PHILADELPHIA (AP) --The team with the NHL's best record finally found a way
to beat the club with the worst mark.
Radovan Somik, Eric Weinrich, and Chris Therien all scored their first goals
of the season to help the Philadelphia Flyers extend their home-unbeaten streak
to 13 games with a 5-2 victory Wednesday night over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The teams tied twice earlier this season, once in Philadelphia and last week
Jeremy Roenick and Mark Recchi also scored for Philadelphia, the only team
in the NHL still unbeaten at home (11-0-2). The Flyers had their overall
12-game unbeaten run (10-0-2) snapped with a loss Monday at Ottawa.
"Pittsburgh's played us tough all year," Therien said. "They're
competitive, they have young guys that are working for jobs, and that's the way
the league is right now. They have a young team with a lot of exuberance and
they are a hard team to play against."
Jeff Hackett stopped 30 shots to extend his unbeaten streak to seven games
(6-0-1) for the Flyers, who lead the NHL with 36 points.
"Once in a while it's kind of nice to get out there and get in a rhythm and
feel good because you're getting lots of work," Hackett said. "Sometimes the
games are tougher when you're only getting 15 shots. I think tonight was my
best game for a while.
"It was nice to come out and feel like you really contributed and really
had to make a difference."
Matt Bradley and Ramzi Abid scored for the Penguins, who snapped a
three-game winless streak on Monday with a victory against Atlanta. Pittsburgh
has won only two of 12 road games (2-9-1) and has the fewest points in the NHL
Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said he knew the Flyers were going to win
How did he know?
"Because we are a better team," Hitchcock said. "We have more talent. We
are deeper, we have a good work ethic. I knew we were going to win the game.
Pittsburgh is not going to beat us at home."
Bradley put the Penguins ahead 1-0 just 20 seconds into the first period,
hammering in a rebound of a shot by Ryan Malone that bounced off Hackett's pad.
The Flyers tied it at 5:29, nine seconds into a power play, when Roenick
tipped in a slap shot by Eric Desjardins from inside the blue line.
Somik made it 2-1 at 10:44. He skated in from the left side and momentarily
lost control of the puck. He regained possession in time to stuff it under
Sebastien Caron's outstretched glove.
The Flyers broke it open with two goals in a span of 49 seconds in the
second period. After Weinrich scored on a long slap shot at 13:13, Therien beat
Caron low to the glove side with a wrist shot from the left circle at 14:02.
"The Flyers are one of the teams who has a legitimate chance to go to the
Stanley Cup," Pittsburgh coach Eddie Olczyk said. "I think they knew they
were in a hockey game. I thought we played well. Our penalty killing let us
down tonight which has been a real bright spot for us."
Abid and Recchi traded third-period goals. It was Recchi's team-leading 11th
of the season.
"The Flyers are one of the best teams in the NHL, but tonight we worked
hard and created a lot of scoring chances," Abid said. "You never know, if we
had capitalized on a couple of them it might have been a different game."
Pittsburgh was without Mario Lemieux (hip injury), Rico Fata (knee), Dan
Fochi (broken finger), Steve McKenna (eye), and Michal Rozsival (knee).