Maybe the Penguins should stop playing the Flyers in Pittsburgh, because they can’t seem to beat them. Philadelphia is now 13-2-1, 11-1-1 in the regular season, against Pittsburgh at Consol Energy Center.
Brayden Schenn scored twice to lead the Flyers to a 4-1 win Wednesday night. Philadelphia, with a record of 31-29-17, have already been eliminated from the postseason.
Meanwhile, their rival Pittsburgh (42-24-11) are right in the midst of a tight Eastern Conference playoff race. They sit fourth in the Eastern Conference, but are just four points ahead of eighth-place Boston.
In their battle for third in the Metropolitan Division, the Pens have a slight one point lead on the Washington Capitals, who play today against Montreal.
The Flyers are technically behind the Capitals, but are 15 points back.
Sidney Crosby reached a huge career milestone with his 300th goal of his career, but after the goal, which opened the scoring, it was penalty-fest for the Penguins.
Pittsburgh took five penalties in the game, not only allowing Schenn to score a power-play goal to make it 3-1 early in the third period with Steve Downie in the box, but taking away offensive chances. They did muster 25 shots in opposing goaltender Steve Mason, but not many of them were solid chances.
They needed offense, as Evgeni Malkin was a scratch due to a minor injury. Malkin came back from an ailment that kept him out for six games on Sunday, so the Pens hope that it doesn’t turn out to be serious.
With three minutes remaining in the first period and Crosby’s goal still the difference, Vincent Lecavalier tied the game at one.
Schenn scored his first at 12:43 of the second period on a beautiful team goal. He entered the zone with Brandon Manning and Sean Couturier and they passed the puck between themselves. Eventually, with Pens’ goalie Marc-Andre Fleury out of position, Schenn got the puck and slotted it past Fleury.
Schenn’s early third period goal gave the Flyers momentum, and the Penguins failed to put the puck past Philly goaltender Steve Mason, who made 24 saves on 25 shots.
Fleury made 27 saves on 31 shots.
The game became out of reach about four minutes after Schenn’s goal when Carlo Colaiacovo, coming off a missed game with the flu, scored his first of the year while taking a stick to the face.
Malkin is day-to-day according to coach Mike Johnston. The injury was discovered during a maintenance day for Malkin on Tuesday.
Johnston said he wasn’t very impressed with the play of his forwards, but he though the defense did pretty well:
"I thought our defense did a good job," Johnston said. "Maybe at the halfway point of the game, their gap was a little loose at times. But I thought it was our forwards. Our forwards had to carry more pressure. They had to sustain more pressure. They didn't get enough pressure in the zone. And then the key goal was the power-play goal to start the third period there."