PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Brian Elliott and the Flyers defense stymied Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Elliott made 19 saves, Jakub Voracek and James van Riemsdyk scored, and Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh 3-0 Tuesday night.
It was Elliott’s first shutout of the season and 39th of his career. The 34-year-old is filling in for injured Carter Hart.
“Really strong, really defensive-minded,” Elliott said. “Give them time and space, they can make plays, and we took it away.”
Justin Braun added an empty-netter for the Flyers, playing their eighth game in 15 days. They enter a nine-day break having won five of seven.
“Guys battled hard and when we did make mistakes, Brian made some big saves,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “He’s a battler, a pro and a good example for Carter.”
Pittsburgh, one of three teams with at least 30 wins entering Tuesday, was playing its seventh game in 12 days. The Penguins had won two in a row and six of seven. It is the second time they have been shut out this season.
“There was a lack of execution, no attention to detail and no sense of urgency,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “You can’t play that way in this league and expect to win. We were easy to play against. There’s nothing positive I can draw on from this. It’s disappointing.”
Both teams head into the All-Star break followed by a bye week. They’ll resume action against each other Jan. 31 in Pittsburgh.
Flyers fans greeted Crosby with the usual loud boos when he was introduced and when he touched the puck. The jeers haven’t bothered Crosby in the past — he entered with 48 points (18 goals, 30 assists) in 32 games in Philadelphia.
He wasn’t able to get on the board Tuesday. Crosby’s best chance came on a slap shot from close range but at a sharp angle in the waning seconds of the second period. Elliott managed to get his pad on that one.
“We really got up for this game,” Elliott said.
Crosby had at least a point in each of the four games he had played since returning Jan. 14 from a 28-game absence due to core muscle surgery.
Elliott’s best stop came with 10:49 left when he closed his pads on Bryan Rust’s try from right in front after a between-the-legs pass from Crosby from behind the net. Elliott, who was playing his third game in the last four after Hart suffered an abdominal injury in practice Jan. 14, also twice was helped by the post — on Andrew Agozzino’s deflection with 3:39 left in the first and Marcus Pettersson’s slap shot with 14:15 remaining in the third.
The Flyers scored two goals in the second period.
Voracek put Philadelphia on the board 5:26 into the period when Sean Couturier threaded a pass to him through two defenders. Voracek deked to his backhand and shot just inside the post past the outstretched pad of Tristan Jarry.
Van Riemsdyk stayed hot with his 14th of the season with 1:20 left in the second on a one-timer through Jarry’s legs from close range after a great pass by Travis Konecny. Elevated to the No. 1 line in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Kings, van Riemsdyk has four points (two goals, two assists) in the last two games.
“The approach was we wanted to go into the break feeling good about ourselves,” van Riemsdyk said.
NOTES: Penguins D Justin Schultz (lower body) missed his 16th consecutive game. Schultz practiced Monday and could return to the lineup on Jan. 31 in Pittsburgh’s next game. … Pittsburgh C Dominik Kahun sat with a concussion after being hurt in the Penguins’ 4-3 win over Boston on Sunday. … Phillies players Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto watched from a suite. … Flyers F Michael Raffl (upper body) didn’t play after being injured on Saturday. … Jarry made 27 saves.
Penguins: Host Flyers on Jan. 31.
Flyers: At Penguins on Jan. 31