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Penguins Use Strong First Period to Defeat Flyers

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Philadelphia, PA, November 20) – The Pittsburgh Penguins scored three first period goals and defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Monday night, 5-3.

Trailing 3-0 to start the second period, Simon Gagne's 11th goal of the season on a tip-in at 4:58 made it a 3-1 game with Philadelphia on the power play as the Flyers tried to get back into the game. The Penguins regained their three-goal cushion, though, when Sidney Crosby scored on a one-timer from the faceoff circle less than a minute later while trailing an odd-man rush.

Pittsburgh also answered a breakaway, power play goal by Geoff Sanderson at 11:13. Sergei Gonchar lifted in a wrist shot from the high slot at 13:41 while the Flyers' Boyd Kane was serving a tripping penalty, giving the Penguins a 5-2 lead at the second intermission.

"They got up 3-0 and after that, as soon as we got back one they scored and then we got another and they answered again. It was just not good enough tonight," said Peter Forsberg.

Sanderson increased his goal-scoring streak to five games and is second on the team with eight goals behind only Gagne.

A power play goal by Freddy Meyer with two seconds left capped the scoring.

Crosby, who finished with a goal and an assist points, now has 23 points in 12 career games against the Flyers.

The Penguins are now 4-0 against Philadelphia this season. The teams meet again on December 13 at Mellon Arena.

"When you play a team that you haven't had a lot of success against recently, it frustrates you. It doesn't matter who you are playing," said John Stevens. "We shouldn't even be worrying about our opponent right now; we should be worrying about ourselves and what we are doing."

Stevens said that the schedule was not to blame, as the Flyers flew back from San Jose on Sunday.

"The schedule is tough but it is not an excuse. We told (the team) it was going to be tough today," said Stevens.

The Penguins didn't take long in seizing the lead.

First, it was former Flyer John LeClair who took a pass form Ryan Whitney in the high slot and buried the puck past the stick side of Antero Niittymaki just 1:24 into the game on a Pittsburgh power play.

A fancy spin move by Crosby charging the net preceded a backhanded pass to a cutting Dominic Moore, and Moore's backhand went high over Niittymaki on a two-on-two rush to make it a 2-0 score. Whitney tallied another power play goal for the Penguins with just nine seconds left in the frame.

The Penguins were 2-for-8 on the power play while all three Flyers goals came with the man advantage (3-for-8).

Marc-Andre Fleury picked up the victory in net with 22 saves, while Niittymaki absorbed the loss stopping 29 Penguins shots.

Philadelphia remains home to play the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet) and the Columbus Blue Jackets at 1:00 p.m. on Friday.

Kyle Calder returned to the Flyers lineup after being scratched for the last three games. … Jussi Timonen made his NHL debut, taking the place of Alexandre Picard who is sidelined with a mild concussion. … Mike Richards played in his 100th game in the NHL.
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