PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The Pittsburgh Penguins just gave away a victory.
Miscommunication between goaltender Sebastien Caron and center Rico Fata
left a loose puck sitting behind the Penguins' goal early in the third period
Sunday, and Simon Gagne converted Alex Zhamnov's ensuing pass for an easy goal
into an empty net that lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-3 tie.
``I looked at Rico, he was coming toward me, and I told him to take the
puck,'' said Caron, who made 24 saves. ``He was telling me to shoot it, and
nobody did anything. We just let it go.''
Gagne's 21st goal and second in as many games salvaged a critical point for
the Flyers, who have won just one of their last seven road games (1-3-2-1).
``Alex just took the puck and made a pass, and I had an open net after
that,'' Gagne said. ``I was a little bit surprised. I had a lot of time to make
sure the puck was flat on the ice and went into the net.''
Zhamnov and Kim Johnsson also scored for the Flyers, who are unbeaten in
four games (2-0-2) and moved within one point of Southwest Division-leading
Tampa Bay for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Aleksey Morozov scored twice and Milan Kraft set up three goals for the
Penguins, who are last overall in the NHL, but unbeaten in five games (4-0-1)
and 6-2-2 in their past 10.
The Flyers are headed to Amelia Island, Fla., for workouts over the next
three days before returning home to play Toronto on Thursday.
``We are making too many mistakes,'' said Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock.
``This (trip) could not have come at a better time for us, because we have some
people that need to regain their focus. We have two or three people literally
carrying our hockey club right now, and we need a lot more on board.''
Said John LeClair, ``It's going to be good to just get away for a couple of
Morozov tied the game 2-2 with his 12th goal of the season at 7:09 of the
second period. Kraft tried to stuff the puck past goaltender Sean Burke from
behind the net, but it slid in front to Morozov, who swept it into the net.
Morozov put the Penguins ahead for the first time with a power-play score at
17:55 when he gloved Kraft's pass, set the puck down and beat Burke with a
backhander from the edge of the right circle.
``I've just had some good chances and they're going in,'' said Morozov, who
has eight goals and 21 points in the last 24 games after a disappointing first
half. ``When you're getting goals and points, you always play with confidence,
and I'm trying to keep that confidence the rest of the season.''
Zhamnov gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 3:14 of the first period when he
circled the net and tossed a backhander through traffic and past Caron for his
Pittsburgh tied it at 13:24 on Landon Wilson's fourth goal of the season, a
turning shot from the left circle. But Philadelphia regained the lead with 11.9
seconds to play in the period when Mark Recchi's centering pass from the right
corner was directed in by Johnsson for his 11th goal.
The Flyers had four power plays in the opening period, outshooting the
Penguins 11-5 and controlling play.
``It was tough because we spent quite a bit of time in the penalty box and a
lot of (our players) weren't able to get into the flow of the game,'' said
Pittsburgh coach Ed Olczyk. ``But we had another huge five-on-three kill in the
first, and we had very good goaltending.''