Crosby, Schultz lift Penguins to big win over Flyers

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The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers are one of the potential first-round matchups in the Metropolitan Division playoffs, and if it ends up happening Sunday’s game was a nice indication of what sort of chaos could be ahead of us in a couple of weeks.

The Penguins were able to pick up a 5-4 overtime win in a back-and-forth game that featured nine goals, 77 shots on goal, a couple of highlight reel goals, and an incredible pace to help solidify their position in the second spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Bryan Rust scored the game-winning goal in overtime, re-directing a Sidney Crosby pass to help the Penguins complete the regular season sweep of the Flyers.

The Penguins scored exactly five goals in every head-to-head meeting with Philadelphia this season, outscoring them by a 20-11 margin on the season.

Along with setting up the game-winner, Crosby also scored his 26th goal of the the season on an incredible individual effort early in the third period to fight off Selke Trophy contender Sean Couturier and beat Flyers goalie Petr Mrazek.

Couturier would redeem himself later in the third period when he scored with 43 seconds remaining to tie the game at four, sending it overtime and securing an important point for the Flyers in the standings.

With Sunday’s point the Flyers remain in the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference with 89 points, three points ahead of the New Jersey Devils. They are also tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the points column, but the Blue Jackets own the tiebreaker and remain in the third spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Along with Crosby’s two points (including another highlight reel goal), Justin Schultz also had a huge game for the Penguins by recording three assists in the win.

The Penguins stumbled out of the gate in the first period giving up a pair of early goals but started to turn the tide in their favor early in the second period. Patric Hornqvist scored a power play goal to tie the game at two, and then Evgeni Malkin scored his 42nd goal of the season on a delayed penalty situation, capping off an extended shift in the Flyers’ zone.

With 42 goals and 92 total points Malkin is in the top-four in the league in both categories.

Derick Brassard also scored in the win for the Penguins, extending his current point streak to six games. He now has three goals and five assists since being acquired in a trade.

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Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.