Whitney, Crosby shine as Penguins defeat Flyers againNov 21, 2006 - 2:39 AM
Defenseman Ryan Whitney had a goal and two assists and Sidney Crosby and Dominic Moore each scored and added an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins posted a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Rookie sensation Evgeni Malkin recorded two assists and blue-liner Sergei Gonchar also scored for Pittsburgh, which has won its four meetings with Philadelphia this season by a cumulative score of 20-7.
"They have definitely outplayed us this year," Flyers captain Peter Forsberg said. "In every single game, they have been up by a couple at the beginning of the first period. We said we were going to come out and play physical and they came out and hit us. They are playing better than us. I don't think we were close."
All but one of those victories has come by at least two goals, including Monday's triumph which gave the Penguins four wins against the Flyers in one season for the first time since 1992-93.
"We just always know that when we play these guys, it's going to be an emotional game and a tough game," said Crosby, who has 13 goals in 12 career games against the Flyers. "Maybe in the back of my mind, I prepare myself a little bit more to play these games. You have to get the bounces and I've been fortunate to get them against Philadelphia."
The Penguins' early cushion allowed Crosby to sit out the third period after the 19-year-old sensation pulled his groin late in the middle session.
"I tweaked it," Crosby said. "I was sure I could have played through it. It would have been pretty sore. A groin is not like a bruise. You can play through a bruise and stretch it out a little bit. It was better to sit it out and see how it feels in a couple of days."
Former Flyer John LeClair opened the scoring with a power-play goal just 1:24 into the contest and Moore doubled the advantage just over three minutes later on a 2-on-1 rush following a spinning feed from Crosby.
Whitney capped the lopsided first period with his third goal of the season off a feed from Moore with nine seconds remaining.
"It's always nice to get a couple of points," said Whitney, who tied a career high with three points. "I've been in a slump in the past few games. So it was good to get a couple in tonight."
Crosby made it 4-1 off a setup from Whitney early in the middle session. Gonchar added a power-play tally late in the second period to put Pittsburgh ahead, 5-2.
"I thought that we were in control the whole game long. We followed our plan," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "Our power play was good tonight and it was a good team effort for us. It's was another important division win."
Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves for Pittsburgh, while counterpart Antero Niittymaki turned aside 29 shots.
Simon Gagne, Geoff Sanderson and defenseman Freddy Meyer scored man-advantage goals for the Flyers, who have gotten outscored, 11-4, in their last two games after winning back-to-back contests for the first time this season.
"You can't go into the game and be down 3-0," Gagne said. "It doesn't matter if it is Pittsburgh or the worse team in the league, you're going to have a hard time coming back. That's the story of our team right now."
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