The Associated PressPHILADELPHIA (AP) — Claude Giroux and the Philadelphia Flyers feel their record isn’t indicative of the team they have. They certainly showed why on Wednesday night.
Wayne Simmonds scored the 200th goal of his career and Steve Mason made 23 saves to lead Philadelphia to a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Giroux, Sean Couturier and Dale Weise also scored for the Flyers, who closed within five points of the idle New York Islanders for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Making the postseason remains a long shot for Philadelphia with just 13 games remaining and four teams to pass.
The Flyers snapped a three-game losing streak while handing the defending Stanley Cup champions their fourth shutout of the season.
“For us, it’s frustrating coming to the rink every day knowing we’re a better team than what we are in the standings,” Giroux said. “We have some games left here and we’re not going to stop.”
The road-weary Penguins completed an eight-day, five-game road trip that took them through four time zones as they traveled 4,763 miles. The journey got longer due to Tuesday’s snowstorm in the Northeast, which caused the Penguins to fly home from Calgary on Tuesday rather than directly to Philadelphia. Pitts-burgh arrived in Philadelphia late Wednesday morning.
But the Penguins didn’t use the travel as an excuse.
“I think everyone’s been in different situations over the course of their career,” Sidney Crosby said. “Sometimes it’s not perfect, but you’ve still got to go out there and perform, so I don’t think we’re going to use that as an excuse.”
With 95 points, Pittsburgh remained two behind idle Washington for first place in the Metropolitan Division and the best record in the NHL.
“We knew this was going to be a tough one coming into it,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.
“We obviously didn’t have the juice we normally have, but give the Flyers credit. They played extremely hard.”