Thursday, July 24, 2014





Flyers sweep weekend against Penguins


March 16. 2014 11:52PM
Associated Press



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PITTSBURGH — The Philadelphia Flyers used dominating special teams to sweep a weekend home-and-home series against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.


Wayne Simmonds had two power-play goals in the first period, Matt Read had a short-handed tally and Philadelphia killed off all four Pittsburgh power plays in a 4-3 victory on Sunday afternoon.


It was the second victory in as many days for the surging Flyers against their cross-state rivals.


Philadelphia had a power-play goal, a short-handed goal and was a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in a 4-0 win against the Penguins at home on Saturday.


“The power play was good again, the penalty kill was good again,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said. “Lots of shots, lots of chances. We played a pretty solid game.”


Philadelphia improved to 5-1-1 in its past seven. Including playoffs, the Flyers are 10-2-1 all-time at Consol Energy Center (8-1-1 in the regular season).


“I know the boys in this locker room love playing against them,” said Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason, who allowed three goals on 48 shots during the weekend sweep.


“Whether we’re in their head or not, we don’t really care. We get amped up to play against them.”


Defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen and recent call-up Jayson Megna scored for the injury-riddled Penguins, who lost two straight in regulation for the first time since dropping three in a row from Nov. 6-13.


During the final seconds, the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby hit the post with a backhand off a pass from Evgeni Malkin while skating down the right wing.


“(The post) is all I gave him, though,” Mason deadpanned. “It’s part of the equipment.”


Pittsburgh still holds a commanding lead in the Metropolitan Division, but remained three points behind the Boston Bruins in the race for the Eastern Conference’s top seed.


Simmonds assisted on Brayden Schenn’s goal 2:06 into the game and then scored twice in a 6:54 span to give the Flyers a three-goal lead 14 minutes in.


Read’s goal was his third goal of the weekend for Philadelphia, which entered Sunday holding down the eighth and final spot in the conference standings.


Making starts on consecutive days for only the second time this season, Marc-Andre Fleury made a lunging glove save on the first shot he faced Sunday, from Simmonds.


But he couldn’t control the puck in his glove and it fluttered to Schenn in the slot, who slid it in past a diving Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo for his 17th of the season.


Claude Giroux assisted on Simmonds’ 20th and 21st goals, the first of which was with 13:13 left in the first when he deflected a Kimmo Timonen shot from the point. Simmonds made it 3-0 when he corralled a rebound while uncovered and beat Fleury to end his afternoon after just 13:41.


Under siege by a Philadelphia attack that Pittsburgh had issues dealing with, Fleury allowed seven goals on 55 shots in less than four periods covering 24 hours against the Flyers.


Rookie Jeff Zatkoff replaced him.




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