Flyers down the Penguins, 5-3

PITTSBURGH - The Penguins fired general manager Ray Shero, then jettisoned coach Dan Bylsma with a regular-season record 135 games over .500.

They brought in a new protege for Sidney Crosby in Patric Hornqvist. Wednesday night, they even broke out their gold-and-black jerseys from Mario Lemieux's heyday for the first time since the night they won their second Stanley Cup on June 1, 1992.

Even with all of the new faces and new looks, they still couldn't shake the Flyers.

There was the usual early Penguins onslaught. There was Marc-Andre Fleury flopping all over his crease. There were questionable hits and gloves littering the ice. There were even long stretches of Penguins dominance.

In the end, though, there was Sean Couturier bottling up Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin again and Ray Emery slamming the door for a much-needed 5-3 Flyers win.

Someone should check Pittsburgh city records and make sure the Philadelphia Flyers aren't listed on the deed for the $321 million Consol Energy Center. Despite being totally overmatched at times, Flyers inexplicably are 10-1-1 against the bitter rival at the House that Sid Built since taking the first ever game played on Oct. 7, 2010.

"I don't have an answer for it," coach Craig Berube said, "as long as we keep doing it."

The Flyers got their first peek at their new-and-improved bitter Metropolitan Division rivals - and probably didn't like what they saw at first. Before 10 minutes had even ran off the clock, the Penguins (3-2-0) received a standing ovation from the home crowd for their all-out assault on the Flyers' net and 1-0 lead.

The first 15 minutes appeared to be a rerun from the previous night in Chicago, where the Flyers were thoroughly embarrassed.

"It's no secret, they like to come out hard," Emery said. "When they have elite players like they do, they're going to have some sustained zone time. We talked about downgrading their chances when they do that and then we were fortunate to come back and score."

The Flyers were able to regain their composure with the help of Couturier and a few timely goals. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare notched his first NHL goal; hometown boy R.J. Umberger netted his first in a Flyers uniform since May 13, 2008, in Pittsburgh, back when the Penguins used to dominate the Flyers.

It was Couturier's defensive play, though, that turned the tide to help them pick up their sixth win in their last seven games against the Penguins. Crosby was held without a point for just the 12th time in his 49 career games against the Flyers. He doesn't have a goal in four straight games against the Flyers and just one assist to show for himself.

Malkin picked up an assist, but that was his only point in his last three games against the Flyers. Those two players used to feast on Philadelphia; both Hart Trophy winners have more points against the Flyers than any other team.

Did we mention that Couturier netted a goal and two assists in the effort?

"I liked the way we checked," Berube said. "I think in our neutral zone we did a real good job without the puck. We took away their speed and for the most part, kept them to the outside. That's what you've got to do with 87 [Crosby] and 71 [Malkin], you've got to neutralize their speed as much as you can."

Berube chalked Couturier's success against the Penguins' star players up to the fact that he "doesn't give them room."

"You need to always have an eye where they are," Couturier said. "But I think what's most important is to respect their skill. They're so good and so dominant. You've got to respect that. You can't go for the big hit on them, they can make you look like a fool."

How good was Couturier against Crosby and Malkin? He played 6:03 against Malkin and the Flyers generated as many shot attempts in that time as the Penguins did, according to NaturalStatTrick.com. He played 9:01 against Crosby, and though the Penguins attempted more shots than the Flyers in that span, the Flyers outscored Pittsburgh by a 2-0 margin.

All three of the goals Couturier factored into came with Malkin on the ice.

Suddenly, thanks to Couturier and an impressive effort from Emery, the Flyers returned to Philadelphia with two wins in three games on their road swing. It wasn't always pretty, but the points still count just as much.

"This was a big moment for our team, the way we responded after [Tuesday] night, coming in here and beating a good team on their ice," Umberger said. "We played back-to-back, but we felt like they were the tired team in the third period."

Slap shots

Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek now have as many points on the season (9) as Sidney Crosby. They are one back of Tyler Seguin and John Tavares for the league lead . . . Voracek picked up his 300th career point . . . Zac Rinaldo left the game after the first period and did not return with an "upper-body" injury. Berube said Rinaldo will be re-evaluated today . . . Forward Vinny Lecavalier, out since Oct. 11 with a left foot injury, could resume skating today or tomorrow . . . Braydon Coburn (left foot) was held out of warmups in Pittsburgh. He left the United Center in Chicago with a walking boot on his left foot on Tuesday night after declaring himself out of the lineup.

On Twitter: @frank_seravalli

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