PITTSBURGH – The Philadelphia Flyers used dominating special teams to sweep a weekend home-and-home series against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.
Wayne Simmonds had two power-play goals in the first period, Matt Read had a short-handed tally and Philadelphia killed off all four Pittsburgh power plays in a 4-3 victory on Sunday.
It was the second victory in as many days for the surging Flyers against their cross-state rivals.
Philadelphia had a power-play goal, a short-handed goal and was a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in a 4-0 win against the Penguins at home on Saturday.
“The power play was good again, the penalty kill was good again,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said. “Lots of shots, lots of chances. We played a pretty solid game.”
Philadelphia improved to 5-1-1 in its past seven. Including playoffs, the Flyers are 10-2-1 all-time at Consol Energy Center (8-1-1 in the regular season).
“I know the boys in this locker room love playing against them,” said Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason, who allowed three goals on 48 shots during the weekend sweep.
“Whether we’re in their head or not, we don’t really care. We get amped up to play against them.”
Defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen and recent call-up Jayson Megna scored for the injury-riddled Penguins, who lost two straight in regulation for the first time since dropping three in a row from Nov. 6-13.
During the final seconds, the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby hit the post with a backhand off a pass from Evgeni Malkin while skating down the right wing.
“[The post] is all I gave him, though,” Mason deadpanned. “It’s part of the equipment.”
Pittsburgh still holds a commanding lead in the Metropolitan Division, but remained three points behind the Boston Bruins in the race for the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
The Penguins fell to 18-2 in March home games over the past three seasons. They were 10-0 at home last March.
“The last two seasons, March has been too easy for us,” Niskanen said. “We go through with just a breeze, and I think we go into the playoffs overconfident. Right now, we’re in a little bit of a bump in the road and we’re going to have to fight for it.”
Simmonds assisted on Brayden Schenn’s goal 2:06 into the game and then scored twice in a 6:54 span to give the Flyers a three-goal lead 14 minutes in.
Read’s goal was his third goal of the weekend for Philadelphia.