(Philadelphia, PA, January 13) – Jordan Staal broke a 3-3 tie with a third period goal and Evgeni Malkin had three points as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Saturday afternoon, 5-3.
Malkin took advantage of a turnover in the Flyers' zone and raced in with Staal on a two-on-one rush. The rookie passed to Staal who deposited the puck into the open net at 7:34 for the game-winning goal. Malkin added an empty net goal to cap the scoring.
Trailing 3-1 in the second period, Philadelphia tied the game before the intermission.
First, Simon Gagne tallied his 21st of the season on a perfect feed by Peter Forsberg, who faked a shot before laying the puck out perfectly in front of a charging Gagne who redirected it in at 17:04.
Philadelphia went on the power play and Forsberg tied the game. After controlling the puck in the zone, Forsberg passed it to the point to Joni Pitkanen. Pitkanen sent it across the ice to Alexei Zhitnik, and Forsberg tipped in the one-timer by the defenseman to tie the game.
"We got in a bit of a hole there but we played with a lot of emotion," said John Stevens. "We played with an edge, and played with some good determination and climbed back into the hockey game. It was great to see the fans. They were great. They appreciated that kind of a fight and they really revved us up there and we made a big push in the second period."
Still, Philadelphia was unable to complete the comeback.
"We were clicking the whole game. We had a good power play goal and the last couple of games we've had power play goals, but you need a break somewhere," said Mike Knuble.
Zhitnik was involved in a scrum late in the period with Pittsburgh on the power play with league-leading scorer Sidney Crosby. The play resulted in a double-minor to Crosby for roughing while Zhitnik received only two minutes.
The game was a physical one from the outset. In the first period, Ben Eager drilled Erik Christensen along the boards, and then got into a fight with Chris Thorburn. Eager was issued an instigator penalty and game misconduct at 10:17.
Forsberg also threw his weight around, laying a hard shoulder to flatten Maxime Talbot
in the second period as Talbot had to be helped off of the ice. The Flyers' captain also nailed Ryan Malone in the corner late in the second period on a delayed penalty.
"He was physical, he was on the puck, he was making plays and it was great to see. He really led the way there," said Stevens of Forsberg.
Philadelphia lost its sixth straight game and eighth in a row at home.
"I scored today, but it's still a loss," said Forsberg. "It's still six in a row so it's not good."
The game was the sixth of eight between the Flyers and Penguins. Pittsburgh has won all six.
Philadelphia jumped ahead to a 1-0 lead on a Ryan Potulny goal from Jeff Carter at 1:37, but Pittsburgh took a 2-1 lead before the opening frame on a Sergei Gonchar one-timer and a rebound goal by Malkin after the Flyers turned it over in their own zone.
Mark Recchi's power play goal at 15:16 of the second period gave the Penguins a two-goal cushion.
Philadelphia has off until Thursday when the New York Islanders visit the Wachovia Center (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, 610 WIP).FLYERS NOTES
Forsberg registered his 100th point as a Flyer with his assist on Gagne's goal. He is one assist shy of 600 in his career, an NHL milestone. … Mike Richards and Geoff Sanderson remain out with sports hernias.