PHILADELPHIA – When the Penguins needed Sidney Crosby the most, the rookie was clutch.
Crosby scored on a breakway in overtime to lift Pittsburgh to a 3-2 victory in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
With superstar Mario Lemieux (stomach virus) out of the lineup for the first time this season, the Penguins needed a lift. They looked no further than Crosby, who scored two goals and added an assist to give the team only its third win in Philadelphia since the end of the 1993-94 season.
Crosby did his damage despite taking two sticks to the face from Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher that appeared to chip one of Crosby’s teeth.
The Flyers outshot the Penguins (6-8-6) 5-1 in overtime, but Crosby made it count. Ryan Malone fed Crosby for a breakway. He skated in and fired a shot past Antero Niittymaki with 46.7 seconds left in the extra period.
Malone and Crosby scored third-period goals for the Penguins, while Joni Pitkanen had two goals for the Flyers as regulation play ended at 2-all.
John LeClair fed a pass to Crosby. He dished the puck to Malone, who ripped it into the net 2:03 into the third period for a 1-0 Pittsburgh lead. It was Malone’s first goal in 10 games.
Crosby gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead 56 seconds later when he punched in a loose puck in the Flyers’ crease. Erik Christensen and Ziggy Palffy earned assists on the play. It was Crosby’s eighth goal of the year.
Pitkanen sliced Philadelphia’s deficit to 2-1 with a power-play goal. He redirected a pass past Marc-Andre Fleury 5:10 into the third.
Pitkanen tied it at 2-all 1:34 later on another power-play goal.
The teams battled to a 0-0 tie through the first two intermissions.
Marc-Andre Fleury earned the emergency start in goal for Pittsburgh after Jocelyn Thibault was hit in the throat with a shot from Konstantine Koltsov during pregame warm-ups.
Fleury was stellar in net as he stopped 45 of 47 Flyers shots and made several outstanding saves.
Thibault appeared on the Penguins’ bench in the first period, but he was taken to a Philadelphia hospital in the second period before returning. His injury is not believed to be serious.
ICE CHIPS: Rob Scuderi was the Penguins’ healthy scratch…Mario Lemieux (stomach virus) and Sergei Gonchar (strained groin) did not make the trip to Philadelphia…The Penguins are 139-189-42-6 without Lemieux in the lineup during his 17-year career…The game marked the first for Flyers winger and Pittsburgh native R.J. Umberger of Plum against his hometown team…Philadelphia’s Joni Pitkanen and Pittsburgh’s Ryan Whitney were taken fourth and fifth, respectively, in the first round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft…Rick Nash (No. 1), Kari Lehtonen (2), Jay Bouwmeester (3), Joffrey Lupul (7), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (8), Eric Nystrom (10), Alexander Semin (13), Alexander Steen (24), Cam Ward (25), Hannu Toivonen (29) and Jim Slater (30) are the other big names to be drafted in the first round in 2002.