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Aftermath: Penguins 2, Flyers 3

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
3 - 2

FINAL 1 2 3 T
1 1 1 3
PENGUINS 0 1 1 2
Despite a stellar performance from Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury a two-goal effort from Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh’s winning streak halted at 12 games as they fell to the Flyers, 3-2, at Wells Fargo Center, for their first loss since Nov. 15.

While the game got off to a slow start, things heated up as the game progressed. The first period was filled with stoppages of play stemming from icing and off-sides calls. Even more disarming was that neither team visited the penalty box in the first 20 minutes—a far cry from the last time the two rivals met on Oct. 29, when the refs handed out a combined nine penalties in the first three minutes alone.

But things got interesting once the final 40 minutes ensued, with special teams being the name of the game. The Penguins killed off four Philadelphia power-play opportunities in the second period, and Malkin notched his two goals of his own with the man-advantage to battle to a 2-2 tie just over three minutes into the third.

Philadelphia, however, took over the game in the final frame, outshooting Pittsburgh 14-5 in the third period. Scott Hartnell's power-play tally took the wind out of the Penguins sails with 10:06 remaining in the game.

Two bright spots for the Penguins were Malkin's return and Fleury’s performance between the pipes.

After missing the previous four contests due to injury, Malkin battled hard in his first game back and was rewarded on the scoreboard. Fleury continued to play his best hockey of the season, making 34 saves to keep his team in the game until the final minutes.
Evgeni Malkin
While Malkin may have missed four-consecutive games due to a lower-body injury before Tuesday’s game, he sure didn’t seem to miss a beat in his return to the lineup.

The Penguins forward, who skated on a line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis, scored both of Pittsburgh's goals in their 3-2 loss to Philadelphia. Both of his tallies coming on the power play, with the first one coming at the 8:23 mark of the second. While planted in the faceoff circle, Malkin received a pass from Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and one-timed the puck past Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher to tie the game at 1-1.

His second goal came just 3:58 into the third and tied the game at 2-2. In a sequence similar to his first tally, Crosby sent a pass over to Malkin while the two were working the point. Malkin wasted no time firing a smoldering shot at the net, which snuck through Boucher’s five-hole and into the cage.

Malkin was a factor all over the ice, already recording seven shots just over halfway through the second. He finished the evening leading all skaters with eight shots, and played 21:29 minutes.

The last time the Penguins forward played prior to Tuesday’s game was on Dec. 2 in a 3-2 win against the Atlanta Thrashers. Tonight's game marked Malkin’s seventh multi-point effort of the season.
The Penguins looked like they were going to force the game into overtime, but the Flyers got a power-play chance in the middle of the third period.

Crosby got run over in the neutral zone, and Malkin stood up for his teammate but got whistled for interference. The Penguins had already killed five penalties on the evening, but Scott Hartnell and Chris Pronger connected to put the Flyers ahead for good at the 9:54 mark of the third.

Pronger snapped a shot from right point toward a screened Fleury. Brooks Orpik swooped in toward the crease to try to block the shot, but Hartnell tipped the puck with his stick, and it redirected and sailed into the net past Fleury.

The goal gave the Flyers their third one-goal lead of the game, but unlike the first two, the Penguins couldn’t light the lamp to tie it up and force overtime. 
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Scott Hartnell scored a power-play goal at 9:54 of the third period and the Philadelphia Flyers snapped the Pittsburgh Penguins' 12-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin returned after missing four games with a knee injury, and scored two goals to give him 10 for the season.

Penguins star Sidney Crosby assisted on both of Malkin's goals, extending his point streak to 19 games. Crosby has 20 goals and 18 assists in matching his career-long streak from Oct. 6-Nov. 17, 2007.

Claude Giroux and Nikolay Zherdev also scored for the Flyers, who have won five of six games to vault into first place in the Atlantic Division. Philadelphia also leads the NHL with 45 points.
• With the win, the Flyers claimed first place in the NHL standings from the Penguins. With their 44 points, Pittsburgh now trails Philadelphia by just one point, sitting in second place in the league. The Penguins still hold a five-point lead over Washington, who ranks third overall with 39.

• Tuesday marked the fourth time this season that the Atlantic Division and cross-state rivals faced off. Tonight’s 3-2 loss to the Flyers marked the third time this season that Pittsburgh has fallen to Philadelphia by that score. Prior to tonight’s game, the Flyers had topped the Penguins twice at CONSOL Energy Center on Oct. 7 and Oct. 29 by a score of 3-2. Pittsburgh topped Philadelphia 5-1 on Oct. 16 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Sidney Crosby tied his career-best point streak by assisting on both of Malkin’s goals. The Penguins captain has now recorded a point in 19 straight games, which ties the stretch he put up from Oct. 6, 2007 to Nov. 17, 2007. He now has 38 points (20G-18A) over his streak.

• With Tuesday’s loss, Fleury’s winning streak stops at a career-best 11-straight games. It was the Pittsburgh netminder’s first regulation loss in 15 starts. Over that unbeaten stretch, he stopped 411 of 438 shots, recorded a .938 save percentage and had a 1.79 goals-against average.

• While Malkin made his return to the lineup, forward Chris Kunitz was scratched with an undisclosed injury and is listed as “day-to-day” by Bylsma. The Penguins forward hadn’t missed a game prior to Tuesday’s contest at the Wells Fargo Center, notching eight goals and 12 assists through 31 games.
#1. Scott Hartnell
  Left wing - 19
Scored GWG
1 assist
5 shots on goal
#2. Evgeni Malkin
  Forward - 71
2 goals
8 shots
21:29 TOI
#3. Chris Pronger
  Defenseman - 20
1 assist
2 hits
26:17 TOI

Author: Michelle Crechiolo

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