for this game

Malkin's late goal sends Penguins past Flyers

Nov 14, 2006 - 3:25 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- The difference between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers at present is that the Penguins have a future.

The Penguins got goals from all three of their young stars - Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin - en route to a 3-2 triumph over the reeling Flyers, who have lost six straight games.

Malkin netted the game-winner - his ninth goal to lead all rookies - with 2:03 remaining. The talented Russian took a feed from former Flyer Mark Recchi and drilled a one-timer from the left faceoff circle past goaltender Antero Niittymaki.

The tally brought an end to the Penguins' five-game losing streak and lifted Pittsburgh to its third win in as many meetings with Philadelphia this season.

"It was a very important win," Malkin said through an interpreter. "We lost five games and today we played at home, so it's one of those must-win games."

The 20-year-old Malkin, along with Crosby, 19, and Staal, 18, give the Penguins arguably the best trio of budding superstars in the entire league.

"They're all really good players," Pittsburgh's Colby Armstrong said. "So far this year, they've all been doing it all for us. ... Those guys are all skilled guys and they know where to put it."

"There's a lot of young talent in this dressing room," Staal added. "Hopefully we can keep that going, keep that chemistry going and keep getting those wins."

The lowly Flyers actually played one of their better games of the season but still came up short. They are off to the worst start in franchise history and rank last in the league in wins (eight), points (16) and next-to-last with 35 goals.

"We're struggling and we're not winning games," Niittymaki said. "We're playing better, but it feels like we're losing every game now. We've lost a lot of games and we have to learn how to win again."

Philadelphia's Randy Robitaille opened the scoring 2:14 into the second period before Crosby answered less than five minutes later with a beautiful goal, his seventh tally of the season.

The second-year sensation forced Flyers defenseman Mike Rathje into a turnover, outraced him down the ice and beat Niittymaki with a perfect shot into the top right corner.

"For the most part, I thought we did a great job," Crosby said. "We were playing the way we needed to, using our speed. Sometimes you need to keep it simple, go out there and skate hard. I thought we did that."

The Penguins took their first lead with 4:22 remaining in the middle session on another 2-on-1 rush. Michel Ouellet emerged from the left boards and sent a pass across to Staal, whose one-timer flew past Niittymaki, just under the crossbar, for the rookie's sixth goal of the season.

"(Ouellet) made a great pass," Staal said. "I got a hold of it and it went into the net."

Geoff Sanderson forged a 2-2 tie with 13:34 left in the third period when he received a pass from Mike Richards and beat netminder Marc-Andre Fleury from the right doorstep.

Simon Gagne, Peter Forsberg and Joni Pitkanen have combined for just two goals and two assists over the Flyers' losing streak, during which the team has scored more than three goals only once.

"It feels like every night we're getting beat by another team's best players, and right now our best players need to be our best players, and they need to be for 60 minutes," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. "I'm having trouble understanding it, to be honest with you."

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