Penguins beat punchless Flyers in shootout

Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky reacts after yielding the winning goal to Chris Kunitz in the shootout.
Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky reacts after yielding the winning goal to Chris Kunitz in the shootout.
Posted: March 25, 2011

There was nothing wrong with the Flyers' goaltending on Thursday night.

The same could not be said about their lethargic offense.

Chris Kunitz's goal in the fourth round of a shootout gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a critical, 2-1 win over the Flyers before a sellout crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.

With the victory, the Penguins inched to within four points of the Flyers in the Atlantic Division. The Flyers, who went beyond regulation for the fifth time in six games, have a game in hand.

Afterward, defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros were critical of the team's lackluster performance.

Meszaros, who had eight hits and three blocked shots, said the Penguins "outskated us, outbattled us, outshot us. They did everything better than us in our building, so that was embarrassing. . . . We can't have those kind of games this close to the playoffs."

Timonen called it "a problem" that the Flyers were so stale in a game that could have put considerable distance between themselves and the Penguins.

In their previous game, Tuesday's 5-4 shootout loss to shorthanded Washington, the Flyers controlled most of the action but were beaten because of poor goaltending. The Capitals were missing injured stars Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green.

On Thursday, against a Pittsburgh team that was missing marquee players Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Flyers got superb goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky (30 saves), but allowed the Penguins to spend most of the night in the home team's end.

"Bob was great. He got us a point," Timonen said.

Timonen said he was disappointed because the Flyers had controlled the previous game against the Capitals.

"We were all over that team, and I was hoping we were going to play the same way tonight and get two points," he said. "I'm a little worried about the game and how we played because it was a big game - and if you can't get fired up for these games, it's a problem."

Added Timonen: "It looked like we weren't ready to play tonight, and that was the result."

The Flyers equaled a season low with 20 shots. They didn't get a third-period shot until 6 minutes, 31 seconds remained, and they didn't manage a shot in a Pittsburgh-dominated overtime.

In the shootout, Danny Briere was the only Flyer to score in four shots.

"It was just a bad effort," Timonen said. "We were lucky to get one point out of it, and, to be honest, we have to get back to work tomorrow."

The Flyers power play was abysmal, managing a total of two shots in its six minutes with a man advantage.

"Luckily we had Bob keep us in the game. He was unbelievable," Meszaros said.

After former Flyer Arron Asham went to the penalty box for cross-checking early in the third period, it was the Penguins who had the best scoring opportunity. But Bobrovsky, following a Claude Giroux turnover, stopped Max Talbot on a shorthanded breakaway with about 16 minutes left.

Bobrovsky was good but also fortunate. Pittsburgh clanged shots off iron in the first seven-plus minutes of the third period. With 2:39 left, he robbed James Neal from in close to keep the game tied.

The Flyers have picked up points in each of their last eight games, going 4-0-4. They have been in four consecutive shootouts for the first time ever, going 1-3. They have played past regulation in five of their last six games, but captain Mike Richards didn't want to use that as an excuse for the team's looking tired in the third period and overtime.

"Some nights you just don't have your legs," said Richards, who scored the Flyers' lone goal to give his team a 1-0 lead late in the first period. "We can't use that as an excuse. We have to find a way and will it through the game. I thought we could have done a better job than that tonight and played more physical."


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/BroadStBull

 

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