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Pens blow lead, beat Flyers in shootout

by John Kreiser / NHL.com
Thanks to rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski, the Pittsburgh Penguins weren't on the receiving end of a big comeback Thursday night.

Two nights after the Pens overcame a 5-2 deficit to beat Detroit 7-6 in overtime, they blew a three-goal lead of their own by surrendering four goals to Philadelphia in the second period. But Sidney Crosby saved the day by scoring with 2:33 remaining in regulation and Goligoski got the lone goal in the shootout as the Penguins escaped with a 5-4 victory.

''That was a tough game to play emotionally because of the game in Detroit,'' Penguins coach Michel Therrien said.

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Both goaltenders stopped the first five tries in the shootout before Goligoski came in and shifted the puck from backhand to forehand before sliding it along the goal line and past Mathieu Biron.

''It's a move I've done before,'' said Goligoski, who has three goals. ''If something was open to shoot I would have shot, but, yeah, I kind of knew what I was doing.''

Biron had stopped the more-accomplished Petr Sykora, Kris Letang, Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Miroslav Satan before being beaten by the rookie defenseman.

''The kid's pretty good at shootouts in practice,'' Therrien said. ''We practice it every week. He definitely has the skill.''

Dany Sabourin, who replaced Marc-Andre Fleury to start the third period, then stopped Scott Hartnell for the win, handing the Flyers their eighth consecutive loss in Pittsburgh — including three in last spring's playoffs.

''It's something I practiced during the summer,'' said Sabourin, who has allowed only one shooter to score in three shootouts this season. ''It's something I added to my game.''

Matt Cooke gave the Penguins the lead 7:06 into the game, and when Malkin and Crosby beat Biron on consecutive backhanders in the first 3:51 of the second period, it looked like party time at Mellon Arena.

But the Flyers had other ideas, and took advantage of some Pittsburgh mistakes and a good bounce to catch and pass the Penguins by the end of the period.

''It was 3-0 and we called a timeout,'' coach John Stevens said. ''Exactly what I said was we aren't playing that bad. The three goals that they got we have almost given them. ... The encouraging thing was we were able to come back against a good team.''

Jeff Carter started the comeback at 7:46, and barely a minute later, Simon Gagne made it a 3-2 game when he cut through Goligoski and Malkin on a shorthanded breakaway and, with Malkin draped on his shoulder, put a backhander past Fleury.

Gagne tied it at 3-3 at 13:56 with his 11th career shorthanded goal and second of the game. Joffrey Lupul then stunned the crowd and put the Flyers ahead for the first time by deflecting Kimmo Timonen's shot and bouncing it past Fleury with four seconds left in the period.

''We found a way to get a three-goal lead, but our power play was not very good and it gave them an opportunity to get back into the game,'' Therrien said.

Lupul hadn't scored in five games before getting his eighth goal in 14 career games against Pittsburgh.

 
 
The Flyers looked like they might get through the third period unscathed, but Crosby tied it with his sixth goal of the season and 18th in 22 career games against the Flyers. He was alone in the slot when Malkin worked the puck free from Richards behind the net and threw a passout that was missed by Maxime Talbot but came right to the Pittsburgh captain.

Even though the season hasn't reached the quarter pole, this loss hurt.

''Late in the (third) period we were doing a lot of good things, and then one mistake against a team that's very opportunistic and it's 4-4,'' Richards said. ''It's a tough way to lose a game.''

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.




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