PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in a scrappy contest on Monday night.
Rickard Rakell, Erik Karlsson and Chad Ruhwedel also scored for Pittsburgh, and Alex Nedeljkovic made 36 saves.
“I thought we got better as the night went on,” Nedeljkovic said.
Owen Tippett scored for the Flyers, who have lost seven of nine.
“They were the better team,” Philadelphia coach John Tortorella said. “We weren’t good enough in either end.”
The game was feisty between the in-state rivals, with several scrums around the net and in the corners after plays. The teams combined for 11 penalties that totaled 24 minutes.
Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang was bloodied 5:43 into the third after he threw Philadelphia’s Garnet Hathaway to the ice before getting a stick in the face from Nicolas Deslauriers. Twenty-six seconds later, Scott Laughton and Malkin were scuffling along the back boards.
The Flyers honored their late founder and owner Ed Snider on Saturday, and Snider certainly would have approved of the physical play from the Flyers, whose tough fighting style earned them the nickname “Broad Street Bullies” when they won back-to-back Stanley Cups during Snider’s tenure in 1974 and ’75.
Perhaps Philadelphia was showing its frustration after Malkin capitalized on a turnover by defenseman Egor Zamula and netted his 15th of the season 4:29 into the third to put Pittsburgh comfortably in front 4-1.
“We’ve been playing really well as of late and it makes it easy, makes it fun,” Nedeljkovic said. “That’s how you want to play.”
The Penguins will have a chance to even the four-game season series when they host Philadelphia in the final contest between the teams on Feb. 25.
Rakell opened the scoring just 45 seconds into the contest with a power-play tally after an early tripping penalty on Sean Couturier. Karlsson’s shot from long range through a screen almost seven minutes later beat goalie Carter Hart, who made 36 stops.
Tippett got the Flyers on the board with 5:05 left in the first period with a rare power-play goal for Philadelphia. The Flyers entered last in the league by converting on just 10.2% (13 of 128) of their chances this season. But Tippett finished on a wrist shot from the right circle after a beautiful setup from Zamula.
“We’re just struggling scoring,” Tortorella said. “We don’t have enough people going offensively.”
A surprising trade was announced in the first period. The Flyers acquired defenseman Jamie Drysdale and a second-round pick in 2025 from Anaheim for high-scoring college left wing Cutter Gauthier.