Today started with a lot of emotion, as the Flyers honored late, great Fred Shero, who led them to back-to-back Cups in 1974 and 1975, with a statue placed where the legendary Spectrum once stood. There was also a really well done and emotional video tribute immediately preceding the game. That was pretty much the high point of the day. I considered just wrapping it up here. Alas, let's recap this ugly duckling.
In addition to James Neal, who was diagnosed with a concussion and is out indefinitely, the Pens were also without a late scratch Chris Kunitz, who was injured in the Washington game when his leg slid into the goal post. He took part in the pregame warmups but couldn't play, and was replaced in the lineup by Jayson Megna. The Pens have now officially crossed the 400 man-games lost to injury.
Malkin probably took one look at Taylor Pyatt and said "Nyet", thus Pyatt was promptly shifted to Crosby's line, while Megna lined up with Malkin and Jokinen. From the opening faceoff, it was clear that the Flyers meant business and were all over the Pens. An ill-advised semi-scrum between Despres and Rinaldo in front of Fleury resulted in only Despres being sent off, and the Flyers promptly capitalized on the power play, when Hartnell was left unguarded in the slot and fired a quick and precise shot past Fleury. They would score their next goal, a shorthanded tally by Matt Read, later on in the first period, which was just horrendously executed by the Penguins, who were credited with 6 giveaways to the Flyers 0.
Things weren't really much better in the second period. Vincent Lecavalier scored on a breakaway on a good pass by Luke Schenn, and in the vaning minutes Matt Read scored his second goal of the game on a 3-on-1. The Pens had a couple of nice looks, one by Megna and another by Despres, but Mason was up to the task. Also in the second period Brooks Orpik laid a hit from behind on Sean Couturier that wasn't penalized but should have been. It was a check from behind, and it's possible that he'll hear from the league on that one. I sat barely 10 feet away and had a really good look at it - I didn't like it one bit. The link above has a really good gif, so judge for yourselves.
The third period was mostly going through the motions. In the end, the Pens went 0/5 on the PP (while allowing a shorthanded goal) and 3/4 on the PK. Fleury stopped 36 of 40 shots for a .900 SV%, which is actually pretty good considering the mess in front of him. On the other end, Mason stopped all 25 shots for his 4th shutout of the year.
There you have it. The Pens were down many guys, which excuses the lack of skill but not the lack of effort. Let's hope the rematch tomorrow on home ice goes better. Kunitz was cited as possible for tomorrow by Dan Bylsma, and Beau Bennett will also be evaluated tomorrow for a possible return sometime next week.