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Flyers halt Pittsburgh's 12-game win streak

Dec 15, 2010 - 4:13 AM
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Scott Hartnell's power-play goal midway through the third period lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Wells Fargo Center.

Claude Giroux and Nikolay Zherdev also scored for the Flyers, who overtook the Penguins for the top overall spot in the National Hockey League with 45 points and in the process snapped Pittsburgh's 12-game win streak. The Flyers have now won three straight and five of their last six games overall.

"We talk about trying to get to the top spot, trying to be the best in the league, and tonight was one of those opportunities," said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. "It was a great win."

Brian Boucher allowed two goals on 23 shots in the win.

Evgeni Malkin scored both goals for Pittsburgh, which last suffered a regulation loss on November 10, a stretch during which the club went 14-0-1.

"It doesn't matter how many you win, losing is not where you want to be, and I was disappointed," said Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma. "Philadelphia dictated the pace -- the end result is that we didn't win the game."

Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves in the loss, while superstar Sidney Crosby extended his consecutive point streak to 19 games with two assists.

With the score tied 2-2 and the Flyers on the power play due to an interference call on Malkin, Philadelphia defenseman Kimmo Timonen passed across the blue line to partner Chris Pronger, whose wrist shot from above the right circle was deflected past Fleury by Hartnell near the right side of the crease at the 9:54 mark.

The Penguins had a power play late in regulation but failed to cash in as Boucher and the Flyers held on for the their third victory by this 3-2 margin of the season over their intra-state rival.

"We played great -- we gave them nothing and came away with a big (penalty) kill at the end," said Boucher when asked about his team's play over the final 10 minutes of regulation. "Our guys really buckled down and that's what you need to do against a team like that. You need everybody if you want to win against this team."

The Flyers opened the scoring with 7:28 remaining in the first period. Fleury skated behind the Pittsburgh net to collect the puck along the rear boards but lost control of his stick. Play continued and the Flyers got the puck back to the point for a shot, which Fleury saved. However, the rebound sat loose in the low slot and the puck eventually made its way onto the stick of Giroux, who punched it past the stickless Fleury from the bottom of the left circle.

During a Pittsburgh power play in the second period, Malkin's one-timer knotted the contest. With Danny Briere in the penalty box for hooking, Malkin held control atop the right circle and passed back to the centerpoint for Alex Goligoski, who quickly sent a return pass and Malkin lit the lamp at 8:23.

Nearly four minutes later, the Flyers regained the lead. Skating down the left side on a partial 2-on-1 rush, Zherdev held control with Briere hustling down the opposite wing. Zherdev faked a cross-ice pass, cut into the slot and released a wrist shot that hit the crossbar on its way into the back of the cage with 7:32 to play before the second intermission.

The Penguins tied the score at 2-2 3:18 into the third. Skating with a 4-on-3 advantage, Malkin held control in the high slot and he released a shot that beat Boucher under the pads with assistance from a screen in front by Matt Cooke.

Game Notes

The Flyers are 3-1 against the Pens this season...This marked Boucher's first win against Pittsburgh since 2002...Malkin now has 10 goals this season...Both teams play again on Wednesday -- the Flyers will face the Canadiens in Montreal, while the Pens host the Rangers...Pittsburgh was 2-for-4 on the power play and the Flyers ended 1-for-6 with the extra skater.