Penguins move into 1st place
PHILADELPHIA — Conor Sheary scored two goals, Sidney Crosby had three assists and the Pittsburgh Penguins moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
Phil Kessel, Jamie Oleksiak and Evgeni Malkin also scored for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, who have won three straight. Pittsburgh (39-25-4, 82 points) moved one point ahead of idle Washington and three in front of third-place Philadelphia.
Travis Konecny and Jakub Voracek had goals for the Flyers, who lost their fourth in a row.
The teams combined for six goals in an electrifying second period.
Voracek netted his 15th of the season 2:07 into the period to tie it at 1. Nolan Patrick caused a turnover with strong backchecking, passed to Voracek and his shot from the side boards deflected off Pittsburgh’s Derick Brassard and past Tristan Jarry.
Konecny put Philadelphia ahead 3:54 later when he batted the puck over Jarry’s right pad.
But the Penguins scored three straight goals to take a 4-2 lead into the third.
Oleksiak tied it at 2 with 10:36 remaining with a slap shot that got through the screen of Crosby and Jake Guentzel and past Peter Mrazek.
Sheary gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead with his first of the night, finishing a 2-on-1 break with Crosby with 5:35 remaining in the period. Mrazek made a good pad save on Crosby’s initial shot. But the rebound went right to Sheary, who backhanded it in for his 13th of the season.
Sheary’s second goal from a sharp angle with 49.3 seconds left in the period put Pittsburgh ahead by two goals. Guentzel’s shot from the high slot deflected off Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning to a wide-open Sheary to the right of the net, and Mrazek couldn’t recover in time. Crosby got a secondary assist on the goal, his third of the night to give him 1,100 career points
Crosby continued to haunt the Flyers, upping his total to 91 points in 62 career games against Philadelphia.
Kessel, playing in his 900th NHL game, opened the scoring with 1:25 left in the first period on the power play on assists from Malkin and Crosby. Malkin set the goal up with a perfect pass across the crease, and Kessel converted the easy finish with a forehand shot for his 28th goal.
Malkin’s goal was an empty-netter with 1:41 remaining.
NOTES: Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks helped provided on-ice commentary during the first period. … Pittsburgh improved to 3-0 against the Flyers this season. The teams wrap up their regular-season series on March 25 in Pittsburgh. … Mrazek has allowed 19 goals while losing the last four games. … Philadelphia F Wayne Simmonds returned after missing seven games due to a lower-body injury. D Andrew MacDonald also was back on the ice after sitting out Sunday’s 4-1 loss at Florida due to an upper-body injury.
Penguins: At Toronto on Saturday night.
Flyers: At Boston on Thursday night.