PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists and Matt Murray stopped 26 shots to help the Pittsburgh Penguins silence a raucous Philadelphia crowd and beat the Flyers 5-1 on Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Two of the so-called fiercest rivals in the NHL have provided three lopsided games: Pittsburgh’s 7-0 win in Game 1 and Philadelphia’s 5-1 victory in Game 2 could about qualify as nail-bitters in this series.
Game 4 is Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
Crosby scored his fourth goal of the series in the first period, and Derick Brassard, Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin scored in the second to make it 4-0. Malkin and Dumoulin scored 5 seconds apart.
Justin Schultz made it 5-1 in the third on Pittsburgh’s third power-play goal of the game.
Brian Elliott, yanked in Game 1, had another rough outing and might need to borrow fellow Wells Fargo Center tenant Joel Embiid’s black mask to have a better look at the puck.
The Flyers haven’t won a playoff series since 2012 and pulled out all the theatrical stops in their return to the postseason after a one-year absence. Light-up bracelets flickered in the darkened arena and another packed house roared “Crosby sucks! Crosby sucks!”
Here’s the thing Philly fans haven’t realized, he really doesn’t – and especially not against the Flyers.
Crosby, who has 93 points in 63 career regular-season games against Philly, shut up the orange-and-black die-hards with a wraparound goal off a turnover midway through the first.
Crosby had a hat trick in Game 1 and the three-time Stanley Cup champion showed no sign of easing up.
Flyers fans even stuck photos of the hated Crosby inside the urinals throughout the arena that had to guarantee they were more on target with their shots than anyone on the home team’s roster.
The Flyers ran a video package full of bloody fights, big goals and memorable moments between the teams through the years with a “Bitter Rivals” caption. The Penguins could have just looked in their reflection from the 2016 and 2017 Cups and shrugged off the idea the Flyers are in their league.
Brassard scored on the power play just 2:48 into the second. Then came back-to-back stunning goals that put the icing on the urinal cake: Malkin scored on a one-timer and Dumoulin off the faceoff beat Elliott through the five-hole for a 4-0 lead. Crosby had both assists, naturally.
At that point, each team had 12 shots.
The Flyers, who played more like the team that lost 10 straight games over November-December, had no shot at pulling off the comeback. Travis Sanheim scored late in the third for the Flyers’ lone goal.
Notes: Flyers great Bobby Clarke was at the game. So was former Flyers captain Peter Forsberg. … Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons was in the house. The Sixers have won 17 straight games. Fans started chanting “Trust the Process!” as the game turned into a rout. … Philadelphia’s 22 wins at home during the regular season were the fewest of any team in the NHL playoffs.
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