(Philadelphia, PA, October 28, 2006) – Sidney Crosby had three goals and Maxime Talbot
added a pair himself as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Saturday night, 8-2.
With Pittsburgh ahead 2-1 after the first period, it took control with four unanswered goals in the second.
First, Talbot gloved a flipped pass out of the air by Sergei Gonchar in the neutral zone and raced in on net, lifting the puck past Antero Niittymaki 3-1 at 2:23.
Crosby tallied the next two to complete the hat trick, whacking in a loose puck in the slot just 18 seconds after Talbot's goal, and then stripping Derian Hatcher of the puck in front of the Flyers net and sliding it behind Robert Esche at 8:14. Esche had replaced Niittymaki after Crosby's second goal.
The loss dropped the Flyers' record to 2-7-1.
"The problem is that when we face adversity, how do we react? To me, that is the concern right now," said John Stevens after the game.
"There a lot of things you want to make sure do not happen anymore, but on the positive side there are 72 games left and we do have a chance to pull this around," said Mike Knuble.
Rookie Evgeni Malkin capped the second period barrage with a power play goal with 6:21 left. He also added two assists on the night.
Philadelphia had several scoring chances in the period but seemingly could not catch a break. Stefan Ruzicka had a chance at the side of the net but could not get the puck inside the near post, while Jeff Carter's breakaway was poked away by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury soon after while it was still a 4-1 game.
For the second straight game, it didn't take long for the Flyers to take the lead. Randy Robitaille brought the puck into the zone on a semi-breakaway, but was stopped by Fleury while going to his backhand. The puck made its way back to the top of the zone where Carter kept it in fired a wrist shot on net, and Knuble was there to backhand in the rebound at 2:02.
Pittsburgh tied the game at 6:03 on a 4-on-2 rush, as Crosby worked a give-and-go with Ryan Whitney.
Philadelphia went on a power play after that, but it was Pittsburgh that took the lead. Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagne collided at the blue line and Talbot picked up the lose puck before racing in for a breakaway goal. The Penguins had just two shots on goal at that point but still led 2-1.
"I think that sometimes when you don't score, it snaps the life out of you, but we have to figure out a way to stay with it," said Stevens. "We come out and play 20 minutes and look like we are the superior team and then the next 40, we're not even close."
"If you look at the games it is not from lack of trying. We are giving up too many clear-cut chances," said Forsberg.
Ruzicka's first goal in the NHL came at 1:52 of the third period on the power play, but Mark Recchi and Dominic Moore tallied for Pittsburgh to cap the scoring.
Fleury, who has started all of the nine Penguins games this season, finished with 31 saves to record the victory. The Flyers outshot Pittsburgh for the game, 33-30.
The homestand continues for the Flyers on Monday when the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Wachovia Center (7:00 p.m., Versus, 610 WIP).FLYERS NOTES
Stevens made one change to his lineup from Thursday, inserting Geoff Sanderson back into the lineup and scratching Triston Grant . The Penguins defeated the Flyers in the season opener for both clubs in Pittsburgh on October 5, 4-0. The two teams meet again next at Mellon Arena on November 13. The Flyers were 1-for-7 on the power play while Pittsburgh was 1-for-5.