-The Post-Gazette's recap from yesterday game. “I think we have a good thing going right now. I think we have to keep going on that pace and show what we’re capable of doing. Most important thing is we’re winning games, and we’re playing as a team, and we played for 60 minutes.” - Defenseman Kris Letang.
-The Associated Press' recap. "When you just stand there and don't have much to do, it's tough to keep a good rhythm and you have to find little things to do. I was watching the guys and we were dominating and controlling the play, so that was fun to watch." - Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
-The Cherry Hill (N.J.) Courier-Post's recap. “We circled this game a long time ago. For us not to have the result that we’re looking for, it’s definitely frustrating, but we’ve got to do a good job of putting this behind us and be ready for the next one.” - Flyers captain/forward Claude Giroux.
-The Philadelphia Inquirer's recap. "It was a day where we couldn't find any energy and we just couldn't get ourselves going in the right direction. Obviously, it comes at a bad time and against the wrong team, but that's what it is." - Flyers coach Dave Hakstol.
-Fleury was thirsty:
-A good look at Letang's empty net goal:
-Captain/center Sidney Crosby fended off Flyers defenseman Mark Streit from this puck:
-Flyers coach Steve Mason had a moment alone:
-Head coach Mike Sullivan speaks:
-“I think it’s an indication of having a good team and the depth that we have. … For me it’s hats off to the players on our team. They’re embracing this challenge that we’re in and it’s been fun to watch.” - Sullivan on playing without franchise center Evgeni Malkin.
-What have been the Penguins' best wins of the season?
-Two goals by center Dustin Jeffrey led the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 4-1 win against the Hershey Bears. Goaltender Tristan Jarry made 25 saves for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
-Several unsigned Penguins prospects could be on the verge of signing amateur tryout contracts with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
-Goaltender J.P. Anderson made 22 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 5-2 win against the Kalamazoo Wings. Forward Dan O’Donaghue recorded two assists for Wheeling.
-Happy 31st birthday to former Penguins center Ryan Stone. A second-round pick in 2003, Stone spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 2007-08, he played in six games and recorded one assist. He followed that up in 2008-09 by seeing action in two games and failing to net a point. During the 2009 offseason, Stone joined the Oilers as a free agent.
-Happy 62nd birthday to former Penguins left winger Charlie Simmer. Far more renowned for his days as an all-star with the Kings and the "Triple Crown Line," Simmer was claimed by the Penguins off waivers from the Bruins prior to the 1987-88 season. He appeared in 50 games for the Penguins that season and recorded 28 points. The following season, Simmer, who was once married to 1981 Playmate of the Year Terri Welles, joined Eintracht Frankfurt in West Germany. At the time of his retirement as a professional player in 1992, he was the last active California Golden Seal and NHL Cleveland Baron.
-Today would've been the 74th birthday of former Penguins defenseman Bill Speer. A member of the first Penguins team in 1967-68, Speer spent the first two seasons of his NHL career in Pittsburgh. As a rookie in 1967-68, he saw action in 68 games and scored 16 points. He followed that up in 1968-69 by playing in 34 games and scoring five points. During the 1969 off season, he was selected by the Bruins in an intra-league draft. In 102 games with the Penguins, Speer recorded 21 points. He was killed in a snowmobile accident in 1989 at the age of 47.
-After the Jump: Spacey in Space!
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Mitch McConnell and the Senate republicans have declared that they will not even consider any Supreme Court nominee that Obama puts forward to replace the late Antonin Scalia. They say that in order for the people to have a voice, they need to wait until the next president is elected and chooses a nominee. They really haven't thought this through, have they?
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Observations from the Penguin's 4-1 win against the Flyers.
The Penguins are never going to replace superstar center Evgeni Malkin while he's absent from the lineup due to an undisclosed injury. There just isn't any way to truly fill the void his injury creates.
But that doesn't mean they can't keep winning without him.
When it was announced last week that Malkin would be sidelined six to eight weeks due to a suspected left hand or wrist injury, plenty of observers, including the author of this little corner of the Internet, forecast plenty of gloom for the Penguins' playoff hopes.
They've responded by winning four consecutive games, including two contests directly against opponents they're competing for playoff positioning with, since Malkin left the lineup.
A big reason for this success has been Malkin's replacement on the second line, center Nick Bonino.
Acquired last offseason in a deal which sent sturdy but increasingly expensive third-line center Brandon Sutter to Vancouver, Bonino's season has largely been unremarkable. A former 20-goal scorer in Anaheim, Bonino's scoring touch has largely been absent in his first season with the Penguins. A hand injury which cost him 17 games in January and February didn't help matters. While Bonino offered something on the penalty kill and faceoff, he just wasn't nearly making a large enough impact.
Until the last two games.
In Thursday's 4-2 home win against the Hurricanes, he read a pasing play between left winger Carl Hagelin and right winger Phil Kessel and gained position to bank in an easy goal off a Kessel pass. Today, he made sharp passes off the left wing to set up goals by defenseman Trevor Daley and Hagelin.
It's only two games and it doesn't overshadow what has been a largely disappointing season for Bonino, but he's starting to show off the skillset which made him a productive player in Anaheim as well as Vancouver and it couldn't come at a better time.
The Flyers nearly took the game's first lead 50 seconds into play. After Daley made an ill-advised pinch, Center Brayden Schenn created a two-on-one rush with center Claude Giroux against defenseman Brian Dumoulin. Gaining he offensive zone on the left wing, he fed the pass to Giroux in the right circle. Giroux fed it back to Schenn who tapped a seemingly easy goal off the side of the cage. A goal there would have had the building going bonkers and could have changed the entire route of he game.
After the teams exchanged a few lifeless power plays, the Flyers took the game's first lead 1:58 into the second period. Settling a puck at the right point, defnseman Radko Gudas zipped a wrister towards the cage. The puck appeared to glance off defenseman Kris Letang and deflected by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's blocker on the far side. Assists went to Schenn and left winger Wayne Simmonds.
The Penguins tied the game, 1-1, 1:01 later. On a delayed penalty, Bonino cycled out of the right wing corner, fended off defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and snapped a cross-ice pass to Daley deep in the left circle. Daley approached the net and sneaked a wrister by the glove hand of Mason on the near side. Bonino and center Eric Fehr had assists.
They took their first lead of the day, 2-1, thanks to some strong defense from an unlikely source. Flyers center Ryan White tried to cycle the puck around his end boards but lost it thanks to a strong forecheck by right winger Phil Kessel. Kessel knocked the puck loose and Bonino followed up on the play by dealing a pass from the left half wall to Hagelin in the high slot. Hagelin took the pass and popped a slapper by Mason's glove hand with 3:04 left in the second period. Bonino had the only assist.
It was a 3-1 game 1:29 later. After Flyers defenseman Mark Streit fumbled a puck at the Penguins' left point, right winger Patric Hornqvist stole it and chipped a pass to center Sidney Crosby in the neutral zone. Crosby gained the offensive zone on the left wing, glided to the left circle and waited for the play to develop. He fed a pass to left winger Chris Kunitz in the high slot. Kunitz wound up and blasted a one-timer which missed the net and hit off the end boards. The puck deflected to the left of the crease, bounced off the back of Mason's left skate and skidded into the net. Assists went to Crosby and Hornqvist.
An empty net goal by defenseman Kris Letang - which required a lengthy review to confirm, secured the win with 1:38 left in regulation. Kunitz and Crosby had assists.
-The chemistry Bonino has developed over the past two games with Kessel and Hagelin has been pretty evident. They have read off each other pretty well and know how to support one another. Additionally, he was steady on the penalty kill and led all Penguins forwards with 3:08 of short-handed ice time.
-Kessel did not have a point today but this might have been one of his most impressive games of the season. He was pretty well engaged in the play and was a force on the forecheck.
-We liked what the third line provided today. Right wingers Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl and center Matt Cullen went right at the Flyers phsyically and didn't back down. This isn't the Broad Street Bullies by any means but the Flyers still have some aggression in their DNA and the Penguins' third line was more than willing to engage them.
-Even if you discount his goal, Letang had another monster game. He was involved in seemingly every aspect of the game. He's quietly been the Penguins' most dominating player for quite a few weeks.
-Center Oskar Sundqvist was in the lineup after being recalled. He had 5:51 of ice time on 11 shifts and took an interference penalty (which may have been induced by some embellishment by Giroux).
-It would be a stretch to say Fleury was tested. He had a pretty light workload but was up to the task.
-At the risk of taking anything away from the Penguins, the Flyers just didn't have it in this game. After a fairly quick start to the game for them, they just couldn't sustain anything. They could barely even hang onto he puck. This was a team which was 7-1-1 in its previous nine games and it didn't resemble that form in any fashion.
-Gudas was actually the Flyers' steadiest offensive force. ... That's not a good thing if you're rooting for the Flyers.
-Gudas was also involved in some of the limited chippiness this game saw. At one point, he head-butted Cullen in a scrum.
-The discrepancy in depth on defense between these two teams was pretty evident. The Flyers just couldn't get out of their zone consistently enough.
-We're not sure goaltending would have made a difference for the Flyers in this game, but Mason only started because Michal Neuvirth was dealing with an undisclosed ailment. Mason could have made fairly routine saves on the goals by Daley and Hagelin and kept his team in better position to win this game. At the same time, he stopped a handful of breakways and odd-man rushes.
-Apparently Neuvirth's ailment was a last minute thing:
BTW, Steve Mason knew 20 minutes before the warmups that he was going to be the starting goalie.— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) March 19, 2016
-The Penguins' power play (0 for 3 / four shots) was bad. Thankfully for them, the Flyers' power play (0 for 3 / three shots) was worse.
-For a Penguins-Flyers game, this was a pretty tame affair. There was little in the way of scrums or little post-whistle shenanigans.
-Head coach Sullivan liked how his team played:
"I thought it was the most complete game that we've played to this point at both ends of the rink. I thought when it came to defend, we defended hard. Our attention to detail was really good. I thought everybody trusted one another out here and when we play that way, we're hard to play against. This was obviously an important game for both teams. We're playing against a very good team that's won a lot of games recently and I thought from our standpoint, it's the most complete game we've had."
-Sullivan lauded Kessel's forecheck which led to Hagelin's goal:
"I thought that was a big part of the game. He's a big body, he's strong and when he engages like that, he's hard to play against. I thought he made the whole play. It was a terrific play all around but I thought Phil made the whole play as far as creating that turnover and that's what we need more of from everybody for us to become the type of team we need to become."
-Sullivan talked about trying to replace Malkin:
"It's never easy when you lose key players regardless of what team you are. When those circumstances occur, it provides opportunity for young guys to step up or for other players on your roster to provide a significant role. When [Malkin] went down, obviously we talked with our guys about that. That's a tough blow to our team. He's a really good player. He's hard to replace. I don't think we replace him with any one guy but what we can do is everyone that's playing more minutes and a more significant role, it's a great opportunity and we've challenged them to embrace it. I think it's an indication of having a good team and the depth that we have within our organization that we have different guys stepping up at different times that's helping us get the results."
-Letang dismissed any significance to the game in regards to the standings:
“I don't think we're looking so much at the standings. We just want to get in the playoffs. That's the main goal of every team. Once you're in, anything can happen.”
-Fleury talked about the Flyers' fast start:
“They always do come hard when we play here. They start very hard. We got a little fortunate, those two-on-one [rushes], especially the first one. He had an open net. After that, our [defense] made them [make] mistakes. It was good. It was 0-0 after that. We kind of weathered the storm. After that, we were very solid."
-The Penguins controlled shots, 35-17.
-Cullen led the game with five shots.
-Gudas, Schenn, Giroux, SImmonds, centers Nick Cousins, Sam Gagner and left winger Michael Raffl each led the Flyers with two shots.
-Letang led the game with 27:57 of ice time.
-Gostisbehere led the Flyers with 23:22 of ice time.
-The Flyers controlled faceoffs, 43-23 (65 percent).
-Giroux was 18 for 26 (69 percent).
-Crosby was 11 for 23 (48 percent).
-Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald led the game with five blocked shots.
-Center Eric Fehr led the Penguins with three blocked shots.
-Crosby's assist on Letang's goal was his 927th career point and made him the 100th leading scorer in NHL history.
-Crosby has an 11-game scoring streak.
-The Penguins made a little team history:
Pens now 32-0-0 leading after 2, best mark in team history since NHL began tracking it in 1987.— Bob Grove (@bobgrove91) March 19, 2016
-The Flyers' shot total was a historic low:
Fewest shots (17) allowed by Pens vs. Flyers in more than 48 years (16 @ Pgh Jan. 6, 1968) and fewest ever in Philadelphia.— Bob Grove (@bobgrove91) March 19, 2016
-Kunitz (355 points) moved past right winger Alexei Kovalev (354 points) for 16th place on the franchise's career scoring list.
(Photos: Matt Slocum/Associated Press)
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A preview of the Flyers.
When and where: 1 p.m., EDT, CoreStates Center First Union Center Wachovia Center Wells Fargo Center.
TV: Root Sports, CSN Philadelphia.
Record: 34-23-12, 80 points. The Flyers are in fifth place in the Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division.
Leading Scorer: Center Claude Giroux, 59 points (18 goals, 41 assists).
Last Game: 3-2 road win against the Blackhawks Wednesday. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth made 24 saves for the Flyers.
Last Game against the Penguins: 4-3 road loss Jan. 21. Giroux, center Brayden Schenn (right) and right winger Jakub Voracek each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers.
Flyers Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Giroux. He has 34 points in 33 career games against the Penguins.
Ex-Penguins on the Flyers: Assistant coach Joe Mullen, amateur scout Simon Nolet, player development coach Kjell Samuelsson.
Ex-Flyers on the Penguins: Player development coach Mark Recchi, assistant coach Rick Tocchet.
Useless Flyers Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Flyers center R.J. Umberger has 179 career goals. He is tied with former Penguins left winger Ryan Malone for the most goals by a Pennsylvania-born player in NHL history.
The last time the Penguins played the Flyers, this happened:
Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (30-16-6, 2.32 GAA, .922 SV%) for the Penguins. Mason (17-15-4, 2.61 GAA, .915 SV%) for the Flyers.
Injuries: For the Penguins, defenseman Ben Lovejoy ("upper body"), center Evgeni Malkin ("upper body") and left winger Scott Wilson (right ankle/foot) are out. Right wingers Beau Bennett (right shoulder), Pascal Dupuis (blood clots) and center Kevin Porter (right ankle) are on injured reserve. For the Flyers, Voracek (foot) is probable. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto (left wrist) is on injured reserve.
Potential lines and defensive pairings: Neither team had a morning skate. Consider this a guess at the Penguins' lines and pairings:
14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 72 Patric Hornqvist
62 Carl Hagelin - 13 Nick Bonino - 81 Phil Kessel
34 Tom Kuhnhackl - 7 Matt Cullen - 17 Bryan Rust
43 Conor Sheary - 40 Oskar Sundqvist - 16 Eric Fehr -
3 Olli Maatta - 58 Kris Letang
8 Brian Dumoulin - 6 Trevor Daley
28 Ian Cole - 4 Justin Schultz
-The Flyers expected lines and pairings are:
10 Brayden Schenn - 28-Claude Giroux - 17 Wayne Simmonds
12 Michael Raffl - 14 Sean Couturier - 89 Sam Gagner
24 Matt Read - 52 Nick Cousins - 93 Jake Voracek
21 Scott Laughton - 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 25 Ryan White
47 Andrew MacDonald - 53 Shayne Gostisbehere
55 Nick Schultz - 32 Mark Streit
23 Brandon Manning - 3 Radko Gudas
-Right winger Phil Kessel has 299 career assists.
-Flyers center Chris VandeVelde is suspended.
-Neuvirth has played in 199 career games.
-The referees are (No. 38) Francois St. Laurent and (No. 40) Steve Kozari. The linesmen are (No. 50) Scott Cherrey and (No. 82) Ryan Galloway.
(Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)