October 17th, 2013.
It was a game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins, at the Wells Fargo Center. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each had a goal and an assist in what was a 4-1 Penguins win. Pens fans were feeling pretty good that night; Flyers fans, not so much.
Fast forward to January 20th, 2016.
Penguins fans hadn't had such a feeling since that date in October, as the Penguins would go on to drop 8 straight games to the Flyers over that course of time. What's even worse is the Penguins' record at Consol Energy Center against Philly. Their first game on the new ice was a 3-2 loss to the Flyers, and it would not stop there. Since then, including playoffs, the Penguins have won a total 3 of 16 games against the Flyers on home ice. There was a Penguins game tomorrow night in Pittsburgh, and it was against the Philadelphia Flyers. Some Penguins writers already had columns written, detailing how bad the Penguins would lose and what that would mean for the club...that's the spirit.
The next day, January 21st, 2016.
They did it. The Penguins finally beat the Flyers, no less at home! Not only was it different to see the Penguins beat the Flyers on home ice, but the game itself wasn't exactly reeking of the "Keystone Rivalry". Brayden Schenn of the Flyers put this nicely:
Other than some minor scrums here and there, Schenn was right. Either Sullivan and Hakstol kept their teams disciplined and warned them of extracurricular activities after the whistles, or the overhaul of the Penguins' roster took away some of the ingrained hate these teams have for each other.
The last time the Penguins played the Flyers was in April. These players were not on the team: Nick Bonino, Conor Sheary, Phil Kessel, Eric Fehr, Carl Hagelin, Trevor Daley...and a few more, but you get the idea. There were a lot of new faces, and they didn't exactly drop the gloves. Instead? They scored goals.
First off, down 2-0 after the first period, the Penguins had a power play near the beginning of the second. Guess who scored on it? Trevor Daley, of course!
After that, Sidney Crosby had a dirty snipe from an impossible angle short side, which tied up the game.
After that? The Phil.
And after that?
Carl Hagelin to...the Phil.
The Hagelin-Malkin-Kessel line was doing great the entire night, specifically the chemistry that seemed to develop between Hags and Phil. The two speed demons would go on to find each other numerous times on a plethora of rushes throughout the game. Who would've guessed?
Claude Giroux would get a goal later on, but the final score?
Penguins 4, Flyers 3. The Penguins won, on home ice no less, against the Flyers for the first time since October 17th of 2013. One would hope this turns into a nice trend for Pittsburgh.
Thanks for reading!
Now enjoy Phil Kessel's celebration on his first goal. He's just as happy as we are.