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Malkin's Goal the Difference as Penguins Beat Flyers, 3-2

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

(Pittsburgh, PA, November 13) – Evgeni Malkin broke a 2-2 tie with just over two minutes left in regulation, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night at Mellon Arena.

Malkin took a pass from Mark Recchi and one-timed a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle past goaltender Antero Niittymaki at 17:57 for the game-winning goal.

Mike Knuble had a great chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but his shot from the side of the net was frozen by Marc-Andre Fleury while Philadelphia was shorthanded due to a hooking penalty to Joni Pitkanen. Fleury also held his ground on the ensuing faceoff as time ticked down with the puck near the goal crease and several Flyers trying to poke it in.

The victory ended Pittsburgh's five-game losing streak, while the Flyers dropped their sixth in a row.

"We need to come out and take charge and dictate hockey games from the drop of the puck. Pittsburgh had lost a bunch of games here and we knew they were going to come out ready to play, but that shouldn't matter to us," said John Stevens after the game. "We should be able to come in here and worry about how we're going to compete and set the tone of the hockey game and let them react to us."

The Flyers continue their four-game road trip on Wednesday night in Anaheim (10:00 p.m., CW-57, 610 WIP). Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will play the fourth of their eight-game season series in the next home game for the Flyers on November 20 at the Wachovia Center.

"We have to learn how to win again. It's frustrating but that's the way it is sometimes and you just have to keep going," said Niittymaki, who was strong in net making 36 saves.

Trailing 2-1 in the third, the Flyers tied the game at 6:26, when Mike Richards fought off two Penguins behind the net, wheeled around and sent the puck towards the crease. Geoff Sanderson was there to knock it in for his fourth goal of the season.

The Flyers outshot the Penguins 15-8 in the third period after they were trailing in shots on goal after two, 31-10.

"Our forecheck was non-existent until the third period, but we all got going in the third period and spent a lot of time in their offensive zone and generated an attack," said Stevens. "To me, that's got to happen a lot sooner than the third period."

After a scoreless first period, Philadelphia got on the board with a fortunate bounce. On a three-on-one, Randy Robitaille attempted a pass to Simon Gagne, but Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar tipped the puck through the legs of Fleury at 2:14.

Robitaille has three goals in his last two games since returning from injury.

The Penguins responded with a pair of goals to take the lead at the second break. A Mike Rathje turnover right to the stick of Sidney Crosby tied the game when Crosby skated from his own end before seeing daylight in the far top corner of the net for his seventh goal of the season. Five of those goals have come against the Flyers, including a hat trick in the last meeting on October 28 which the Penguins won at the Wachovia Center, 8-2.

Another odd-man opportunity resulted in Jordan Staal's sixth goal of the year, when he one-timed a pass from Michel Ouellet at 15:38.

The Flyers had a couple of good chances to tie the game before the break, but Gagne's slap shot rang off the crossbar, and later Robitaille was unable to tip a pass from Gagne into an open net on a Flyers power play in the final minute of the frame.

Philadelphia finished the night 0-for-5 on the power play and killed off all seven Pittsburgh advantages.

Knuble returned to the Flyers' lineup after missing the last six games with a broken finger. … Peter Forsberg did not play, as he was in Cleveland, Ohio, testing out a brace for his foot. … Eric Meloche, who had two assists in four games with the Flyers, was reassigned to the Phantoms on Sunday. … Pittsburgh outshot the Flyers in the game, 39-25.
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