Let’s face facts: the Philadelphia Flyers are a damn good hockey team, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They proved it by ending the Penguins 12-game winning streak Tuesday night in Philly. It only figures Pittsburgh’s most bitter rival did the deed. Thanks to a bone-headed penalty by Evgeni Malkin, the Pens dropped a 3-2 decision – the third such score in a season series the Flyers now lead three games to one. At least Sidney Crosby extended his scoring streak to 19 games with two assists.
Malkin, who scored twice on the power play, decked Blair Betts at center ice midway through the third period after Betts legally dropped Crosby. It was an obvious interference, and the Flyers capitalized on the ensuing power play. It’s the kind of play that makes you want to scream. If Malkin thought he was sticking up for Crosby, he was misguided. The hit by Betts wasn’t dirty, and it certainly wasn’t the right time to retaliate even if it was.
The penalty ruined an otherwise solid effort from Malkin, who returned after missing the past four games and played alongside Crosby and Pascal Dupuis on the first line. He had a game-high 8 shots and drew two penalties.
Did the game live up to the ridiculous amount of hype it garnered? I guess it depends on which team you were rooting for. The Pens were sloppy throughout most of the first period, and they finished minus-2 while playing even-strength hockey. The Flyers’ second goal came off an odd-man rush that culminated with Brooks Orpik getting torched. One positive: Marc-Andre Fleury continued his stellar play (34 saves), albeit in a losing effort.
The Flyers now have a one-point edge atop the division. Guess it’s time to start a new winning streak, preferably Wednesday against the Rangers.