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Penguins rally falls short as Flyers sweep weekend series

Mar 16, 2014, 3:09 PM EDT

A shot by Philadelphia Flyers' Brayden Schenn gets past Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (41) for a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game on Sunday, March 16, 2014, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) AP

It took the Pittsburgh Penguins a while to get comfortable this afternoon and that was the difference in their 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Coming off of a 4-0 win over the Penguins on Saturday, Philadelphia seemed to have the momentum early in this game. Marc-Andre Fleury did all he could to keep the Penguins in this one earlier, but his teammates didn’t do him any favors and he ended up getting pulled with the Penguins down 3-0.

Backup goaltender Jeff Zatkoff provided Pittsburgh with a solid relief effort and the Penguins rallied back, but by then the damage was done. With James Neal and Chris Kunitz sidelined over the weekend, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby were both held off the board for Pittsburgh.

Crosby nearly changed that though and the story of this game when he fired a shot that hit the post just before the end of regulation time.

Wayne Simmonds was the hero today for Philadelphia, scoring two goals and an assist. For the first time in his career, he has reached the 50-point milestone.

The Flyers have jumped from the second Wild Card spot to second in the Metropolitan Division. However, even back-to-back victories against the Penguins isn’t enough to make them a threat to wrestle the division title away from the Penguins.

  1. disp350 - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Umm, was that Leon Stickle out there? The linesman missed not one, but two Pens that were offside on the last rush. Good thing the shot rang off the post or the Flyers may have run him over.

    • pens5829 - Mar 16, 2014 at 8:27 PM

      Also missed a large number of interference calls on the Cryers.

      • tdrusher225 - Mar 16, 2014 at 8:59 PM

        Clever wordplay right there

      • isithockeyseasonyet - Mar 16, 2014 at 10:47 PM

        Ironic, he’s the one crying

  2. Stiller43 - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Pens played absolutely piss poor for the first 5+ periods of the weekend series. Absolutely pathetic

  3. jucam1 - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Always fun to see Little Syd lose. Huge win for the Flyers

    • elmerbrownelmerbrown - Mar 16, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      This weekend reminded me of how the Flyers owned the Pens back in the 70’s

      • pegstefko - Mar 16, 2014 at 8:51 PM

        … which, coincidentally, is the last time those Flyers won a cup….

      • flatliness - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:21 AM

        Their all-time records against one another would indicate it wasn’t just the 70’s.

    • bgrillz - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:04 AM

      Yes, the Pennsylvania state regular season champs! 40 years and counting Philly. Hang in there, maybe in 10 years when you remain cupless, you can have a nice 50th anniversary since the last cup celebration.

      • coopjr - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:31 AM

        Awwwww, tough weekend buddy? It’s ok, you can blend in with all the St Patrick’s Day celebrants a drink yourself into a coma.

      • elmerbrownelmerbrown - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        Yeah yous may of had a few more cups back in the day if a Crosby or Mario was available in the 60 s an 70s drafts hahahaha

  4. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Another exciting matchup between these bitter rivals. Flyers came out dominant then the Pens took over but couldn’t finish. It was an extremely stressful one goal lead, in a game that we really needed. I’m definitely proud of the Flyers energy and compete level this weekend (and yes I’m aware of all the talent missing in Pitt). But I gotta say if Crosby scores in those final seconds to tie the game it would’ve been a joke… two Pens were clearly offsides. Thank god it doesn’t matter and we create a little separation with the teams chasing us. 2nd place in the Metro is where I want the orange and black to be. Keep it up, got a tough road ahead!

    • jaybaileys - Mar 16, 2014 at 4:21 PM

      hmmm you guys seem to forget Briere was clearly offsides in the playoffs a few years ago. That was a big goal in that game but, its over the Pens stunk you guys deserved to win.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 16, 2014 at 5:56 PM

        That is true, however it’s much more difficult for a referee to determine whether a player is offsides (at full speed) on a long breakaway pass like the Briere goal. In this instance it was really clear that both Pens were still in the zone before Crosby came across the blueline… that was so much easier to see (w/o the benefit of instant replay) than Briere beating the puck across the line.

    • myz43 - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      Typical Flyers flash before that HUGE Playoff burnout! Year 41 without a cup ( and counting…..)

      • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:48 AM

        You do realize the Pens have been the biggest disappointment in the league over the last 5 years?

  5. phillynac - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    I am surprised the still shot wasn’t posted on here of that last rush. The two penguins were clearly offsides and they were right next to Crosby who had the puck. It wasn’t like they were on the other end of the ice…anyway, big wins for the Flyers. They could be dangerous in the playoffs, although when/if Pittsburgh gets some of their players back, they will be tough to beat.

  6. pitpenguinsrulez - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Had the Pens scored on that missed offsides call all of Philly would’ve rioted but as I remember Briere scored an offside goal back in 2012. Regardless tho it didn’t happen today. Fleury looked great early on but the defense was non-existent. Flyers are a desperate team I’ll give em that one but I just hate losing to them.

    • laxman1944 - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:00 AM

      Thank you so much sir for the scraps we desperately need.

  7. penguins87and71 - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Gotta give credit to the Flyers for showing up and playing well and winning both games this weekend, wish I could say the same thing for the Penguins. The 1st period of this game was a disaster, Fleury didn’t deserved to be pulled. I did like how the Penguins responded in the last two periods. The Penguins in my opinion look tired, it looks like the injuries are starting to catch up to them. Crosby didn’t look like himself in today’s game, hopefully his not injured.

  8. penguins87and71 - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Including Playoffs the Flyers are 10-2-1 at Consol Energy Center.

    • pens5829 - Mar 16, 2014 at 8:32 PM

      Reason # 254 Bylsma needs to go. His s
      “System” sucks.

  9. wisdomnfl - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Pens resting. Flyers fighting for playoff spot. This is what I expected.

    • 7mantel - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      Pens resting ? They need points in the EC !

      • cheesesteak75 - Mar 16, 2014 at 6:36 PM

        What points do they need? 1st place in Metro division & a playoff spot locked up. Math isn’t your strong point!

      • 7mantel - Mar 16, 2014 at 8:50 PM

        Eastern Conference points for home advantage ! Not too bright!

      • sndflyers - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:23 PM

        Yeah just cause you post this comment thinking they took not only took this weekend off but they’ll take the rest of the season off just cause they clinched a playoff berth ? That’s something only a sour fan would say. They are self respecting world class athletes that compete night in and night out as a j9b. There is no such thing as resting, ask any nil player if they’re comfortable rolling over and dying for the sake of rest ? Lol get real that is not the way professional sports works.

      • 7mantel - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:25 PM

        Read my original post I didn’t say they took the weekend off ! I said they need points !

    • chanceoffleury - Mar 16, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Well Boston isn’t resting. Pens are going to have their hands full if they don’t get the top seed. Assuming they get relatively healthy it could very well end up as a Bruins/Pens ECF and the home ice advantage could be a game changer, especially if it got brought out to a 7 game series.

      • tdrusher225 - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:05 PM

        Well, to be be fair, it didn’t exactly play a role in the ECF last year. I think it’s important to keep playing at a high level in order to maintain rhythm and momentum, but home ice advantage in the playoffs is overrated

      • chanceoffleury - Mar 16, 2014 at 10:14 PM

        @td very valid point, but as a fan I’d like to think the Pens will utilize all their advantages this year after learning they won’t always get to come back home to turn the series around. I can’t imagine there is any sort of good feeling that comes out of getting swept, and for most of the guys on that roster it was the first time they’d been on the wrong side of a sweep. The potential silver lining in that mess of a memory is that hopefully they’re now a better team for it. At least as a Pens fan that’s what I tell myself so I can sleep better at night! Haha!

      • laxman1944 - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:10 AM

        Oh………..ah…..already in the ECF are we……Do you call blizzards as well?

        Of late your “Pens” have had the same attitude for the last tournament or two.

        Results???

        Not as assumed they should/deserved to have concluded.

      • chanceoffleury - Mar 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        Unless you’re reading imaginary comments then no, I never said it was a sure thing at all. But good to know that now assuming that the top 2 teams that have a very healthy lead over everyone but each other in the conference have a CHANCE at finishing as the top 2 teams means I’m being biased and a homer (because I never said in either comment it was a sure thing) . I understand that Pens fans especially can be very biased, but please point out where I ever insinuated they were already there. And the second comment was just about the playoffs in general, in any round. You’re obviously just looking for instances to criticize them.

  10. mkabbeko - Mar 16, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Flyers fan here. We won 4 periods and the Pens got 2. I don’t mean to be insulting here and I am not saying that the Flyers don’t have their issues, but when is Pittsburgh going to realize their own fatal flaw? It is so arrogant to think that they can outgun everybody. With more emphasis on team defense, they could win it all. As of now, no chance they could get past Boston, Chicago, Anaheim etc.

    • chanceoffleury - Mar 16, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      Yes and No. Right now they’re missing 4 of their top 6 wingers, their 2 top defenseman, their backup goalie who put up the same numbers as Lundqvist and Quick in the playoffs last year, and Crosby is in a little slump because he’s a human (and lets be honest when was the last time he’s actually played this much hockey in a season? Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a little tired). I’m not making excuses, but I am assuming they’d get Neal, Kunitz, Bennett, Letang, and Martin back by the time they’d play any 3 of those teams in a win or die situation. Because let’s stop for a second and be honest with ourselves, to get to the ECF or SCF with the roster they iced today would be a weird mix of scary, magnificent, and unbelievable. The level of play guys like Gibbons, Pyatt, Megna, Vitale, etc. would have to elevate their game to between now and a month from now on April 15th would be unheard of. Or somebody like Crosby, Malkin, or Fleury would have to be playing so out of their mind that some sort of drug or witchcraft would have to be involved. They’re still a playoff team with the lineup they iced today, they’re just not the same team that has been 10 points ahead of Boston in the standings at one point or another. They’re much more middle of the pack and average.

      Add in Neal, Kunitz, Martin, and Letang and they immediately become a much scarier team. They become scarier to take penalties against, scarier to defend against, scarier to lose a faceoff to, scarier to lose track of and give up a breakaway or open net to, etc. When those 4 players are in the lineup your imperfections as a team will be magnified because if you make a mistake your chances of getting away with it become immensely smaller. They’re so eerily in-tune with guys like Malkin and Crosby that it is almost inhuman at times. Guys like Engelland, Bortuzzo, Vitale, or Pyatt aren’t even there to make mistakes because they’re not even on the bench, let alone the ice, to get a chance to. On top of Hossa (Kunitz), take Sharp (Neal), Keith (Martin), Seabrook (Letang), and Saad (Bennett) off the Hawks and try and tell me they’re winning the Stanley Cup with that roster. No. The players the Pens are missing are game changers.

    • penguins87and71 - Mar 16, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      I agree. Ever since the Penguins won the Stanley Cup back in 2009, they have been trying to out gun teams instead of playing defense and being physical. I dont think it’s arrogance, I do think the Penguins don’t have the players to play that type of hockey. I would like to see Ray Shero go out to in the offseason and get players that can be physical and get to the front the net but also have the speed.

    • gsr1191 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:08 AM

      The pens showed earlier this year they can play that style and win. when they were playing the left wing lock they were winning games 2-1, 3-2, etc. To be honest, they arent really trying to “outgun ppl” they are just getting flat out beat. I mean they are only averaging like 20shorts per game since the Olympics.I think right now their biggest issue is they dont have a defensemen that can carry the puck into the zone. i mean look at the PP’s this weekend, they literally took the 1str 1:20 of every PP just to get in the zone and setup. and 5v5 bc they dont have that puck moving defensemen they are playing wayyy to much dump and chase. this is why their scoring is down, their shots are down, and they are getting killed in TOP. Crosby is at his best when a defender gets him a nice pass while sid is on the move into the neutral zone. right now, the pens are missing that. Byslma, its time to earn some money and make an adjustment or two.

  11. dkphilly1122 - Mar 16, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    I just love when the Flyers and Pens play period……no matter the situation or building they’re always great games and intense as hell. Did they miss a call at the end for offsides, yeah, but they’re human and are gonna miss calls like they did with Briere. It happens, especially down a Ref. Flyers just proved they needed the points more this weekend. I can’t wait til April 12th for the final meeting…….should be interesting.

  12. blackheart78 - Mar 16, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    I’m probably one of the very few Flyers fans that want the Penguins roster healthy. That way there is no excuses win or lose. This rivalry is best when both teams have their best players in the lineup. Don’t get me wrong very satisfied the Flyers won both games. Hopefully the Flyers can carry some of this momentum into the games that are coming up against some tough teams.

  13. slaugin - Mar 16, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    I’m a Bruins fan. Before everyone anoints Boston as a Lock, just remember this time last year Pitt was rolling and Bos Struggling. Things change come Playoffs

    • 7mantel - Mar 16, 2014 at 5:49 PM

      That’s so true ,anything can happen in the second season!

    • blackheart78 - Mar 16, 2014 at 6:02 PM

      But man wheew….B’s are built to win. That team does NOT mess around.

  14. pkswally024 - Mar 16, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    Fans from multiple teams getting along? Very classy guys.

  15. penguins87and71 - Mar 16, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    I think if the Penguins had Neal, Bennett, Kunitz, Letang, and Martin this weekend series would be different. Nothing against the Flyers they played two great games, and they still might have won both games, but I at least think both games would be more competitive. When Letang, Kunitz, Neal, Bennett, and Martin comeback the Penguins will be really scary. I think the reason why the Penguins have struggled as of late is because they are missing two top 6 forwards and 2 top 4 defensemen. The Penguins have the most man games lost in the league, and I think it’s finally starting to take it’s toll, not to worried about the Penguins. Penguins projected lines: Kunitz-Crosby-Stempniak, Jokinen-Malkin-Neal, Pyatt-Sutter-Bennett, Adams-Goc-Vitale. Letang-Scuderi, Orpik-Martin, Niskanen-Matta, and Fleury.

    • mcphillthy - Mar 16, 2014 at 7:41 PM

      Well as always we appreciate your opinion. I agree that the penguins are missing some big guns but even then its a 50/50 chance. Plus Philly has dominated Pitt in their home, and vice versa. That’s why it’s so exciting when these two teams play. You never know what is going to happen. I love this rivalry and it’s clear that fans from all over do as well. It’s a good day for hockey!

  16. penguins87and71 - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    I do think Byslma has to go, if it were to happen, it wouldn’t be after this year, it would be after next year, because, I believe his in a contract year. Byslma can’t beat the Flyers, and when you can’t beat your biggest rival you deserve to be shown the door. I think the NHL has figured out his system, he also is a terrible in game coach. I also believe his 10-12 in the Playoffs since the Stanley Cup year, that’s just not going to cut it. With all that being said though, I don’t think the Penguins will get rid of him, he has a good relationship with the players, the upper management like him, and his good friends with Ray Shero.

    • kastout11 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      I don’t buy that he is good friends with Ray Shero. It is the NHL and it is a business. If you don’t win, you get shown the door. They are in the business of winning, not being friends. I am a huge Philly fan and I compare it to the Eagles, Reid and Lurie were good friends, but when push comes to shove, their in the business of winning. If your not winning, fans stop showing up and people lose money. By the way, I think Byslma is a pretty good coach. I don’t like him, but he is a pretty good coach, the Penguins are just not as good as people think they are. They should not be dominated like they were this past weekend, but Philly is playing some really good hockey lately, and most of their team were not selected to represent their countries, so they should be fresh and ready for the stretch run.

  17. sndflyers - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    Why is it the greatest success story in the world when the Penguins are winning without their Injured players, but soon as they lose its an excuse ?

    • 7mantel - Mar 17, 2014 at 6:57 AM

      You must have hit nerve there,3 thumbs down and no reply’s !

  18. bobhpine - Mar 16, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    It’s settled, Philly when completely healthy is better than the Penguins minus their best two defenseman and best four wingers. I hate to make excuses, but Robert Bortuzzo and Derek Engelland are simply worlds apart from Kris Letang and Paul Martin. Taylor Pyatt for James Neal and Brian Gibbons for Chris Kunitz are immense drop-offs. Pens system is built on speed and getting that first quick, accurate pass from the D out of the zone. Aside from Maatta, they don’t have D that can make that pass and aside from 87 and 71 they don’t have forward who can even receive it if it came.

    This season has been an utter disaster for the penguins injury wise. They are 115 clear of the next team in terms of man games lost to injury. The only guy, knock on wood, who has stayed healthy has been Sid, but you’re almost waiting for that shoe to drop. They need about five more wins to lock down the number two seed, at which point I would put Crosby, Malkin, Maatta, and Fleury in bubble wrap until mid April.

    Give Philly credit, they took care of a wounded animal.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 17, 2014 at 12:35 AM

      “I hate to make excuses”… I’ve seen you deride many Flyers fans (quite rudely I should add) for using injuries as an excuse for poor performance in the past so you will get no pity here. It’s no secret that Neal, Kunitz, Letang, and Martin (amongst others) are huge contributors and are sorely missed but Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are good enough to create offense. You still have excellent defensive depth and a goalie who’s been pretty damn good this season. And up until this weekend the Pens were regularly beating teams, despite being shorthanded.

      The Flyers went through 13 defenders, 4 goalies, and multiple forward combos last season so I can empathize with the Pens, but like I said there’s no pity whatsoever in Philadelphia.

  19. toiletclown - Mar 17, 2014 at 6:31 AM

    flyers did good against wilkes-barre scranton this weekend.

    • philafly - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      “Flyers did good….”

      Wonderful use of the English language, as always.

    • coopjr - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:37 AM

      Those sour grapes make for some delicious whine.

  20. kastout11 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    This weekend was total domination. The Flyers really need all the points they can get, so 4 against the Pens is awesome. Not only did the Flyers win decisevely on Saturday, but if not for Fluery playing out of his mind Sunday, Philly could have easily scored 6 or 7 goals. The Pens fans can cry all you want about the guys that did not play, but it would not have made a difference. Kunitz and Neal are clearly products of the system, they were marginal players until they started playing with Sid. He makes everything go for that team. Couts shut him down, and when he gets shut down, the Pens don’t win, and obviously Giroux shut down Malkin, who is a turnover machine and gets easily frustrated and takes senseless penalties when you play him physical. The Pens defense is terrible, even when Letang comes back, he is a defensive liability.Face it Pens fans, they will not be a threat in the post season, their defense is terrible, and they don’t play the right style that fits their personnel. Also, it is horrendous that the linesman missed the offsides at the end of the game, no excuse to miss that call.

    • toiletclown - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      its horrendous that you brainless scum bags from philthy actually think you have a better team now that you beat the pens minor league team. Hahaha you guys are priceless

  21. flyersfan85 - Mar 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Great series this weekend Pens. You guys looked great and pumped for the EC and you guys should totally breeze through to the SC finals without problem. Im glad you Pens fans are taking it on the chin like good sportsmen and not using injuries as an excuse for being totally outplayed all weekend. Also glad Crosby managed to keep his feet all weekend. Thats a move in the right direction.

    Although I do believe that Downie deserves the ‘Sidney Crysby Whiny B1tch Trophy” for these two games. That dude is a mixture of Johnny from ‘The Shining’, Steve Avery, and Dan Carillo. He actually was doing ok in Colorado anc then he came back to Philly and lost his mind..total detractor..like Rinaldo without any upside.

    Zatkoff..dude is a stud and the Pens pretty much got him for nothing if I remember correctly, which I probably don’t but he will be good when Princess Flower wilts when the playoff starts.

    Anyway, Happy St. Patty’s to all, good time for Pens fans to cry in their beer, especially the ones on Facebook that said the Flyers are a nobody team and the first game this weekend was luck..

  22. toiletclown - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    flygirls win 2 games against the pens minor league team and all the bandwagon fans jump on and start flooding these posts. Gotta love how idiotic that city is

    • flyersfan85 - Mar 17, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      Now..there is someone I can agree with..an obvious Pens fan that doesnt think that Crosby and Malkin are NHL caliber..AHL caliber all the way..I agree whole heartedly.. that team out there on the ice was pure Baby Pens..not the almost close to NHL cap team. Now I didnt say it..I was just repeating what that very educated Pens fan said. But to close the loop on that logic..

      Now who Sir would this magical better than Crosby and Malkin talent be that you were referring to being out or coming back. Which one will push them up into NHL form. Who would this talent be that is better then the magic duo of neverfailing awesomeness that the Pens fans declare everyone other team covets.

      Once you get your mighty flippin team back together..if you guys so much as fart wrong during one of the games..you better come up with a new assortment of excuses…cause us bandwagonner only love one thing better the Flyers winning..and thats the Pens losing..so make it a good excuse.

      And no im not from Philly..just love the team and have been a fan of, or jumped on the bandwagon as you say, since the number in my name.

  23. antmel30 - Mar 17, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    Toilet I love your from Pittsburgh and use bandwagon and fan in same sentence. You sir being from Pitt should know the definition of that word very well. It wasn’t flyers nor philly who led league in low attendance when their hockey team stunk. That record belonged to you guessed it Pitt. Pitt couldn’t give tickets away when they were horrible and last in the league. The flyers were in top 10 in attendance even in horrible years. Philly was never in danger of bankruptcy nor relocation. So I find it an oxymoron you call another city bandwagon and idiotic when all the facts of the word point right to Pitt.

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