PHILADELPHIA – The Penguins’ dominance over the Flyers continues.
Sidney Crosby scored the only goal of the overtime shootout and Marc-Andre Fleury stood tall as the Penguins posted a 5-4 victory Thursday night. It was Pittsburgh’s seventh win over Philadelphia this season.
Antero Niittymaki turned aside Erik Christensen and Evgeni Malkin before Crosby buried a shot. Fleury denied Jeff Carter, Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagne.
Jordan Staal slapped in a Christensen rebound for his 20th goal of the season 9:35 into the game. Christensen unleashed a heavy wrist shot that Niittymaki stopped. However, the puck rebounded into the slot where Staal raced in and chipped the puck into the goal. Michel Ouellet added an assist on the play.
Staal’s goal gives the Penguins three players under the age of 21 who have tallied at least 20 goals in the same season. Crosby (age 19) has 25 goals, while Malkin (20) has 26 tallies.
According to Bob Waterman of Elias Sports Bureau, the last team to have three players score 20-plus goals in the same season before their 21st birthday was Edmonton in 1981-82 (Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Paul Coffey).
Gretzky and Messier both turned 21 years old in January that season but they each reached the 20-goal mark before their 21st birthday. Coffey did not turn 21 until after the season ended.
Gagne tied the contest at 1-all with 8:03 left in the period on a power-play goal.
Gagne slammed in a rebound with 1:12 left on the clock to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.
Ouellet tied the game at 2-all on a power-play goal with 7:04 remaining in the second period. Ryan Whitney fired a long pass to Ouellet who split the defense, broke in alone on goal and beat Niittymaki for the goal. Fleury added an assist.
Fleury provided a huge save with 56 seconds remaining in the period when he stuffed Mike Richards on a clean breakaway.
Mark Recchi found the back of the net 34 seconds into the third period. He banged in Whitney’s pass for a 3-2 advantage. Sergei Gonchar added an assist.
Christensen punched in a rebound 30 seconds later. Colby Armstrong’s wraparound deflected off Niittymaki and went right to Christensen at the top of the crease. He flipped it into the goal. Max Talbot added an assist.
Gagne completed the hat-trick 5:58 into the period to slice the deficit to 4-3 when he wristed a shot past Fleury.
Mike Knuble deflected a shot past Fleury into the net to knot the game at 4-all with 1:24 to play and Niittymaki pulled.