Pittsburgh Penguins Snuff Out Calgary Flames Without Sidney Crosby


The Pittsburgh Penguins scored twice in the first period on Friday night, and rode another solid performance by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to defeat the Calgary Flames 3-1 at Consol Energy Center.

With Sidney Crosby out of action because of an undisclosed illness, it was left wing Blake Comeau and defenseman Kris Letang who led the attack for the Pens (19-6-3, 41 points) as the Flames (17-12-2, 36 points) lost their fourth in a row. The Black and Gold’s last loss to Calgary was on Dec. 3, 2005.

Fleury had a good night as he turned away 26 of 27 to pick up his 16th victory. The Sorel, Quebec native has a career best 2.10 goals-against-average and a .926 save percentage this season.

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Comeau gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead just 48 seconds into the contest when he skated through the neutral zone on a 2-on-1 break with center Jayson Megna, and sent a slap shot that sailed over the blocker of Calgary goaltender Jonas Hiller.

Letang, who had missed the last five games because of a groin injury, put up the game winning goal at 4.43 into the first period. Defenseman Simon Despres took a slap shot from the right point during a 4-on-4 play and Letang tipped it past Hiller to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead.

The Flames made it 2-1 with 7:45 left in the first period when left wing Johnny Gaudreau beat Comeau to a rebound off a slap shot by defenseman Markus Gralund and backhanded the puck into an empty net.

Penguins’ center Rob Klinkhammer scored his first goal since coming over from the Arizona Coyotes off a pass from right wing Steve Downie with 2:47 left in the third period to help Pittsburgh down Calgary for the eighth straight time.

When the final horn went off, Hiller saw his record move to 9-8-1 as he stopped 19 of 22 for the Flames.

It was an early night for Pittsburgh center Zach Sill, who was checked into the boards in the first period and departed the game after 18 seconds of time on the ice.

Meanwhile, Calgary defenseman Ladislav Smid had to leave the contest with an upper-body injury after being hit by Despres in the corner late in the second period.


Up Next: The Black and Gold travel to Columbus on Saturday, Dec. 13 to take on Blue Jackets (11-15-2, 24 points) at Nationwide Arena. The opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.

From The Clipboard: Both teams went 0 for 5 on the power play, and each racked up an identical 14 penalty minutes…Penguins scratches were Sidney Crosby, Brian Dumoulin, and Olli Maatta…The game was played before 18,471…Center Marcel Goc took care of business as he won 10 of 12 faceoffs.