Pens down Flyers, retake first place


Sidney Crosby’s continued dominance of the Flyers helped the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins move back into first place.

Conor Sheary scored two goals, Crosby had three assists and Pittsburgh surged into the top spot in the Metropolitan Division with a 5-2 victory over the Flyers on Wednesday night.

Phil Kessel, Jamie Oleksiak and Evgeni Malkin also scored for the Penguins, who have won three straight. Pittsburgh (39-25-4, 82 points) moved one point ahead of idle Washington and three in front of third-place Philadelphia.

Crosby continued to haunt the Flyers, upping his total to 91 points in 62 career games against Pittsburgh’s intrastate rival.

“Everybody gets up for it,” Crosby said of the rivalry. “It brings out the best in everybody.”

Crosby’s third assist gave him 1,100 career points.

“His line was dynamic,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

Sheary began the game on the fourth line, but played alongside Crosby for parts of the night — and benefited greatly. Crosby assisted on both goals to help Sheary break out of a slump, as he entered without a goal in 15 straight contests.

“He goes to tough areas and plays bigger than he is,” Crosby said of the 170-cm Sheary.

“Thrilled for Conor,” Sullivan said. “Essentially what I told him is, ‘Nothing lasts forever.’ “

Travis Konecny and Jakub Voracek had goals for the Flyers, who lost their fourth in a row.

“We didn’t play a complete game 5-on-5,” Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol said. “We made some mistakes.”

Flames 5, Sabres 1

In Buffalo, Sam Bennett and Mark Jankowski scored three minutes apart in the first period and Calgary snapped a four-game skid.

Coyotes 2, Canucks 1

In Vancouver, Derek Stepan scored with 58 seconds left in the third period, leading Arizona over the Canucks.

Francis moved aside

In other NHL news, Hall of Fame player Ron Francis is out as general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes after four years but will remain with the team in another front-office position.

New owner Tom Dundon said Wednesday night that the team will begin a search for a new GM. Francis will become the team’s president of hockey operations.