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Crosby's first NHL hat trick leads Penguins' rout of Flyers

Oct 29, 2006 - 1:39 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins allowed the Philadelphia Flyers to learn first-hand what it's like to have an exciting future.

Crosby recorded his first career hat trick, Maxime Talbot scored twice and Evgeni Malkin continued his torrid start as the Penguins rolled to an 8-2 victory over the lifeless Flyers.

Malkin added two assists and also scored for the fifth straight game to begin his NHL career, becoming the first player to do so since Boston's Dmitri Kvartalnov in 1992.

Crosby forged a 1-1 tie just over six minutes into the game on a give-and-go with Ryan Whitney. He swept home a rebound to make it 4-1 early in the second period and tallied again 5 1/2 minutes later as he stole the puck from Derian Hatcher and flipped a backhander under the crossbar.

"(The hat trick) is big," Crosby said. "I've had a few two-goal games last year and it was always something that was lingering. You get close and you want to do it. It's nice to get it out of the way."

With his latest superb performance, Crosby now has 11 goals and eight assists in 10 career games against the Flyers. The 19-year-old superstar also recorded his first two-goal game and his first game-winner vs. Philadelphia last season.

"We always try to do our best to prepare for any game, especially against the Flyers," Crosby said. "We know there is always a lot of emotion and passion in those games and I'm sure it's the same for them."

Malkin netted a power-play tally midway through the second period and combined with fellow rookie Jordan Staal to set up Mark Recchi's goal early in the third.

"(Malkin) is one of those special players who sees the ice really well," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "He knows where to stand and the puck comes to him. He has a great work ethic and a lot of skills. You put those things together and you see the result."

Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and Dominic Moore capped the scoring for Pittsburgh (6-3-0), which has won four straight games and netted at least four goals in each victory.

"That's my job, to stop the puck," said Fleury, who turned aside 13 shots in the first period when Pittsburgh was outshot, 14-4. "Whatever I can do to keep the team in the game, that's what I'll do. The team responded well and got some goals."

Stephan Ruzicka notched his first career goal and Mike Knuble also scored for Philadelphia (2-7-1), which continues to search for answers. They certainly have not come on defense as Antero Niittymaki and Robert Esche surrendered four goals apiece while facing a total of 30 shots.

"The problem right now is that when we face adversity, how do we react?" said Flyers coach John Stevens, who is 1-1-0 since replacing the fired Ken Hitchcock on Sunday. "We haven't shown the ability to have the resolve."

Philadelphia has lost two games to Pittsburgh by a combined score of 12-2, in addition to defeats this season by the scores of 3-1, 4-1 and 9-1.

"Every night is going to be a battle to win a game," Knuble said. "I think the sooner we realize that, that it is going to take everything we have, and when we don't give it, it turns into a mess."

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