If the Flyers wanted to make an emphatic statement on how they view "The Deadly Dozen" stretch of games, which began Saturday, this was a good as it gets.
Playing with speed and unrelenting pressure from puck drop, Craig Berube’s club blitzed the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-0, at the Wells Fargo Center.
This was the first of a back-to-back, home-and-home series this weekend. Game 2 is Sunday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins were without five starters, including Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Kris Letang and Paul Martin, so the Penguins had a very different lineup.
After a poor start in a loss to New Jersey on Thursday, the Flyers were primed to hit the ice against Pittsburgh and came out with a dominating first period.
They led 2-0 -- they could have scored a couple more goals -- and outshot the Pens, 12-7, in the first.
Steve Mason didn’t have to work particularly hard and finished with 25 saves. He's also expected to start Sunday.
The Penguins hit the 400-plus man games lost because of injury Saturday, and yet they led the Metropolitan Division by 16 points coming into the game.
Sean Couturier went up against Sidney Crosby, while Claude Giroux faced Evgeni Malkin.
Mason had a tough between-his-arm-and-shoulder stop on Simon Despres' snap shot in the second period shortly before the Flyers made it 3-0.
Crosby had a dumb frustration penalty in the opening period down 2-0. Braydon Coburn poked the puck away from him behind on a partial breakaway, and Crosby's frustration spilled over into a hooking call against Coburn to give the Flyers a power play.
Scott Hartnell gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 3:50 from the outer rim of the left circle. He took a pass from Giroux at the opposite side of the circle and one-timed the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins have the No. 1 penalty kill in the NHL. The Flyers were 1 for 4 on the man advantage, while Pittsburgh finished 0 for 5.
The Flyers made it 2-0 against the Pens' top-ranked PP at 8:12 on Matt Read's first goal of the game, a shorthanded tally. Couturier broke up a pass in the defensive end, allowing the Flyers their third shorthanded chance of the game. Couturier took the puck behind the Pens' net, centered it to Read, who lasered a shot into the net so hard, players on the ice weren't sure a goal had been scored.
From Luke Schenn onto Vinny Lecavalier’s stick as he came off the bench and into the Penguins' zone for a breakaway goal late in the second period making it 3-0 (see video).
Hartnell's 16th goal was his first in seven games. Read had his fourth two-goal game of the season -- his 17th and 18th of the year. Lecavalier has three goals in March and 15 overall.
Couturier stole the puck off of Brooks Orpik in the waning seconds of the middle period, starting an odd-man rush up the ice that saw him pass it to his left to Giroux, who faked a shot before passing to Read for a tap-in goal to make it 4-0.
The Flyers' second power play, via the Crosby hook, was nothing short of sensational in terms of passing, puck movement and shooting lanes. They had three solid scoring chances and while they didn't score, the Flyers received a well-deserved ovation from the crowd. It was that good.
Credit Zac Rinaldo for not dropping the gloves when Despres high-sticked him in the face and two other Penguins jumped him early in the game. Rinaldo drew the penalty and the Flyers scored on the power play (see 10 observations).
Healthy scratches: forward Jay Rosehill and defensemen Hal Gill and Erik Gustafsson.