Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby continue mastery of Philadelphia Flyers

By Chuck Gormley, The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 30, 2016 at 12:47 AM
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PHILADELPHIA -- In their NHL careers, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby scored more goals against the Philadelphia Flyers than any team in the NHL. On Saturday night, they added to their totals in a 5-4 victory at the Wells Fargo Center.

Malkin and Crosby each scored a pair of goals, including the 300th of Malkin's NHL career, to lead the Penguins to their third straight victory.

"We like to play here," said Malkin, who has scored 24 of his 300 goals against Philadelphia. "The fans gets loud. It was a good win."

Matt Cullen also scored for the Penguins, who continue their four-game road trip Wednesday night in Anaheim, Calif. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who has played every game this season with Matt Murray injured, turned aside 38 shots.

Patric Hornqvist and Phil Kessel each picked up two assists for the Penguins.

The Flyers (3-5-1) received two goals from Jake Voracek and one apiece by Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux, but lost for the second straight time and third in four games.

"I thought we played great tonight," Simmonds said of the Flyers, who outshot the Penguins 42-27. "Tonight was a good game. We competed for a full 60. There were some funny bounces in the game, but that's the effort that we want to see."

Malkin's second goal and fifth of the season came 8:33 into the third period and stood up as the winner for the Penguins (6-2-1), who lead the Metropolitan Division.

"It was a lucky goal," he said. "I already played one minute and I'm a little bit tired. I wanted to go change and the puck just came to my stick with an empty net."

Crosby sparked the Penguins' comeback from an early 2-0 deficit with a pair of first-period goals. The Penguins captain, who has 35 goals in 56 games against the Flyers, has four goals and one assist in three games since returning from a concussion.

"I still can do better executing," Crosby said. "That's just going to come with time and playing games. I think the more games I play the better that will feel and it will come a little easier. But for the most part I feel like I've been able to adjust pretty well."

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he is not surprised by Crosby's early dominance.

"Maybe because I've been around him for a while now," Sullivan said. "I think we've all grown to expect him to be what he his. He's a tremendous competitor and I know what this means to him. He's a focused guy. He's really enjoyed a lot of success here over the last year and that's a credit to him. I think he's hungry for more. ... What he's don here already in the short-term, it doesn't surprise me one bit."

Philadelphia entered the game with the NHL's third-worst goals-against average. Starter Steve Mason allowed three goals on 13 first-period shots and was pulled in favor of Michal Neuvirth, who stopped 12 of 14 shots.

"I thought we needed one more (save) in the first period," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "They made some good plays but a night like tonight you need a save somewhere on one of those."

The Flyers outshot the Penguins 15-5 in the second period and tied the score at 4-4 on Giroux's first goal of the season and Voracek's second of the game. Voracek's goal, his fifth of the season, came on a penalty shot when he was hauled down by Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin.

Voracek didn't score his fifth goal last season until the Flyers' 41st game.

The first period was a wild one, with the Flyers grabbing a 2-0 lead only to see the Penguins answer with three goals in 55 seconds.

Voracek got it all started at 9:48 when he snapped a shot past a screened Fleury. It was the first time the Flyers opened the scoring since their season opener.

Simmonds netted his sixth goal of the season at 13:02 when he ripped an artistic backhand pass from Brayden Schenn into an open net. Simmonds didn't net his sixth goal until the 25th game of last season.

The Penguins didn't take long to regain the lead. Crosby's first goal of the night came from close to the goal line when he took a return pass from Patric Hornqvist and roofed a shot over the right shoulder of Mason, who allowed a similar bad-angle goal by Arizona's Ryan White on Thursday night.

"Last year I was in a similar spot (against Mason) and had a goal," Crosby said. "I think if you pick your head up and see it, you go for it."

Flyers rookie Ivan Provorov took a hooking penalty 31 seconds later and Crosby made the Flyers pay, this time snapping his fourth goal of the season past Mason from the low slot.

Only 12 seconds later -- before the Philadelphia crowd could finish booing the Penguins' captain, Pittsburgh took a 3-2 lead on Cullen's second goal of the season, a behind-the-net stuffer with 3:21 remaining in the opening period.

NOTES: Penguins D Kris Letang sat out his fifth straight game with an upper body injury. David Warsofsky took his place in the lineup. Letang is expected to return to the lineup when the Penguins begin a three-game journey through California on Wednesday night. They'll face the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday and the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. ... Flyers veteran D Andrew MacDonald (one goal, one assist, minus-3 in eight games) was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. D Nick Schultz took his place in the lineup. ... The Flyers visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night. They'll play three of their next four games and four of their next six on the road.

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