PENGUINS RALLIES FALL SHORT IN LOSS TO FLYERS
Simon Gagne scored two goals Saturday night to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena.
The Penguins (6-9-6) battled back in the first and second periods. They tied the game at 1-1 at the first intermission and 3-3 at the second intermission. However, the Flyers (12-4-3) scored two goals in the first 2:30 of the third period. They added an empty-net tally to seal the verdict.
"We came out pretty strong in the first and got a lot of shots on net. I think we were taking a little advantage that they played [Friday] night," Penguins forward John LeClair said. "I don't think we matched their intensity in the third. They came out pretty strong and it should have been the other way around.
"Tied game at the start of the third period, you've got to come out hungrier."
Gagne gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 6:13 into the contest. Following a Pittsburgh turnover, Gagne converted on a two-on-one and beat goalie Jocelyn Thibault.
Sidney Crosby scored a power-play goal with 10:32 left in the period. Behind the net, Mario Lemieux dished a pass to LeClair in front of the far post of the Flyers goal. LeClair whipped a backhanded pass to an open Crosby on the near post. He buried it into the net for his 10th goal of the season.
Ziggy Palffy and Erik Christensen scored goals in a wild second period to give the Penguins a 3-3 tie with the Flyers at the second intermission.
Mike Richards gave the Flyers a 2-1 advantage 3:19 into the second period when his shot slipped past Thibault's skate on the near post.
Palffy tied the game at 2-all with 7:57 on the clock. He ripped a wristshot past Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki. Josef Melichar and Ric Jackman earned assists.
The Flyers regained the lead, 3-2, with 3:36 left in the period on a Gagne shorthanded goal.
Christensen gave the Pens a 3-3 tie nine seconds later. He one-timed Palffy's pass into the net for a power-play goal. Ryan Whitney earned the other assist.
Jeff Carter scored 1:49 into the third period. Thibault stopped the initial shot, but the puck trickled out of Thibault's grasp and Carter tapped it into the net. Pittsburgh native R.J. Umberger earned an assist for the Flyers.
Michal Handzus scored 41 seconds later to boost Philadelphia's advantage to 5-3.
"The fourth goal obviously hurt - Jocelyn had it and the next thing you see is them raising their sticks," Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk said. "Then they scored a minute later and we have to be able to overcome adversity and overcome things like that. We've been able to do it all year but when you play a team like that and give up a goal like that, it is tough and we have to find a way to fight back."
Mike Knuble fired the puck into an empty net with 18 seconds to play for the Flyers.
Niittymaki stopped 27 of 30 shots, while Thibault was credited with 23 saves on the 28 shots he faced.
ICE CHIPS: Rico Fata, Rob Scuderi and Lasse Pirjeta were the Penguins' healthy scratches..Andre Roy, Dick Tarnstrom and Sergei Gonchar sat out with injuries..Jon Sim and Eric Desjardins were the Flyers' healthy scratches..Shane Endicott, who injured his ankle severely in training camp, played his first game of the season for the Penguins..The announced attendance was 17,132..The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins posted a 3-2 overtime win against Norfolk..Chris Kelleher scored the game-winner, while Ryan Stone and Michel Ouellet had goals..Matt Hussey had three assists.