The Philadelphia Flyers’ 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday from the perspective of three players.
3. Claude Giroux
You almost have to feel a little bit bad for the Penguins… almost. Already leading the NHL in man games lost to injury, Pittsburgh was forced to scratch All-Star forwards James Neal and Chris Kunitz for their matchup in Philly.
The Flyers brought the appropriate response to the arena though, showing the Pens neither sympathy nor mercy. Giroux helped set the tone, as the captain was credited with two helpers, three shots on goal and 10 faceoff wins in the contest. He now has 67 points on the season.
Oh, and there was this hit on Evgeni Malkin, a clean shoulder right into the former league MVP’s chest.
Not going to give Steve Mason a star despite pitching the shutout, as the Penguins had few legitimate scoring chances. However, the netminder’s performance was certainly worthy of an honorable mention, as he stopped all 25 shots he faced.
2. Matt Read
Read had the hot hand on Saturday, scoring two goals—one shorthanded—to give him 18 for the season. The puck just seemed to gravitate to the winger, as he paced the orange and black with six shots on goal and was credited with a takeaway in 15 minutes of ice time.
Aside from lighting the lamp a couple times, it wasn’t a game of standout plays for Read. However, he pestered Pens skaters at both ends of the ice and was rewarded for his efforts on the stat sheet in turn.
1. Sean Couturier
Not to take anything away from Read’s well-deserved two-goal performance, but linemate Sean Couturier was integral in the setup on both markers.
Couturier made a subtle move to beat Jussi Jokinen to a puck behind the Pitt goal line to set up the shorty in the first period. Then in the second, Coots led the textbook three-on-one, leaving Marc-Andre Fleury zero chance to make the stop.
Couturier led all Flyers forwards with 19:16 in ice time and a plus-3 while winning four of six faceoffs. He made the Penguins work hard for every loose puck and inch of ice at both ends. In other words, nothing new for the impressive 21-year-old, who has been a thorn in Pittsburgh’s side ever since he entered the league.
The orange and black heads to the 'burgh for part two of their home-and-home on Sunday. If the Penguins don't at least get Kunitz back in the lineup, it could be an ugly weekend for the Metropolitan Division leaders—and a profitable one for the Flyers.
>> Box Score [NHL.com]