The Battle of Pennsylvania, the most looked forward to games in Philadelphia. Flyers versus Penguins.
Saturday started the Flyers latest home and home series against the Penguins. A series they desperately needed to drag some points out of to stay in a playoff spot. The Flyers coming schedule is anything but a cake walk and most people seemed to be worried how they would fare against the Metro’s top seeded team, even thought the Pens team has been seriously depleted due to multiple injuries.
The Pens scratch list got even longer before Saturday’s game when it was announced that Chris Kunitz would be sitting against the Flyers too. With the Penguins beaten and bruised line up, the prime time to strike them down would be the weekend’s home and home. For the Flyers, there could be no better time.
Boy did we take advantage of them. Usually what fans expect to see in a PA battle is a physical and out of hand game with lost of emotional penalties and more than a few fights, but that’s not where the entertainment came from this time. The Flyers decided to play like they had an identity, a very physical one, and out hit and out worked the Penguins at every chance something the Pens tried to do but failed miserably. The Penguins thought it’d be fun to beat us at our own game, but didn’t realize they had absolutely no idea how to play our game.
The attempt at a physical grinding style cost the Penguins a lot.
“We don’t want to be the skilled team.” Pens coach Dan Bylsma said when asked what the identity of his team was. Well Dan you certainly showed how unskilled you could be. The Penguins “grinder” game resulted in a 4-0 shutout for the Flyers. The Flyers also dominated the Penguins power play, with Matt Read scoring 2 short handed goals over 2 games.
Saturday’s game gave us Mason’s 4th shutout of the season, and brought us into the 3rd Metro spot again(but only for a few hours).
Sunday, the Flyers had a little bit of trouble on Pens home ice, almost giving up a three goal lead. Another short handed goal from Matt Read put them just out of the Penguins reach and lead to the win. Going into Sunday people still believed that the Flyers were going to have trouble. The Pens will be out for revenge, home ice advantage all that bull that kept spewing saying that the Flyers would have a hard time. What they didn’t want to see was the Flyers domination of the Consol Energy Center since it’s opening (7-1-1 record in 9 games) and the still drained Pittsburgh roster.
Claude Giroux’s 400th NHL game came with a win against one of the Flyers biggest rivals. The home and home sweep put the Flyers back into the second spot in the Metropolitan division ahead of Columbus and the Rangers.