Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby will return to the lineup tonight when the Pens take on the Avs at Consol, the team has announced:
Crosby’s missed the last three games with the mumps, during which the Pens have gone 2-0-1. No. 87 heads into tonight’s game looking to snap a seven-game goalless drought, though that’s not to say he hasn’t been productive; Crosby has 35 points through 27 games this year and is one back of Philly’s Claude Giroux for the NHL assist lead (27).
The Philadelphia Flyers got the lead. Then they had to hang on as the L.A. Kings pressed.
Goalie Steve Mason was certainly busy, making 37 saves as the Flyers managed to escape L.A. with a 2-1 victory over the Kings, despite getting outshot 38-16. Philadelphia, which snapped a six-game losing streak, got goals from Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, taking a 2-0 lead. The Kings, so dominant at home this season, came close but couldn’t complete the comeback.
The Flyers, facing scrutiny for their struggles so far, managed to test Jonathan Quick only nine times in the final 40 minutes. Meanwhile, Mason faced a steady barrage of rubber for just his fifth victory of the season.
Busy as he was, his teammates in front of him did their best in putting up a protective, shot-blocking shield, too. The Kings had 22 shot attempts blocked.
“We didn’t get a lot through to him. A lot of really good chances that we had were either blocked or didn’t get all the way there. I don’t think it was goaltending that beat us,” said Kings’ head coach Darryl Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider.
The Flyers, with this win and a victory against L.A. on Oct. 28, complete the regular season sweep of the Kings.
“They’re Stanley Cup champs. That should do a lot for us. It shows that we can hang in there with the big boys,” said Simmonds, as per Curtis Zupke of NHL.com.
The Philadelphia Flyers lost their fifth straight game on Tuesday to drop to 8-13-3. Combined with the fact that San Jose Sharks forward Matt Nieto scored in the dying seconds of the third period to deny Philadelphia at least one point, it becomes easy to view this as a very tough loss for Philadelphia to swallow.
Even still, there was clearly a silver lining for the Flyers as they, for the most part, played a solid game.
“We played one of our best games in a while,” captain Claude Giroux told CSN Philly. “We played as a team. We had chemistry out there. Obviously, the results won’t show how well we played. … If you can build off a game we lost, we can keep our heads high.”
Not everyone wants to look at the bright side though, given the gravity of Philadelphia’s situation.
“We’re all tired of moral victories,” goaltender Steve Mason said. “The team played a good game but you don’t win it. It’s not good enough. Enough of the moral victories.
“We got to go out and start winning hockey games. Everybody is frustrated and ticked off, but it’s a matter of going out and winning now.”
Philadelphia will have a chance to end its slump Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks. In the meantime, here are the highlights from Tuesday’s contest: