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Penguins Get By Flyers, 2-0

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh, PA – Colby Armstrong scored the only two goals of the game and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 shots as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at Mellon Arena Sunday night, 2-0.

Leading 1-0, Armstrong scored his second goal of the game after Joni Pitkanen lost the puck in the neutral zone. It eventually ended up on the stick of Sidney Crosby to the left of Robert Esche, and Crosby centered to Armstrong between the circles for a redirection at 2:50.

The goal came shortly after Sami Kapanen hit the crossbar following pressure in the Pittsburgh zone. Philadelphia hit four posts during the night as they were unable to beat Fleury, who recorded last place Pittsburgh's first shutout of the season.

"We had a flat first period and then came back in the second and hit all of those goal posts," said Ken Hitchcock. "We seemed to not have the energy, especially offensively, to do the things we needed to do."

"We had a tough loss yesterday and these guys came out to win," said Peter Forsberg. It's no excuse though, I thought we had a lot of chances and we hit the post a couple of times. In the end, they won the game and we didn't and we're finding it hard to win games."

Philadelphia had a great chance to get back into the game later in the third, when the Penguins' Andre Roy jumped Denis Gauthier and threw several punches at the Flyers defenseman. Roy was tossed from the game and the Flyers went on a seven-minute power play but failed to get any quality scoring chances.

"Gautier gave us a seven-minute power play, and we didn't seem to have the energy to score the goals," said Hitchcock. "I think sometimes [we're] looking for the perfect play. We've got to go down to Florida and we've got to regroup."

Philadelphia will continue its road trip Wednesday against the Panthers (7:00 p.m., CSN).

"As a team, we have to continue to do things right and forget about this [stuff] that's going on," said Esche, who made 18 saves. "Today there were a lot of good things that we did, but we lost the game 2-0. The next two days we have to forget about it and focus on Florida."

The loss snapped an eight-game undefeated streak for the Flyers in Pittsburgh, including six wins and two ties.

Pittsburgh scored the only goal of the first two periods on the power play. Armstrong got free in front of the net and was able to find the rebound of a shot by Ryan Whitney at 7:21.

Philadelphia almost tied the game in the final minute, but a shot by Simon Gagne at the side of the net bounced off the far post and the near post before squiring out underneath Fleury before it was cleared from the crease. A video replay after the horn confirmed the puck did not cross the goal line.

The Flyers generated more offense in the second period, outshooting the Penguins 11-4, but still could not light the lamp. Petr Nedved hit the post on a one-timer from the slot in the second minute of frame and drew a slashing penalty on what was almost a breakaway at 4:04 before he lost control of the puck at the last second.

Philadelphia finished the night 0-for-6 on the power play during a total of 15 minutes.

The Flyers had a chance to tie the Rangers for the division lead, after New York fell in overtime to the Atlanta Thrashers earlier in the day, but still trail by two points in the standings.

The Flyers won five of the first six games against Pittsburgh this season. The final game of the season series is on April 11 in Philadelphia. … Esche played in his 100th game as a Flyer. … Derian Hatcher, Michal Handzus, Kim Johnsson and Chris Therien remained out with injuries, while Turner Stevenson was a healthy scratch. Handzus and Hatcher, however, are with the team. … Philadelphia has lost its last six road games.
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