PITTSBURGH Every time you would ask Peter Laviolette about inching closer to the Penguins in the Eastern Conference standings, hed change the subject.
Asked about whether the two showdown meetings with them here in this final week of the regular season, and hed deflect to something else.
Asked about discovering something useful from these two games that can be applied to certain Philly-Pittsburgh first-round playoff series and hed replay, You know that for sure?
Is there anyone out there who doesnt think these bitter cross-state rivals wont meet next week to open the playoffs?
The Flyers drew to within a point of the 4th-seeded Pens on Sunday with yet another come-from-behind victory, 6-4 at CONSOL Energy Center.
And they did it again with back-up Sergei Big Bob Bobrovsky in net, who is now 5-0 in this new building.
The victory was the Flyers 25th on the road tying last years franchise record.
It was a potentially costly win for the Flyers, too. Nicklas Grossmann, by far the most physical defenseman, had a knee-on-knee collision with the Pens Joe Vitale in the first period and did not return.
Laviolette reportedly said on the NBC telecast he didnt believe the injury to be serious.
Wayne Simmonds 27th goal on the power play snapped a 2-2 tie at 2:35 of the third period. It was the Flyers first lead in the game, too.
Claude Giroux began the tic-tac-toe passing from the left circle across the high slot.
Simmonds, parked in the left crease, one-time Jakub Voraceks slap pass behind Marc-Andre Fleury for his fifth marker in the past four games.
Four minutes later, Braydon Coburn threw an outlet pass to Eric Wellwood and he sprung Voracek free up the ice for a breakaway, forehand-backhand move that hung Fleury out.
Rookie defenseman made it 5-2 with a one-timer off a faceoff later.
No strangers to having to battle from behind, thats exactly what unfolded for the Flyers at games start as Pittsburgh scored twice in less than five minutes, forcing Laviolette to burn his timeout.
What was said?
Lets bleeping go, if you read lips.
Steve Sullivans shot from the high slot at 1:20 hit two players, including Simmonds. Nothing Bobrovsky could do about that.
Now James Neals 39th was a different story. In essence, the Penguins were in 4th gear the entire play, moving the puck around the slot area far faster than the Flyers could react.
In youre keeping tabs at home, thats six times in the last nine games that the Flyers have fallen behind 2-0 at the start.
The previous five times this happened, they lost 4 times. They have now beaten the Pens twice this month when trailing 2-0.
Pittsburghs dominance in the first 10 minutes was fairly obvious just by the shot differential 11-3.
Yet what the Flyers needed most they got a dirty goal from Giroux at 15:09. He, Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell had their best forechecking shift of the period with Giroux outmuscling the puck away from Matt Cooke in the high slot.
He quickly turned and fired with Hartnell conveniently being checked into Fleury by Pens defenseman Zbynek Michalek. The puck trickle behind Fleury, who had trouble finding it, making it 2-1.
For the fifth time in nine games, as well, the Flyers forced a 2-2 tie. Early in the second period, Zac Rinaldo knocked Kris Letang off a puck, shot it at the net and Max Talbot deflected it for his 19th goal.
Talbots goal was a huge, emotional lift the carried the Flyers for about half the period before the Penguins made a comeback push.
Bobrovsky had a surperb second period, stopping all 15 saves, including several point-blanks shots from Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
With Grossmann gone, the Pens managed a couple of walkout from behind the net for easy shots that Big Bob made chest saves or pad stops on, other wise the Penguins would have had at least two goals than stanza.
There was a melee of fights in the final 1:03 with Laviolette and Pens assistant Tony Granato standing on the ledges of the bench yelling at each other while fights too place on the ice. Both were ejected.
The melee was triggered by Joe Vitale's open ice hit on Danny Briere.