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game recap

Flyers 6, Penguins 3

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 2:26 AM

Associated Press

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Flyers 6, Penguins 3
Philadelphia Flyers 6, Pittsburgh Penguins 3

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Philadelphia Flyers made a third-period lead hold up this time, even while seemingly preoccupied with whether Pittsburgh rookie Sidney Crosby stands up nearly enough.

Jeff Carter and Michael Handzus scored in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the third period and the Flyers preserved late lead this time, beating Pittsburgh 6-3 on Saturday night in a feisty rematch of the Penguins' overtime victory four nights before.

Simon Gagne scored his NHL-leading 19th and 20th goals of the season and Philadelphia improved to a league-best 10-1-1 on the road after dropping its previous three games, including successive home overtime losses to the Penguins on Wednesday and Atlanta on Friday.

Crosby scored the winning goal on a breakaway Wednesday, and also got Pittsburgh's first goal in the rematch. He also had one of his first on-ice confrontations with an established star, yelling expletives at Peter Forsberg when the Flyers' star made a hand gesture suggesting Crosby dives to take penalties - a theme initiated earlier in the week by Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock.

``It's not the first time I've been accused of something, but it's pretty obvious what they're trying to do. Obviously, they're trying to get me off my game. ... But it's something that isn't there,'' said Crosby, who has four goals and two assists in three games against Philadelphia.

Forsberg laughed about the exchange of words, saying, ``It looked kind of suspicious to me. That's all I said.''

However, he seemed to acknowledge the Flyers' talk about Crosby is all a ploy, saying, ``I know I was (accused of it) in my first couple of years, too.''

Crosby was disappointed by Forsberg's reaction and Hitchcock's talk, but added, ``Obviously they're the ones who are happy right now and we're not.''

After the Penguins rallied three times from one-goal deficits, Carter put in his own rebound early in the third period after goalie Jocelyn Thibault stopped his initial shot, only to lose sight of a puck that sat on the ice along the goal line. Carter swatted it in for his seventh goal.

Handzus followed 41 seconds later with his fifth goal, picking up a loose puck and skating in to beat Thibault with a wrist shot. The Flyers and goalie Antero Niittymaki made the lead hold up, a night after Philadelphia squandered the same 5-3 lead late in the third by allowing Atlanta to score twice in the final 1:50 of what became a 6-5 overtime loss with Robert Esche in net.

``At least we kept on playing, we didn't sit back and wait for them to come at us like we did the last couple of games,'' Forsberg said. ``We kept on playing and we got another goal.''

The Flyers, playing their third game in four nights, led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 only to have the Penguins answer each time.

Gagne's second goal deflected off former teammate Mark Recchi's stick on a 3-on-1 short-handed breakaway at 16:24 of the second. The Penguins got a tying power play goal 9 seconds later on rookie Erik Christensen's shot from the top of the right circle off a Ziggy Palffy pass that deflected off defenseman Joni Pitkanen's stick, but Pittsburgh mounted little offense after that against Niittymaki, who made 27 saves.

Christensen's power play goal was set up when Crosby was tripped by Mike Rathje, prompting Forsberg's swim-move motion. The Flyers made the accusations even though Crosby needed four stitches in his lip and repairs to three damaged teeth after twice catching sticks in the face and neck Wednesday from defenseman Derian Hatcher on plays that weren't penalized.

Crosby scored the Penguins' initial goal Saturday by stuffing in John LeClair's behind the back pass about six minutes in, his 10th goal of the season.

Notes: Gagne also assisted on Mike Knuble's empty-net goal with 18 seconds remaining. ... Hatcher was booed whenever he touched the puck. ... Mike Richards also scored for the Flyers.... Pittsburgh and St. Louis are tied with a league-low two home victories. ... The Flyers are 4-0-2 in Pittsburgh since their last loss there Nov. 27, 2002. ... Philadelphia has not lost four in a row since Jan. 8-13, 2004. ... Penguins owner-player Mario Lemieux returned after missing Wednesday's game with a flu-like ailment and assisted on Crosby's goal. ... Crosby met 2004 NL rookie of the year Jason Bay of the Pirates after the game. Crosby said he played baseball as a youngster in Nova Scotia, and Bay played hockey in British Columbia. Bay was in town after signing a $18.25 million contract last week. ... The teams don't play again until Dec. 23 in Pittsburgh.

scoring summary
1st Period
06:13
PHI
Simon Gagne (19) Wrist shot - ASST: Mike Knuble (8), Peter Forsberg (29)
1 - 0 PHI
09:28
PIT
PPG - Sidney Crosby (10) Snap shot - ASST: John Leclair (7), Mario Lemieux (13)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
03:19
PHI
Mike Richards (4) Slapshot - ASST: Michal Handzus (13)
2 - 1 PHI
12:03
PIT
Ziggy Palffy (7) Snap shot - ASST: Josef Melichar (2), Richard Jackman (12)
2 - 2 Tie
16:24
PHI
SHG - Simon Gagne (20) Wrist shot - ASST: Mike Richards (10)
3 - 2 PHI
16:33
PIT
PPG - Erik Christensen (3) Snap shot - ASST: Ziggy Palffy (15), Ryan Whitney (8)
3 - 3 Tie
3rd Period
01:49
PHI
Jeff Carter (7) Wrist shot - ASST: R.J. Umberger (4), Patrick Sharp (2)
4 - 3 PHI
02:30
PHI
Michal Handzus (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Turner Stevenson (1), Kim Johnsson (12)
5 - 3 PHI
19:42
PHI
EN - Mike Knuble (11) Wrist shot - ASST: Simon Gagne (11), Peter Forsberg (30)
6 - 3 PHI
penalty summary
1st Period
02:47
PIT
John Leclair  Slashing against  Mike Richards
09:07
PHI
Branko Radivojevic  Hooking against  Shane Endicott
10:34
PIT
Lyle Odelein  Hooking against  Branko Radivojevic
12:35
PIT
Maxime Talbot  Holding against  Dennis Seidenberg
13:04
PHI
Brian Savage  Slashing against  Steve Poapst
15:25
PIT
Jocelyn Thibault  Delaying Game-Smothering puck
2nd Period
05:03
PHI
Donald Brashear  Tripping against  John Leclair
06:58
PHI
Chris Therien  Interference against  Ryan Malone
09:09
PIT
Shane Endicott  Holding against  Joni Pitkanen
15:23
PHI
Mike Rathje  Tripping against  Sidney Crosby
3rd Period
04:34
PIT
Matt Murley  Hooking against  Mike Knuble
08:13
PHI
Peter Forsberg  Hooking against  Mario Lemieux
13:17
PHI
Mike Rathje  Hooking against  Erik Christensen
goalie stats
Antero Niittymaki
Antero Niittymaki
SA: 30TOI: 59:38
Saves: 27EV: 23 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 4
SV%: .900SH: 2 - 2
Jocelyn Thibault
SA: 28TOI: 59:12
Saves: 23EV: 16 - 20
PIM: 2PP: 6 - 6
SV%: .821SH: 1 - 2