Empty Netter Assists - 03-17-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Dave Molinari's recap from yesterday's game. "I don't think there are any moral victories here. We have to be light-years better." - Craig Adams.

-The Philadelphia Inquirer's recap. "Our power play has been together for three years now, and everybody knows exactly where to go, so it's pretty easy." - Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds on his team's special teams success.

-The (Cherry Hill, N.J.) Courier-Post's recap. “It proves we’re a good hockey team. We already knew that, but you come out with four points against the Penguins in a home-and-home, back-to-back, it’s two big victories for us. We realize that and have to move on to the next one.” - Flyers goaltender Steve Mason.

-The Associated Press' recap. Sidney Crosby was held without a point in back to back games.


-Mike Lange's goal calls.

-Evgeni Malkin lugged the puck up ice as Philadelphia's Andrew MacDonald defended:

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Sidney Crosby speaks:

-Matt Niskanen speaks:

-Welcome back Beau Bennett and Kris Letang ... to practice.

-Crosby saw plenty of Flyers forward Sean Couturier this weekend.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins assigned goaltender Eric Hartzell to the Wheeling Nailers.

-An overtime goal by Dustin Stevenson gave the Nailers a 3-2 win against Reading Royals. Hartzell made 25 saves in the victory.

-According to a report in the Czech Republic, former Penguins forward Petr Sykora has retired. Sykora, 37, last played for Bern of Switzerland's NLA in 2012-13 and last played in the NHL for the Devils in 2011-12. Spending two season with the Penguins, Sykora played in 157 games with the Penguins and scored 109 points. He also appeared in 27 postseason games for the Penguins, scored 10 points and was a member of the club's 2009 Stanley Cup championship. Arguably, Sykora's most notable moment with the Penguins came in the 2008 Stanley Cup final when he scored a goal in the third overtime of a 3-2 win at Detroit in Game 5. In addition to the Penguins and Devils, Sykora spent time with the Might Ducks, Rangers, Oilers and Wild franchise. In 1,017 career NHL games, he scored 721 points:

-Happy 44th birthday to former Penguins forward Patrick Lebeau. A free agent signing in October of 1998, Lebeau appeared in eight games for the Penguins in 1998-99 and recorded one goal. The following season, he joined HC Ambri-Piotta of the NLA in Switzerland.

-Happy 51st birthday to former Penguins defenseman Tom Thornbury. A third-round pick of the club in 1981, Thornbury's entire NHL career amounted to 14 games with the 1983-84 Penguins in which he recorded nine points. Midway through the 1984-85 season, he was dealt to the Quebec Nordiques in exchange for Brian Ford.

-Happy 35th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Andrew Ference. An eighth-round pick in 1997, Ference spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1999-2000, Ference appeared in 30 games and recorded six points. In 2000-01, Ference saw action in 36 games and netted 15 points. During the 2001 postseason, he saw action in 18 contests and recorded 10 points. Ference finally broke through as a full-time NHLer in 2001-02 by seeing action in 75 games and scoring 11 points. After 22 games and four points in 2002-03, Ference was traded to the Flames in exchange for a third-round pick. He currently plays with the Oilers. In 163 career regular season games with the Penguins, Ference scored 36 points.

-After the Jump: Marian Hossa returns to the lineup while Jordan Staal keeps scoring.

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Talkin' Bout Practice - March 16

Written by Sam Werner on .

IMG 6314Ladies and gentlemen, it's football season.

Well, sort of. Pitt held its first spring practice of the 2014 season tonight. If you missed it in today's paper, here's a look at the five biggest questions Pitt will look to address this spring.

Now, here are a few notes and observations from today's session...

- Pitt practiced today in just helmets (and, you know, other clothing, but no pads). This is the first of three NCAA-mandated helmets-only practices. The second one will be Tuesday's, and then the third one can be at any point during the spring.

- There were a good number of visitors at today's practice, including 2013 signees Phillipie MotleyShane RoyMike GrimmAlex Bookser, and Dennis Briggs. Former quarterback Tom Savage was also in attendance as he prepares for May's NFL Draft.

- The following guys are coming into the spring with lingering injuries that may hold them out of practices: LT Adam Bisnowaty (back), OL Gabe Roberts (shoulder), LB Zach Poker (shoulder), DE Devin Cook (knee) and WR Kevin Weatherspoon (foot).

- Bisnowaty sounds like the most serious of the injuries, with the lingering back issues that has hounded him for a while. That said, Paul Chryst was still optimistic that he would be able to return in some capacity later this spring.
"Obviously we want to get something out of him, but it's still the spring and not at the expense of any type of setback," Chryst said. "You don't really know, so you just kind of keep taking it practice by practice and see what he can end up giving us. We'd err on being caution with Biz. He's a young player, but he's played alot of football."

- With Bisnowaty out, redshirt freshman Jaryd Jones-Smith got most of the first team reps at left tackle. As with all personnel things at this point, it's so early that everything must be taken with a huge grain of salt, but Paul Chryst said after practice that he envisioned Jones-Smith and TJ Clemmings getting most of the reps at tackle with Bisnowaty out. John Guy and Carson Baker were the two tackles on the second team.

- Along that vein, it seems like Dorian Johnson is settling in at guard. I know there was initially some question as to whether he would settle at guard or tackle (and it's still early enough that he could go either way) but he spent today's practice at the left guard spot left vacant by the graduation of Cory King. I think Pitt's ideal starting line next year would be Bisnowaty-Johnson-Rowell-Rotheram-Clemmings.

- In addition to Tyler BoydManasseh Garner and Ronald Jones got the first reps with the first team today. Garner is moving towards being more of a true receiver this year, and coaches have been pretty effusive in their praise of Jones as he comes back from last year's suspension. I wouldn't be surprised if these were the first three receivers on the field next season. Chris Wuestner and Dontez Ford got the first reps with the second team.

- We all had a bit of a laugh when Trey Anderson was the first quarterback to get first team reps in offensive drills, but, alas, there will be no quarterback controversy as Chad Voytik took over with the first unit after only a few snaps with the second team.

- Jones and Boyd got most of the action as punt returners during special teams drills.

- I should also note that, despite Chris Haering now being special teams coach, there wasn't a big difference with how practices were run with regard to special teams. It was still a team effort, coaching-wise, with everyone helping out.

- One thing I was interested this spring is how Chryst would divide his time, now that he's the quarterbacks coach. He definitely spent more time with Voytik and Anderson than other position groups today, but also bounced around to the other position groups during individual drills. He did spend most of the practice working with the offense.
"I want to make sure that those guys [the quarterbacks] get a little break from me too," he said. "I still want to be around, see what's happening with other position gruops and all that. I feel good with the number of coaches around and [quarterbacks GA] Jon [Budmayr] that I can balance it out pretty good."

James Conner has apparently changed his number to 24. When asked about possibly playing defense this year, he said he would do whatever the coaches asked of him. But it does sound like any defensive work Conner does will be on a situational basis at most.

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No wayback machine needed, Peabody & Sherman No. 1

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .


“Mr. Peabody & Sherman” sped to the top of the weekend box office with an estimated $21.2 million, putting its gross so far at $63 million. 
It vaulted ahead of the second “300” and newcomer “Need for Speed” starring Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper and lots of cars you and I will never be able to afford. Or drive at 230 mph. 
Here are the early numbers, courtesy of Rentrak which tracks the box office:
NeedforSpeed31. “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” — $21,200,000, bringing its total so far to $63,179,916.
2. “300: Rise of an Empire” — $19,105,000, for $78,310,553 to date. 
3. “Need for Speed” — $17,808,000.
4. “Non-Stop” — $10,615,305, for $68,805,115 since release.
5. “Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club” — $8,300,000.
6. “The Lego Movie” — $7,705,000, for an impressive $236,931,928 since it hit theaters in early February.
7. “Son of God” — $5,400,000, for $50,874,708 since release.
8. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” —$3,640,000 from just 66 locations, for $4,778,940 in limited release.
9. “Frozen” — $2,117,000, for $396,356,000 since Thanksgiving. It arrives on DVD Tuesday, so it may or may not hit $400 million in North America. 
10. “Veronica Mars” — $2,021,000. 
In case you’re wondering when the “Grand Budapest Hotel” will open in Pittsburgh, the answer is Friday, March 21, although so far it’s listed only at AMC-Loews at the Waterfront and the Manor in Squirrel Hill. The image below, of Adrien Brody, is from the Wes Anderson movie.


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PIAA announces semifinal sites

Written by Mike White on .

All of the WPIAL basketball teams playing in the PIAA semifinals will be part of doubleheaders Tuesday.

The PIAA released semifinal sites this morning. This is the second year that all semifinal games will be played on the same night. In the past, half of the semifinals were played Tuesday and half Wednesday. But the PIAA changed last year in order to give all teams a little more time to make travel plans if they win and play in the championships Friday and Saturday in Hershey.

In Class AAAA boys, New Castle will play Abington at Chambersburg at 7:30 p.m. This is the second consecutive year New Castle has made it to the semifinals. Abington won a PIAA game this season for the first time in 26 years.

In Class AAA, Central Valley will play Susquehanna Township at Altoona at 7:30 p.m. 

In Class AA, Seton-LaSalle will play Greensburg Central Catholic at North Allegheny at 7:30 p.m. This is a rematch of the WPIAL championship.

In Class A, Lincoln Park will play Bishop Carroll at Hempfield at 7:30 p.m.

Now for the girls semifinals Tuesday: In Class AAAA, North Allegheny will play Spring-Ford at Chambersburg at 6.

In Class AAA, Blackhawk meets Palmyra at Altoona at 6.

In Class AA, Seton-LaSalle takes on Burrell at North Allegheny at 6. This is a rematch of the WPIAL championship.

In Class A, Vincentian plays Bishop Guilfoyle at Hempfield at 6.

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Flyers at Penguins - 03-16-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Chris Kunitz is out of the lineup once again. Given the Penguins' considerable lead in the Atlantic Division, we're willing to be his absence yesterday was more of a luxury than a necessity. In other words, if the Penguins were in a fight to stay in the playoff race or an actual playoff game, Kunitz would have played. Instead, the team opted to rest him.

-Surprisingly, Marc-Andre Fleury will get the start today. He was hardly to blame for yesterday's rout. He was under assault most of the afternoon. Given the Penguins' secure position in the standings, it seems like starting Jeff Zatkoff would offer some long-term benefits to Fleury.

-Fleury's start today certainly makes the decision to keep him in the game for the third period of yesterday's contest seem curious.

-We have to imagine the Penguins will come out with a more determined effort today. They were exceptionally flat yesterday. A loss like that to a rival will usually and presumably provide plenty of motivation for the next game, especially if it's against that same team.

-We chatted with Lee Stempniak Friday about growing up near Buffalo as a Sabres fan in the 1990s. He said power forward Dave Andreychuk was his favorite player. Considering the waterbug-like Stempniak is the furthest thing from a power forward who will park himself in front of the net, his fondness of Andreychuk is a bit ironic.

-This morning, Dan Bylsma was asked how the additions of Stempniak and Marcel Goc as well as the newer injuries up front to Kunitz and Neal might impact how Deryk Engelland is used as a forward. Bylsma said, "We have more depth at the forward position. I'm not going to say it's not going to happen but it's unlikely. He goes in there, our record is extremely good with him at forward. He does have some attributes. But [today], he'll be playing defense and not forward position."

-That would presumably mean a healthy scratch for either Simon Despres or Robert Bortuzzo today. Even though Despres played a solid game yesterday with Engelland, he did take an early penalty against Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo which led to the game's first goal. That won't help Despres' case to stay in the lineup.

-The barn:

-The ice:

-The always rare Johan Hedberg/Ron Francis combination:

-Simon Despres:

-Eric Tangradi Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins:

-Olli Maatta jerseys are being more and more common:

-Sidney Crosby Team Canada:

-Brooks Orpik Team USA:

-Noted fan Cy Clark is on hand with "support" for Scott Hartnell:

-Fans entering the barn:

-There are several Flyers fans on hand. Wayne Simmonds:

-The always rare Ian Laperriere/Dave Brown combination:

-The natives do not like the visitors:

-A few former Penguins/Flyers who wore No. 25. Kevin Stevens:

-Maxime Talbot:

-Jersey of the Day: Arguably the greatest Penguins/Flyers player of all time, Rick Tocchet:


-According to the team's Web site, these were the lines in warmups:

Tanner Glass - Sidney Crosby - Lee Stempniak
Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - Joe Vitale
Marcel Goc - Brandon Sutter - Craig Adams
Taylor Pyatt - Brian Gibbons - Jayson Megna

Brooks Orpik - Matt Niskanen
Olli Maatta - Robert Bortuzzo
Rob Scuderi - Deryk Engelland

-That's quite a change from yesterday. That said, we wouldn't anticipate these being set in stone.

-The Penguins' starters are Tanner Glass, Sidney Crosby, Lee Stempniak, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Simon Despres, Chris Kunitz and James Neal.

-The Flyers' starters are Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek, Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen and Steve Mason.

-Their scratches are Hal Gill, Erik Gusafsson and Jay Rosehill.


19:38: Lee Stempniak wakes up the early afternoon crown by dumping Timonen hard into the boards in front of the Flyers' penalty box. Ouch.

19:16: Giroux snaps off wrister from the slot wide of the cage.

19:03: Jokinen takes a pass in the right circle and pounds a slapper which Mason fights off with his glove.

18:26: A wrister by Brayden Schenn from the left wing is blocked by Scuderi

17:54: The Flyers' strike first. Vincent Lecavalier sneaks up the left wing behind Bortuzzo and takes a pass. As Niskanen lays down to attempt a block, Lecavalier is able to tuck the puck around Niskanen's skates to Simmonds in the slot. Simmonds lifts a wrister but Fleury is able to reach back and fight it off with his blog hand. TA rebound rolls around. Boills drops to his to block it but Brayden Schenn is able to punch it to the wide open cage. Oof. FLeury did what the could on that play but there was only so much he could do. Simmonds and Leavalier get assists. Flyers 1-0.

17:16: Zac Rinaldo pounds Borut io the righ wing corner of the Penguins' zone..

17:05: Sean Couturier releases a wrister from the left wing but is dumped hard by Orpik. FLeury makes the save.

16:15: There's a lot of hitting early. Scuderi plays a puck from behind his net and is dumped into the end boards by Simmonds.

15:16: Mark Streit releases a one-time from the right point. It clunks off the cross bar.

15:02: Hartnell runs over Stempniak in the neutral zone. Crosby gives Hartnell a shove afterwards. Bortuzzo makes a beeline for Hartnell and gives him the business as well. Play is halted and Bortuzzo is called for intefernece. Sutter, Adams, Orpik and Scuderi take the ice.

13:13: Whoa! Voracek has a prim chance all aloen in the right circle and hwips a wrister it sneaks behin Fleury where Maatta able to clear it out of danger.  The rebound is dealt to Timonen at the center point. He winds up and cranks a slapper which hits off a stick or two and gets behind Fleury. What a sequence. Timonen and Giroux get assists. Flyers 2-0.

12:23: Fleury is keeping his team in this. Michael Raffl taps a pass from the right circle to Read in the slot. read jabs it on net. FLeury stretches to his right and kicks it out his his skate.

11:06: The hole gets deeper for the Penguins as Malkin dropped Rinaldo in the Flyers' left circle after Rinaldo held onto his stick. That's two minutes for roughing. Not a great display of discipline. Rinaldo sold the play but he sucked Malkin right in. Adams, Oprik, Scuderi and Sutter take the ice.

9:52: Andrew MacDonald chops a slap/pass from the left half wall to the slot. xx is position in th slot and gets a stick on it. Fleury's left leg kicks otu the re-direction.

9:23: Timonen ounds a one-timer from the slot. Fleury fights it off despite traffic.

9:06: Malkin's minor expires. The Flyers had a few decent chances there.

8:29: Crosby races in off the right wing and snaps off a wrister which Mason bats away.

7:23: Taking a neutral zone pass, Megna races into the offensive zone and chucks a wrister from the right circle which Mason snags.

7:13: Another penalty. Pyatt battles for a puck in the right wing corner of the Flyers zone and gets the stick up into Adams Hall's face. Hall sells the penalty and the Penguins are back on the penalty kill. Adams, Sutter, Scuderi and Orpik take the ice.

7:04: Timonen sneaks a shot from the left point through a few bodies and stick. Fleury kicks it out.

6:50: Voracek fires a slapper from the right half wall. Fleury fights it off.

6:38: A slapper from the right point by Voracek is blocked by Adams.

6:36: The Flyers are loover the Penguins. Giroux corrals a puck at the left point and taps a pass down low to Simmons in front of the cage. Simmonds does that patented spin move his his and and jams the puck through Fleury's gear. What a display of dominance by the Flyers. Fleury is pulled in favor of Zatkoff. Fleury didn't deserve this. he was the only reason this game was half way close to start. Giroux and Voracek get assists. Flyers 3, Penguins 0.

4:02: Engelland rattles Rinaldo with a solid hit near the Penguins blue on the left wing.

3:27: Nicklas Grossman chops a slapper from the left point. It his a  body and deflects wide.

2:53: A wrister by Jokinen from the left wing is fought off by Mason.

2:35: Jokinen cuts inside a defender in the right circle and chucks it on net. Mason fights it off.

2:27: The Penguins break through finally. Controlling a puck in the right wing corner, the great Joe Vitale deals a pass to Bortuzzo at the right point. Bortuzzo moves it to Orpik at the left point. Orpik surveys the ice and chops a slapper which glances off a Flyers defender, hops off the ice and over the blocker of Mason on the near side. What an ugly goal. The shortstop might have been given an error on that groundball. Bortuzzo and Vitale get assists. The "Hey Song" is never ugly. Flyers 3-1.

1:48: With the crowd delirious after the goal, Bortuzzo sends them into a tizzy by slamming Matt Read to the ice at the Flyer's blue line. What a scene.

0:50: Stempniak hustles up the left wing and releases a wrister wide to the far side.

0:04: The Penguins draw their first power play of the game. Malkin battles for a puck behind the cage and is shoved down by Brayden Scehnn. Malkin didn't exactly provide a tone of resistance to that shove. Officials send Schenn off for interference. Crosby, Malkin, Stempniak, Jokinen and Niskanen take the ice.

0:00: End of period. Flyers 3, Penguins 1.


-If nothing else, the Penguins salvaged some self respect out of the latter stages of that period. The first 17 minutes or so were putrid. This wasn't even a matter of the considerable lack of depth by the Penguins. The Flyers had a purpose the Penguins looked lost.

-Again, Fleury didn't deserve this. His teammates bailed on him. Fleury's the reason this isn't a 6-0 game.

-Special teams have been a killer for the Penguins thus far. The Penguins haven't been very disciplined and the Flyers found a way to take advantage of it.

-That said, the officials seem quick to call penalties once again today. Each side has benefited by somewhat suspicious penalty calls.

-The Penguins' lines were all over the place that period.

-The Flyers lead in shots on net, 15-7.

-The Flyers have a 25-13 lead in attempted shots.

-Simmonds leads the game with four shots on net.

-Jokinen leads the Penguins with two shots.

-Rob Scuderi leads the game with 8:41 of ice time.

-MacDonald leads the Flyers with 7:25.

-The Penguins have an 11-9 lead in faceoffs (55 percent).

-Crosby is 5 for 8 (63 percent).

-Brayden Schenn is 2 for 4 (50 percent).

-No one has more than one blocked shot.

-Maatta graces the cover of IceTime:


20:00: The Penguins will have 1:56 of power-play time on fresh ice. Malkin, Stempniak, Crosby, Niskanen and Jokinen take the ice.

19:11: Stempniak thumps Couturier to the ice in the left wing corner of the Flyer zone.

18:49: Taking a pass from Crosby, Malkin leans down and cranks a one-time from the left circle. Mason hugs the near post and fights it off.

18:44: A slapper by Malkin is denied by Mason.

18:04: Brayden Schenn's minor expires. The Penguins had some solid puck possession but did little in terms of creating quality chances.

15:09: Attendance is announced as 18,647. It is the team's 317th consecutive sellout.

14:27: After Zatkoff fails to collect a puck behind his own net, Luke Schenn hustel up on the right wing and chucks it on net. Zatkoff scramble to his crease and kicks it out.

14:10: Matt Niskanen to the rescue. The great Joe Vitale chips and chases a puck in deep on the right wing and beats MacDonald to it in the corner. He move it to Jokinen in the left corner. Jokinen slide it to Scuderi at the left point. Scuderi then move it to Niskanen at the right point. Niskanen tees up a slapper which rises up on Mason and blows by him on the near side. Vitale has a solid screen on Mason. What a display of puck movement. Vitale created that entire play. Scuderi and Jokinen get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Flyers 3-2.

12:02: Battling for a puck behind the Penguins' net, Brayden Schenn rattles Engelland with a solid shoulder hit.

11:48: Glass slams Grossman into the right corner boards of the Flyers zone on a forecheck.

9:59: Off a faceoff in the Penguins' right circle, Bortuzzo cross checks Downie a handful to times and breaks his stick. No call. 

9:24: Off a defenisve breakdown by the Penguins, Couturier has a prime chance in the slot. Zatkoff snags it. A scurm breksout with Doesie and Engelland in the middle of it. Downie ends up with a roughing minor. Jokinen, Stempniak, Crosby, Niskanen and Malkin take the ice.

7:52: A breakdown by the Penguins leads to another Flyers goal. Engelland, inexplicable, is on the power play and fumbles a puck at the left point. As he falls down, that creates a short-handed two-on-one for the Flyers. Read pishes he puck up the left wing as Maatta takes away a pass to Couturier.  Read takes the shot and whips a wrister behind Zatkoff for a short-handed goal. We know things are bad with injuries, but why was Deryk Engelland out there on the power play, even on the junior varsity unit? Brayden Schenn gets the only assist. Flyers, 4-2.

7:24: The Penguins' pwer play comes to and end mercifully.

7:00: Another power play for the Penguins. Stempniak controls the puck in teFLyer left circl and is tripped up by Raffle. Crosby, Stempniak, Niskanen, Jokinen and Malkin take the ice.

5:00: Two minutes later, the Penguins accomplished next to nothing with that power play.

4:22: MacDonald chucks a wrister from center point. Zatkoff snags it. A small scrum breaks out but officials quickly snuff it out.

3:41: The Penguins won't go away. Off a neutral zone turnover by Raffl, Gibbons races up the left wing and sneaks a pass from the left circle by a sprawling Timonen to Megna crashing in off the right circle. Megna is able to jab the puck over Mason's left leg to make it a one-goal game once again. What an effort by the two call-ups from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Gibbons gets the only assist . The "Hey Song' is played. Flyers 4-3.

1:27: A wrister by Pyatt from the left circle is rejected by Mason.

0:02: A slapper by the great Joe Vitale at the right point is blocked.

0:00: End of period. Flyers 4, Penguins 3.


-The Penguins have done more than salvage self-respect this game. They have salvaged a winnable game.

-That was hardly a perfect period, but the Penguins outplayed the Flyers for most of the second. They were a little sharper in execution and showed a little more effort.

-Special teams are a mess for the Penguins today. They've taken too many penalties, looked feeble on the penalty kill and disorganized on the power play.

-The absences of Kunitz and Neal are killing them on the power play.

-How depleted are the Penguins? Their J.V. power play was composed of Sutter, Pyatt, Gibbons, Maatta and Engelland.

-We're pretty sure we once saw a power play with Ian Moran, Drake Berehowsky, Aleksey Morozov, Dan Lacouture and Milan Kraft. So things could be worse.

-Zatkoff could have made a better play on the Flyers' fourth goal. We know it was off a an odd-man rush but that was a preventable goal.

-The Flyers lead in shots on net, 24-12.

-The Flyers have a 41-25 lead in attempted shots.

-Simmonds leads the game with five shots.

-Megna, Malkin and Jokinen each lead the game with two shots.

-Niskanen leads the Penguins with 16:40 of ice time.

-Coburn leads the Flyers with 15:45.

-The Flyers have a 20-16 lead in faceoffs (56 percent).

-Giroux is 6 for 12 (50 percent).

-Sutter is 3 for 5 (60 percent).

-MacDonald leads the game with three blocked shots.

-Maatta leads the Flyers with two blocked shots.


20:00: As we begin the third period, it looks like one of the referees is missing.

19:20: Coburn lifts a wrister from the right wing is fought off by Zatkoff.

19:09: Gibbons takes a pass down low from Crosby, Gibbons tries to turn over a puck to his forehand but can't get a clean shot off.

18:31: A slapper by Streit on the left wing is fought off by Zatkoff.

17:17: Off a defensive zone turnover by Orpik, Lecavalier chucks a wrister on net from the right circle. Zatoff eats it up.

16:52: Bortuzzo airmails a slapper from the neutral zone. Mason snags it.

16:37: Maatta chops a slapper from the center point. It hops in on net where its block. Megna is in the slot and is able to settle the puck but can't get it under Mason who does a snow angle to stop it. Play is halted as Read is called for hooking Megna. Malkin, Nsiaknen, Crosby, Stempniak and Jokinen take the ice. This is a big two minutes.

16:23: Niskanen cranks a slapper from the right half wall. Mason fights it off despite a screen.

14:58: Gibbons sneaks a little pass from the right wing to Pyatt in the right circle. Pyatt jabs a littl shot which is blocked.

14:37: The Read minor expires with little threat.

13:20: A slapper by Coburn from the right point is blocked by Glass.

13:07: A slapper by Timonen from the center point is eaten up by Zatkoff.

12:14: Malkin drives to the net off the right wing and lifts a wrister which Mason snags.

11:58: Stealing a puck at the Flyers' blue line, Malkin races in off the right wing and snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Mason's blocker punches it away.

10:02: Engelland smacks Simmonds with a solid hit in front of the scorer's booth.

9:15: MacDonald golfs a slapper from the right point wide on the near side.

8:36: Malkin sneaks his way up the right wing and flings a backhander off the side of the net.

7:55: Bortuzzo takes a pass from Maatta in an awkward position in his own left circle and is slammed to the ice by Hartnell.

7:10: A wrister by Simmonds in the right circle is fought off by Zatkoff.

6:41: Crosby flips a forehand shot from the right wing and is denied by Mason.

6:31: The Flyer create a a two-on-one as Raffle pushes the puck up the right win against Engelland. Engelland plays the puck well and knocks it off Raffl's stick with a poke check.

4:12: Megna appears to take a stick to the face near the Penguins' bench. NO call.

2:20: The Flyers are in chip-and-change mode. They're getting the puck deep and changing lines.

1:42: Marcel Goc backhands a puck from deep on the right wing on net. Mason snags it.

1:25: Zatkoff is pulled for an extra attacker.

0:38: Read whips a puck from the right circle over the open cage.

0:30: Crosby gets sprung loose on the right wing and lifts a wrister from the right circle which Mason fights off.

0:18: The Penguins call timeout to get organized.

0:03: Argh! Malkin flips a puck from the left circle to Crosby sneaks in to the right of the cage. Crosby lifts a backhander off the near post. So close!

0:00: End of game. As the final horn sounds massive scrum breaks out in the Flyers' left circle. Officials break it up after a few moments.  Flyers 4, Penguins 3.


-First things first, if you can believe such a thing, a bit of good news emerged with the Penguins after this game. Beau Bennett and Kris Letang were given medical clearance to resume practicing in full tomorrow. After an ugly weekend like this, that is spectacular news.

-Of more immediate concern is aforementioned ugly weekend. Today's game as a whole was much better than yesterday's performance, but it was still a decided sweep by the Flyers.

-The game really came down to the start. As Kimmo Timonen put it, "The way we started the game, it was perfect." That's really, a perfect way of describing the start.

-The Penguins weren't prepared at the beginning of today's game. Regardless of who is in the lineup, that's on the coaching staff. Dan Bylsma and company need to take the blame for how this game started.

-Marc-Andre Fleury was the reason the Penguins even had a chance to come back after that rotten stop. He gave up three goals on three point blank chances. He also stole approximately three goals. His teammates allowed the Flyers to abuse him.

-The Penguins' special teams were shredded today. For whatever reason, the Flyers just have their number in this area of the game. This isn't a new development. The Penguins have a pretty passive set up on their penalty kill and usually try to tie up sticks or block shots. The Flyers will accept the space the Penguins grant them and move the puck on the perimeter before finding some space open down below. It's really a marvel to watch some times.

-The Flyers' penalty kill is the complete opposite. It attacks. With the Penguins normally employing four forwards, the Flyers will chase the puck and pressure the point men. With the Penguins missing Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, James Neal and Paul Martin, the Flyers' splendid penalty kill hounded them into submission.

-Just like yesterday this was a very healthy team beating a very beat up team. Unlike yesterday, the beat up team offered a better showing.

-It's become cliched to describe the injuries as "excuses." It's factual to label them as reasons for this team's slide. The Penguins were missing $24.225 million in terms of salary cap hit totals from the lineup today. If you include Chris Pronger, who is essentially retired, the Flyers were missing $4.9 million.

-Is it really that difficult to figure out why the Flyers won these two games?

-There are several other factors the Penguins lost these two games, but it's undeniable that injuries were the biggest culprit.

-A lot of folks will get on Bylsma for using Deryk Engelland on the second power play. A turnover by Engelland led to the game-winning goal. Presumably Simon Despres would give you a little more offensive pop on the power play. That said, given the lineup used today, is Engelland a worst option in that situation than Robert Bortuzzo, Brooks Orpik or Rob Scuderi? Additionally, Jussi Jokinen and Lee Stempniak, forwards capable of playing the point, were already manning the first unit.

-Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin had their chances to win this late. Combined, they had five shots attempts. Mason stopped most of them and in once case, Crosby hit a post. The Penguins' best players has a chance to tie the game but couldn't do it. 

-The Flyers led in shots on net, 35-23.

-The Flyers led in attempted shots, 59-43.

-Wayne Simmonds led the game with six shots.

-Malkin led the Penguins with five shots.

-Matt Niskanen led the game with 27:11 of ice time.

-Braydon Coburn led the Flyers with 25:04.

-The Flyers led the game in faceoffs, 27-23 (54 percent).

-Giroux was 9-17 (53 percent).

-Crosby was 13 for 26 (50 percent).

-Andrew MacDonald led the Flyers with three shots.

-Niskanen, Maatta, Bortuzzo, Orpik each led the Penguins with two blocked shots.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.


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