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Penguins punish struggling Flyers

| Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, 9:53 p.m.
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (left) and Sidney Crosby tap helmets after the Penguins defeated the Flyers on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Philadelphia.
The Flyers' Max Talbot (rear) is held back from the puck by Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who received an interference penalty on the play in the second period Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Philadelphia.
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Penguins center Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal against the Flyers during the third period Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at Wells Fargo Center.
Flyers goalie Steve Mason holds on to the puck as the Penguins' Chuck Kobasew and the Flyers' Claude Giroux watch in the first period Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Philadelphia.
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin, chases the puck, followed by the Flyers' Claude Giroux in the first period Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Philadelphia.
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby turns toward the loose puck turned away by Flyers goalie Steve Mason in the first period Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Philadelphia.
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Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz s checked by the Flyers Braydon Coburn during the first period Thursday, Oct. 17,2013, at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
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Flyers goalie Steve Mason makes a save as the Penguins' Chris Kunitz looks for a rebound during the first period Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
The Flyers' Wayne Simmonds (right)directs the puck toward Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for a tip-in goal with 2 seconds remaining in the second period Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Philadelphia.
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The Flyers' Kris Newbury and the Penguins' Robert Bortuzzo fight during the second period Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at Wells Fargo Center.
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The Penguins' Olli Maatta (left) and Evgeni Malkin close in on the Flyers' Claude Giroux on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
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Flyers' Claude Giroux skates with the Penguins' Chris Kunitz and Olli Maatta on Thursday, Oct. 17,2013, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
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Oct 17, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) scores a goal against Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (35) during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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The Penguins celebrate a goal against the Flyers on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
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The Flyers' Brayden Schenn (10) reacts after missing open net against the Penguins during the third period Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at Wells Fargo Center.
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The Flyers' Wayne Simmonds (right) checks the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin in front of Jussi Jokinen on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at the Wells Fargo Center.
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The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin skates with the Flyers' Matt Read on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at the Wells Fargo Center.
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The Flyers' Steve Mason blocks a shot by the Penguins' Chuck Kobasew on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin fires a pass across ice in the first period against the Flyers on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Philadelphia.
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Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) makes a save against the Flyers' Claude Giroux (28) as defenseman Paul Martin (7) defends during the third period Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers' Zac Rinaldo is sent flying, minus his helmet, after a check by the Penguins' Matt Niskanen (2) near the goal crease in the third period Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA — Dan Bylsma did not want to say it.

“But if they win that game, they're only six points behind,” Bylsma said of the Penguins' archrival, the Philadelphia Flyers.

They did not win — and a 4-1 victory by the Penguins at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night served as a big blow in the opening round of the Commonwealth Cold War.

The Penguins are 10 points ahead of the Flyers in the Metropolitan Division with about 10 percent of the season completed.

Third-period goals by centers Sidney Crosby (sixth) and Evgeni Malkin (third) sealed the Penguins' third straight victory.

Crosby extended his streak of games with a point to seven.

Malkin is on a five-game run, with seven points over that span.

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is shining brightest among the Penguins, and that was true over the final 20 minutes.

He stopped all 12 shots, eight of which — including three on two Flyers' power plays — came when the Penguins were clinging to a one-goal lead.

Fleury is off to the best start of his career: 6-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .932 save percentage, and all of it after he was benched during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“Hopefully it shuts up a lot of people on the blogs,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “I don't know how many times I'm going to say it, but we never lost faith in ‘Flower.' Everybody goes through rough patches.”

The Flyers are going through one right now. They have lost seven of eight games and scored only nine goals. They are on their second coach.

Still, a power-play goal by winger Wayne Simmonds with two seconds remaining in the second period turned around a contest the Penguins had controlled because of their neutral-zone congestion and goals by wingers Jussi Jokinen (fourth) and Chris Kunitz (third).

Before Simmonds' goal, the most interesting thing about this contest was a Penguins power play cut short because of a scoreboard malfunction.

Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn received a minor penalty for tripping with 59 seconds remaining in the first period.

The Penguins did not score, and their power play carried over into the second period. Coburn's penalty should have expired at 18:59, but he was let out of the box at 19:18.

Bylsma said his understanding was that a 20-second intermission advertisement on the video board accidentally ran off time for the Penguins' power play.

Once play resumed with Coburn of the box, there was nothing the Penguins could do, Bylsma said.

NHL officials in Toronto were investigating and planned to contact both club general managers.

The Flyers likely will review video of their third-period performance and wonder how they failed to sneak another goal past Fleury.

That goes especially for Simmonds.

With Orpik serving a hooking penalty, Simmonds had parked himself to the left of Fleury as the Flyers swarmed the crease. Fleury, his front-jersey Skating Penguin crest pinned to the blue paint of the crease, sprawled to snag with his left glove Simmonds' shot 1:21 into the final period.

“I like to flop around a lot,” Fleury said. “It's probably not the best thing, technically, to do. But it works for me.

“I'm always looking for the puck.”

He is finding it at lot early on.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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