Whitney had a goal and two assists, and Sidney Crosby and Dominic Moore each added a goal and an assist as the Penguins defeated the Flyers 5-3 on Monday night despite not having Crosby on the ice in the third period.
“We match up well against them (the Flyers),” Whitney said. “It’s like a four-point game whenever we play them. It’s a rival game. Everyone gets pumped up. It’s been going well for us and we’ve played really well against them.”
John LeClair and Sergei Gonchar also scored for the Penguins, who snapped their four-game road-losing streak and handed the Flyers their fifth straight home loss. Pittsburgh is 4-0 against Philadelphia this season.
Crosby, who leads the Penguins with 30 points, came up with a sore groin shortly after scoring a goal at 5:47 of the second period. He did not play in the third period “as a precautionary measure,” according to coach Michel Therrien, who added that he was “not concerned” about the injury.
A Penguins spokesman said Crosby wasn’t expected to miss any further playing time. Their next game is at home Wednesday against Boston.
Crosby also had an assist on Moore’s goal at 4:31 of the first period that gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead.
Flyers captain Peter Forsberg said the Penguins are outplaying Philadelphia this season.
“Every single game they have been up a couple of goals on us at the beginning,” Forsberg said. “We said we were going to come out physical. I do not think we did that. They came out and hit us. We are not playing the right way.”
Simon Gagne, Geoff Sanderson, and Frederick Meyer scored for the Flyers, who trailed 3-0 after the first period.
The Penguins have outscored the Flyers 20-7.
LeClair, who played parts of 10 seasons with Philadelphia, knows what his former teammates are going through.
“We’ve caught them at a couple of good, opportune times in the scheduling,” LeClair said. “Also, if you look at our team now, we’re developing as a team and we’re getting better each year. This year we’re much better than we were last year.”
Whitney threaded a cross-ice pass to LeClair, who flicked the puck past goalie Antero Niittymaki 35 seconds in for the Penguins’ first goal on a power play.
Moore made it 2-0 at 4:31 after taking a spectacular centring pass from Crosby, who streaked down the ice, stopped at the circle, spun around and put the puck on Moore’s stick.
Whitney scored with nine seconds left in the period, beating Niittymaki high following a scramble.
Gagne’s deflection of Joni Pitkanen’s long slap shot on a power play got the Flyers on the board at 4:58 of the second period. Crosby answered for the Penguins 49 seconds later with a shot from inside the left circle. Sanderson and Gonchar then traded power-play goals within a span of 2:28, making it 5-2 after two periods.
Meyer’s goal came on a scramble during a power play with three seconds left in the game.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who has all four wins against the Flyers this season, made 22 saves – including a brilliant sprawling stop of Gagne’s breakaway late in the third period. Niittymaki stopped 29 shots.
Notes: Flyers coach John Stevens, who replaced the fired Ken Hitchcock on Oct. 22, was given a two-year contract. He fell to 4-8-1. … Crosby and Philadelphia C Mike Richards played in their 100th NHL game. … Flyers D Alexandre Picard, who sustained a concussion at San Jose on Saturday, was scratched. … Pittsburgh RW Andre Roy was a healthy scratch. … Crosby has 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists) in 12 career games against the Flyers. … The last time the Penguins defeated the Flyers at least four times was during the 1992-93 season when they took the season series 5-1-1.