Weise helps Flyers defeat slumping Penguins 4-2
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The struggling Philadelphia Flyers are just trying to reset following a tumultuous week in which the organization saw major changes in the front office.
A road win against their biggest rival was a good start.
“This is a good stepping stone, as we know we haven’t had a lot of consistency,” Weise said. “This is a step in the right direction. I thought we had good contributions from everybody.”
The Flyers, who started the day last in the Eastern Conference, fired general manager Ron Hextall earlier this week in addition to their assistant general manager and an assistant coach.
The players responded on Saturday.
Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny and Jakub Voracek also scored for the Flyers, who won for the second time in eight games. Anthony Stolarz stopped 30 shots for his first win since Dec. 11, 2016, at Detroit.
“Changes at the rink, it’s never easy, but for us, it’s our job to prepare ourselves and move forward,” Stolarz said. “Hopefully this is the start of a nice little run.”
“I think we beat ourselves and that’s unfortunate,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It’s discouraging because I felt like we made great strides. We have high expectations from our group. We’re all responsible, so we have to make sure we do the necessary things to improve.”
Weise gave Philadelphia a 3-2 lead 51 seconds into the third period with a short-handed goal. He beat DeSmith between the pads on the breakaway for his second goal this season.
“I didn’t want to deke,” Weise said. “I missed one a couple weeks ago, so I had to shoot. It worked out well on fresh ice.”
The Penguins have allowed a league-worst six short-handed goals. Along with the short-handed winner, Pittsburgh gave up three breakaways on Saturday.
“We don’t have a conscience defensively when we’re on the ice on the power play,” Sullivan said. “It’s simply inexcusable, and we talked about it. And it can’t happen. It’s hard to win when your power play gives up a goal like that in a game like this.”
Stolarz kept the Flyers in front when he stopped Derek Grant on a short-handed breakaway later in the period. Voracek sealed it with an empty-netter.
“(Grant) kind of covered the puck, so I kind of knew he was going to go low,” Stolarz said. “He kind of tried to chip it, I tried to take away the five-hole, and I was lucky to get enough on it.”
It was the first meeting of the season between the cross-state rivals. It was also the first game since the Penguins swept the regular-season series and eliminated the Flyers in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring.
Crosby opened the scoring 39 seconds into the game. He finished a 2-on-1 with a one-timer on a pass from Jake Guentzel. Crosby, who recorded his 11th career hat trick Wednesday against Colorado, has 14 goals and 24 points in his last 16 games. Crosby and Guentzel are both riding a four-game point streak.
Konecny evened the score when he beat DeSmith to the blocker side on a breakaway. Konecny has points in five of his last six games.
The teams traded goals 1:03 apart in the second period. Sheahan gave Pittsburgh a brief lead and Giroux tied it on a one-timer from a sharp angle near the goal line.
Weise came through for the Flyers in the third.
“It’s huge to win in this building,” Weise said. “We have to start thinking about the next game. It’s about stringing some wins together now.”
NOTES: Patric Hornqvist returned for Pittsburgh after missing three games with a concussion. … Flyers F Jori Lehtera played in his 300th NHL game. He was a healthy scratch the previous three games. … The Flyers recorded their first power play in eight periods on Saturday. Their most recent power play came two games ago Nov. 23 against the New York Rangers. … Pittsburgh has not allowed a power-play goal in eight games and 15 chances. … The Penguins and Flyers will play an outdoor game Feb. 23 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Flyers: Meet Columbus at home on Thursday.
Penguins: Continue a three-game homestand Tuesday against Colorado.