Flyers miss opportunity to gain ground on Penguins

Forget the end of a record personal winning streak, a team-record shot total or seemingly outplaying an opponent.

The bottom line is this: The Flyers went into Monday night’s game with a chance to reduce Pittsburgh’s lead for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot to just four points.

When the night was over, the Flyers’ deficit was back up to eight points, mainly because Pittsburgh made the most of its scoring chances while the Flyers didn’t.

Sidney Crosby, Nick Bjugstad and Jake Guentzel managed to get pucks past Carter Hart and that was enough to end the rookie goalie’s NHL record-tying (for under 21 netminders) winning streak at eight games as Pittsburgh skated out of Wells Fargo Center with a 4-1 win.

It was the Flyers’ first regulation-time loss since a 3-2 defeat at New Jersey on Jan. 12. They had been 9-0-1 since then.

The Flyers didn’t want to hear about moral victories, even though they set a franchise record for shots in a period, recording a whopping 28 in the second period. The old mark was 25.

For the game, the Flyers finished with a 51-28 shot edge.

Flyers’ old nemesis Crosby gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 8:19 of the first period. Defenseman Travis Sanheim lost the puck to Bryan Rust, who relayed to Crosby behind the net. Crosby got to the far post before Hart could slide over.

Nick Bjugstad doubled the lead at 7:04. Evgeni Malkin left an accurate drop pass and Hart appeared to be screened a bit as Bjugstad’s shot found its way into the net.

The Flyers thought they were on the verge of a goal later in the period but Nolan Patrick couldn’t finish off a loose puck off a Travis Konecny shot at the 12:53 mark. Sean Couturier shook his head in disbelief as the puck grazed off goalie Matt Murray and was blown dead by a whistle.

Guentzel scored at 14:46 of the third period to put the game out of reach.

Malkin match penalty

Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin received a match penalty with 4:54 to play when he swung his stick and hit Michael Raffl in the head. Jake Voracek scored on the power play to ruin Murray’s shutout bid.

Stolarz set for Minnesota

Anthony Stolarz will be in goal for the Flyers when they visit the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. The Flyers have won their last three on the road. This is the second half of a back-to-back. The Flyers are 3-5 in the second half of back-to-backs this season. Philadelphia beat Minnesota, 7-4, to start their recent eight-game winning streak.

Short shots

Kris Letang scored into an empty net with seconds remaining. … Crosby’s goal was the 40th of his career in 65 games against the Flyers. He has a total of 95 points vs. Philly in those contests. … Oskar Lindblom was shaken up at 2:36 of the second period when he slid into defenseman Jack Johnson ‘s knee and had to be helped off the ice. He later returned to the game after going through NHL concussion protocol. … …read more

Source:: Daily times


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