Pittsburgh 5 – Philadelphia 4
The Philadelphia Flyers have aspirations of reaching the Stanley Cup this season but they will have to go through the Pittsburgh Penguins first. Round 1 tonight went to Pittsburgh.
The Penguins who have knocked the Flyers out of the playoffs for the past two seasons, defeated the Flyers 5-4 Thursday night at the Wacovia Center in the first meeting between the two division rivals since last April’s 1st round playoff series.
Pittsburgh which opened the scoring 48 seconds into the game on an Evgeni Malkin power play goal, rebounded from a lackluster lost Wednesday night to Phoenix to show the Flyers that things remain status quo.
Pittsburgh jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first period on goals from Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal. Daniel Briere scored at 2:37 of the second period to tie the game at 2-2 but Pittsburgh answered back as Bill Guerin notched his first goal of the season beating Ray Emery stick side on a breakaway.
A miscue by the Flyers 4th line as Riley Cote turned the puck over in the neutral zone gave Bill Guerin a free lane to the net.
For Flyers, the bad bounces continued. Minutes later Braydon Couburn scored on his own net at 8:08 of the second period to give Pittsburgh a 4-2 lead. Defenseman Alex Goligoski who had a goal disallowed in Wednesday’s game was credited with the goal.
Pittsburgh had control of the game in the second period but just like Wednesday night, penalties haunted the Penguins. Sidney Crosby was called for a tripping penalty at 16:08 of the second period and 31 seconds later Jordan Staal was called for slashing which gave the Flyers a 5-on-3 advantage.
The Flyers converted and Jeff Carter scored 20 seconds in the two-man advantage to cut the Penguins lead to 4-3.
Throughout the past two seasons the play of the Penguins role players have been the difference against the Flyers and tonight was no difference.
With the Flyers hanging around, Tyler Kennedy who scored two goals against the Flyers in last years 1st round series struck again, beating Ray Emery for his second goal of the season at 8:38 of the third period to put the Penguins up 5-3.
Pittsburgh got a stellar performance from Marc Andre Fleury who made 30 saves on the night including 11 third period saves.
Jeff Carter scored with 41 seconds left to get the Flyers within one goal but Fleury and the Penguins closed the door in the final seconds.
Hartnell bites Letang?
With less than two seconds remaining in the game, Flyers captain Mike Richards ran Marc Andre Fleury into the net which led to a scrum at the end the game.
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang suffered a cut finger during his altercation with Scott Hartnell. Following the game the Penguins accused Hartnell of biting Letang.
“I think he knows what he did,” Letang said. “It was in a scrum. “[The officials] really didn’t have a chance to see what happened. It was a wrestling kind of thing. They couldn’t see any details.”
Scott Hartnell denied biting Letang. “A lot of stuff happens on the bottom of the pile,” Hartnell said. “He had his hands in my face doing the face wash and we’re rolling around. I can’t say what happened.”
Pittsburgh improved to 3-1. Their next game is Saturday night in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.
PIT: 0:48 Evgeni Malkin (Power Play)
Assists: Sergei Gonchar, Kris Letang
PHI: 11:53 Danny Briere
Assists: Braydon Coburn, Jeff Carter
PIT: 12:21 Jordan Staal
Assists: Evgeni Malkin
PHI: 2:37 Danny Briere (Power Play)
Assists: Jeff Carter, Kimmo Timonen
PIT: 5:26 Bill Guerin
Assists: Chris Kunitz, Alex Goligoski
PIT: 8:08 Alex Goligoski
PHI: 16:59 Jeff Carter (Power Play)
Assists: Mike Richards, Chris Pronger
PIT: 8:37 Tyler Kennedy
Assists: Matt Cooke
PHI: 19:19 Jeff Carter
Assists: Mike Richards, Matt Carle
Final Score: Pittsburgh 5 – Philadelphia 4
PIT: Marc Andre Fleury 30 saves
PHI: Ray Emery 20 saves