Sidney Crosby records 3 points as Penguins blast Flyers
Sidney Crosby has exploited goaltenders of few opponents like those employed by the Philadelphia Flyers over his prodigious indiction as an NHLer.
That is why he now has 100 career points against the Penguins’ bitter cross-state rival after a 7-1 demolition of the Flyers on Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena.
And 101 points.
Also 102 points.
“I wasn’t aware of that,” said Crosby, who recorded three or more points in a regular-season contest against the Flyers for the 14th time in his career. “Those are side notes you guys (media) keep track of.
“But that’s good.”
Crosby wasn’t the only one who was good Tuesday. In addition to him, 11 of his teammates recorded at least a point against an overwhelmed opponent that looked out of sorts almost from the opening of the game.
“When we have a healthy lineup, we’ve got a pretty competitive lineup,” said coach Mike Sullivan, who got defenseman Brian Dumoulin and forward Alex Galchenyuk back from injury-related absences. “The coaching staff is going to have some real difficult decisions. We had some for tonight’s game. That’s a good challenge to have as a coaching staff. We really like the depth of this group. We feel as though we can be a four-line team, and every line is participating. That’s what it takes to win in this league.”
The Penguins validated that notion by a considerable margin.
They opened the scoring at 5 minutes, 57 seconds of the first period. After forward Dominik Kahun pressured Flyers forward Kevin Hayes into turning over the puck in Philadelphia’s right corner, Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz claimed it at the right point and lobbed a wrister toward the cage.
In front of the crease, forward Bryan Rust waved his stick at the puck hoping for a redirect but failed to make contact. The puck sailed on net and glanced slightly off the right shoulder of goaltender Brian Elliott and entered the cage on the far side for Schultz’s first goal of the season.
They made it a 2-0 game 2:16 later. After Kahun and Rust hounded Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov into a turnover to the right of his own cage, Kahun fed a pass through the legs of ex-Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen to the top of the crease, where forward Jared McCann jabbed a forehand shot past Elliott’s blocker.
The rout began to take shape at 8:46 of the first. Driving a puck deep on the right wing, Crosby spun off Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim and fed a pass to trailing forward Dominik Simon in the right circle. From inside the dot, Simon toasted Elliott’s blocker with a wrister on the far side. Crosby’s assist was his 100th career point against Philadelphia.
Crosby scored his fifth goal of the season at 14:02 of the first from the right circle off a cross-ice pass from Simon.
It became a 5-0 contest at 16:40 of the second when Jake Guentzel jabbed in a puck during a goal-mouth scramble. Crosby netted the primary assist.
A 6-0 lead came 20 seconds later when forward Zach Aston-Reese tipped a wrister by defenseman Jack Johnson past Elliott’s blocker on the near side.
Philadelphia finally got on the scoreboard 1:57 into the third period with a wrister by forward Oskar Lindblom.
A goal by Kahun with seven seconds left in regulation capped of the scoring. Kahun also recorded two assists.
Penguins goalie Matt Murray made 29 saves to improve his record to 7-3-0.
While the Penguins have professed a satisfaction with how they have played — regardless of the result — over the past handful of weeks, a favorable lopsided result is a welcomed change.
“It’s a tight league, and a lot of the games are going to be close,” Crosby said. “A lot of the ones we’ve played in the last week or so have been 2-1, 3-2, pretty tight all the way through. Tonight, we gave ourselves a great first (period) and an opportunity to build on that.”
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .