 2:06 into the game on a rebound goal by Brayden Schenn. Marc-Andre Fleury made an incredible save on Wayne Simmonds on a 2-on-1. However, the rebound went back into the slot and the Penguins were unable to get a stick on it before Schenn.
The theme of the first period was the Penguins hanging Fleury out to dry. Plain and simple.
Philadelphia would add to their lead by capitalizing on an ill-advised penalty by Robert Bortuzzo a couple of minutes later.
Scott Hartnell caught Lee Stempniak with his head down at the Penguins’ blue line and delivered a solid, clean check. Bortuzzo took exception and attempted to defend his teammate. As a result, he was called for interference.
With time winding down on the power play, Olli Maatta saved a goal momentarily. However, the puck worked its way to the point on the reset and Simmonds deflected a shot by Kimmo Timonen behind Fleury for a 2-0 lead.
Simmonds was allowed to camp in front of Fleury untouched for much of the power play.
But, Simmonds wasn’t done there.
With Taylor Pyatt in the box for high sticking, the Simmonds and the Flyers struck again.
Claude Giroux found Simmonds at the side of the net. In one motion, he turned it to his forehand and got two cracks at the puck before lifting it over Fleury’s outstretched pad.
Philadelphia led 3-0 just 13:41 into the contest. It was also the end of Fleury’s night, but it was no fault of his own.
If not for Fleury, the Flyers could have had at least five goals on the board.
Fleury played incredibly well, but got no help from his teammates for a second straight day.
However, the Penguins were able to get one back late in the period off a fortunate bounce.
Brooks Orpik’s point shot deflected off of Simmonds, bounced off the ice and over Steve Mason’s glove at the 17:33 mark of the period.
The Flyers took a 3-1 lead on the board and a 15-7 advantage in shots to the first intermission.
In the second period, the Penguins were unable to cash in on 1:56 of carryover power play time to start.
However, they would cut the lead to one shortly after.
Joe Vitale won a race to a dump in and fired it around the wall behind the net. The puck eventually worked its way to the point. With Vitale camping in front of Mason, Matt Niskanen ripped a slapshot to the shelf to cut the lead to 3-2.
Later, the Penguins had a chance to tie it on the power play, but for the second straight day, the Flyers scored shorthanded.
Deryk Engelland lost an edge and the puck along the boards. The Flyers quickly raced up ice on a 2-on-1. Read was looking for the shot the entire way and blew it over Jeff Zatkoff’s glove to restore the two-goal lead at the 12:11 mark of the period.
About four minutes later, the Penguins cut the lead in half again.
Brian Gibbons forced a turnover in the neutral zone and went in on a 2-on-1 with Jayson Megna. After deking around a prone Flyers defenseman, Gibbons fed the puck across the goalmouth and Megna chipped it over Mason.
The Penguins had a couple decent chances to end the period, but the Flyers held onto the one-goal lead after 40 minutes of play.
The third period featured a great pace, but the Penguins were unable to get another puck behind Mason.
Evgeni Malkin had a couple of solid chances, but was bested by Mason.
Perhaps the best chance came with one second to go.
The Penguins stormed into the offensive zone with Zatkoff on the bench for the extra attacker.
However, Crosby’s redirect of a pass by Maatta rang off the post to deny the Penguins of at least a point in the contest.
With the win, the Flyers temporarily move into second place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Penguins will look to regroup when they play host to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.
You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sheavedice