PITTSBURGH - One game, and the Philadelphia Flyers already have a better season series record against the Pittsburgh Penguins than they did last season.
Joffrey Lupul and Jeff Carter scored on two of Philadelphia's first three shots and the Flyers beat the Penguins 3-1 on Wednesday night, their first victory in two seasons against their division rival.
The Flyers went 0-8 against the Penguins last season, the first time in club history they have lost that many games in a season to a single opponent. They hadn't won in Pittsburgh in five games since Jan. 21, 2006, or against the Penguins in any venue since April 11, 2006.
"With so many new faces, we didn't think it would be the same," defenceman Jason Smith said. "There weren't a lot of guys who were here last year, but we wanted to put that behind us. It's a new season and a fresh start."
Mike Richards also scored for the Flyers, who had dropped four of six and were coming off a 2-0 loss to the Rangers on Monday night. The Flyers averaged two goals in their previous six games, only to get that many in slightly more than 5???? minutes against Dany Sabourin, who didn't look comfortable on either shot.
Penguins coach Michel Therrien stayed with Sabourin after he shut out the Devils 5-0 on Monday night, even though Marc-Andre Fleury was 8-0 against the Flyers last season and 10-3 with a 2.74 goals-against average in 14 career appearances.
So much for going with the hot goalie.
The Flyers needed 28 seconds to take the lead as Daniel Briere, shifted from the top line to the third line during practice Tuesday, found Lupul open in the slot for a hard wrist shot. Lasse Kukkonen was in front of the net and may have screened Sabourin on Lupul's fifth goal.
"We got off to a good start, that's something we talked about," Briere said. "We haven't gotten off to good starts."
Briere and Lupul weren't with Philadelphia last season, but were aware of the streak.
"It's a rivalry where you want to make a statement early in these games," Lupul said. "We've got them seven more times and we've got to build on it."
Sabourin also was slow to react on Carter's seventh goal, after the Flyers took the puck from Sergei Gonchar with some strong forechecking by Scottie Upshall and Scott Hartnell. Upshall fed in front to Carter, and he beat Sabourin easily high to the glove side with about 5???? minutes gone.
"The message before the game was we have to make our team aware of Pittsburgh, but we have to play our game," coach John Stevens said. "We have to believe in ourselves and show everybody we're a hockey team."
The Penguins, who scored five goals or more five times against the Flyers last season, got back into the game when Ryan Malone scored in the final minute of the period. Evgeni Malkin collided with Kimmo Timonen, while carrying the puck into the neutral zone and lost control, but Sidney Crosby scooped it up on the fly and found Malone open at the edge of the net.
A season ago, Crosby had seven goals and nine assists against the Flyers. This night, all three Flyers goals came against Pittsburgh's top line of Crosby, Malkin and Ryan Malone.
"We hit a couple of posts, we had our opportunities but it's hard to fall behind like that and get back into it," Crosby said.
Richards restored the Flyers' two-goal lead when he and Smith teamed on a two-on-one break midway through the second period. Defenceman Alain Nasreddine stayed back and tried to read the play only to have Richards snap off a shot that Sabourin couldn't defend.
The Penguins were 0-7 on the power play as Martin Biron made 26 saves in improving to 8-4. Pittsburgh had scored at least one power play goal in each of its first 14 games.
"Eighty-two games, you can't score a power play goal in every game," Petr Sykora said. "We've got to start a new streak."
Notes: Both teams play their fifth game in eight nights on Thursday, the Penguins against the Rangers and the Flyers against New Jersey. ... Plane problems forced the Penguins to cancel their post-game flight to New York. They will fly there Thursday morning, an infrequent day-of-the-game flight. ... The Flyers are 7-0 when they score first. ... The Penguins lost their fifth in seven games. ... Philadelphia was held to three shots in the third period and 20 overall. ... Flyers D R.J. Umberger, a Pittsburgh native who assisted on the first goal, was cut on the face during a second-period fight with Brooks Orpik but later returned.