Brayden Schenn's two goals lift Flyers over Penguins

Posted: November 15, 2013

PITTSBURGH - Brayden Schenn enjoyed his coming-out party in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Penguins, making a name for himself with six points in six games as the Flyers ousted their most hated rival.

Today, he awakes as the Flyers' leading scorer with 12 points.

And, thanks to a two-goal effort from Schenn, which delivered a nail-biting 2-1 win last night over those same Penguins, the Flyers finally have the statement victory needed to declare they've officially turned the corner they've been talking about the last 2 weeks.

Something about playing the Penguins brings out the best in not only Schenn, but also the rest of the Flyers.

"When you see their lineup, with two of the best players in the world, you want to bring your 'A' game," Schenn said. "Because you know they're going to bring it."

The Flyers not only evened their record in one-goal games at 4-4-1, but they also have finally strung together a three-game winning streak for only the third time since that epic 2012 playoff collision with Pittsburgh. They failed in their only other attempt this season.

Ray Emery, the somewhat-surprise starter, considering Steve Mason had pitched a shutout the night before in Ottawa, was the Flyers' best player on the ice, Scott Hartnell said.

"The boys have scored more goals," Emery said after stopping 30 of 31 shots. "We had a great night in Ottawa the night before. It was a tough back-to-back, but these are all steps in the right direction."

One of professional sports' top current rivalries has been the road team's dream. The Flyers continued their dominance in Pittsburgh, where they are 9-2-1 at Consol Energy Center since they opened the building on Oct. 7, 2010. Pittsburgh has won 12 of its last 17 in Philadelphia, including Oct. 17's win to open the season series.

The Flyers caught a break in the opening minute, when Sidney Crosby led an all-out assault on Emery and Chris Kunitz appeared to score 19 seconds in. Pittsburgh had three scoring chances on that flurry, but Kunitz' goal was disallowed, because the NHL's War Room in Toronto determined that he kicked the puck into the net.

"It's really hard when you play back-to-backs on the road. You want to ease yourself into the game a little bit," Emery said. "They definitely weren't going to allow us to do that."

Somehow, despite being outshot, 16-8, in that frame, the Flyers were able to take a 1-0 lead into intermission when Wayne Simmonds found Schenn with a nice feed.

"I think we might have been sleeping a little there," Schenn said of the opening-minute burst by Pittsburgh. "That might have woke us up a little."

Schenn responded to Crosby's tap-in power-play goal in the second period - Crosby's 74th point in 45 career games against the Flyers - to make sure the Flyers carried a lead into the third period.

The Penguins had entered the third period trailing in only four of their first 17 games of the season and they were able to turn one of them into a victory. Thanks to a strong penalty-killing effort, led by an unheralded effort from Zac Rinaldo while top killer Sean Couturier was in the box in the third period, the Flyers were able to hang on.

They kept Pittsburgh's dangerous power play to only one goal on four attempts. They also played sound defense for the second night in a row, limiting themselves to only one giveaway. The Flyers forced Pittsburgh's stars into 10 turnovers.

"They're a very dangerous team," Hartnell said. "They use their points very well, we had to take time and space away from them - our wingers did a great job with that. We're playing great defense. Winning all comes from taking care of our own end."

For weeks, the Flyers have said that they've turned the corner, that they're playing better and that the wins would ultimately come. They are now 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and charging up the standings. Last night's win against the Eastern Conference's most dangerous team adds some real legitimacy to those claims.

Like Schenn's coming-out party against the Penguins a year and a half ago, maybe, just maybe, the Flyers began to turn some heads in the NHL last night.

Just don't tell that to the Flyers' coach.

"It was a good win," Berube said. "More than anything, I liked that we grinded the game out. It's just [one] game, boys. We've got a long way to go."

Said Schenn: "Anytime you're able to help and contribute to the team, it feels good. We're working on things. We're trying to put some W's together. Tonight was a step in the right direction. We've got to keep going."

Sidney Crosby snapped the Flyers' combined shutout streak at 95:04 in the second period . . . Nashville general manager David Poile and St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong were in attendance. The Predators play in Pittsburgh tomorrow night, but Flyers assistant GM Ron Hextall did scout their game in New Jersey on Sunday . . . Craig Berube kept the same lineup last night as in Ottawa, even though Michael Raffl (flu) skated pregame . . . Russian ice hockey federation great Vladislav Tretiak took in the game from the press box . . . Last night was the 296th straight sellout crowd in Pittsburgh . . . It was the first time the Flyers held the Pens to one goal since a 3-1 win at Mellon Arena on March 22, 2009. The Penguins had scored two or more goals in 23 consecutive games since then.

On Twitter: @DNFlyers


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