for this game

Power play leads Penguins to division title

Apr 3, 2008 - 5:28 AM
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Captain Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins gave their fans something special to cheer about in their regular-season home finale.

Crosby scored two goals and set up another as the Penguins netted a season-high four power-play goals en route to a 4-2 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers and the Atlantic Division title Wednesday.

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar had a goal and two assists and fellow All-Star Evgeni Malkin also tallied for Pittsburgh (47-26-8), which went 4-for-6 with the man advantage and clinched its first division title since winning the Northeast in 1997-98.

"It's rewarding," Crosby said. "We've been consistent all year and battled a lot of adversity throughout the season, so it's a pretty nice reward."

"It is a great accomplishment to win the division because we all know that this division is really tough," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien added. "There are some quality hockey teams and we went through a lot of adversity throughout the season. We had a lot of injuries."

Marian Hossa notched a pair of assists in his 700th NHL game as the Penguins also moved two points ahead of the idle Montreal Canadiens (45-25-10) for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter scored for the Flyers (40-29-11), who remained one point ahead of the idle Washington Capitals (41-31-8) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

"We needed to get two of our last three to guarantee ourselves a playoff spot," Philadelphia goaltender Martin Biron said. "We have a big challenge ahead of us. ... Tonight's a big disappointment, but that's OK. We'll just look forward and move toward the last two games in our building with the playoffs on the line."

Seeking the sixth division title in franchise history, the Penguins fell behind when Hartnell beat goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from the left faceoff circle after receiving a cross-slot pass from Daniel Briere at 8:58 of the first period.

But Pittsburgh began its impressive play with the man advantage less than two minutes later to pull even. From above the right circle, Gonchar fired a shot through traffic and past screened netminder Martin Biron at 10:24 for his 12th goal of the season.

"We're trying to shoot the puck more, which is huge," Gonchar said of the power-play success. "Today was one of those days when we were concentrating on shooting the puck, and it worked out for us."

Philadelphia proved just as capable less than three minutes afterward, as Carter buried a loose puck from the doorstep during a power play with 6:47 to go in the first for a 2-1 edge.

However, the Penguins cashed in on the man advantage twice in the middle period and once more in the third to improve to 9-0-2 in their last 11 home games and 8-1-0 in the last nine meetings with the Flyers at Mellon Arena.

"They came in here and were aggressive. We took advantage of some of the times when they were undisciplined," Therrien said. "There were many ways that you could respond. But I think tonight, the power play responded really well to their undisciplined play."

"We had a meeting before the game and coach said he wasn't too happy with (the power play)," Hossa said. "He said we had to turn the page and get the momentum going, and that's what happened. We scored a few goals tonight, and that's huge."

With Philadelphia two skaters short, Gonchar sent a pass from the left point to Crosby, who one-timed it past Biron from the bottom of the right circle at 6:26 of the second to forge a 2-2 tie.

"I'm glad we produced, especially on the power play," Crosby said. "Everything was clicking, and that's what you need this time of year - a good power play."

After Sami Kapanen failed to convert a chance during a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush, the Penguins went the other way and took their first lead as Malkin ripped a shot between the pads of Biron from the left circle with 5:27 remaining.

"The power play was really the difference tonight," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. "Their power play is dangerous. What can you say, they have a very dangerous power play. They get that many opportunities, it's not good for us."

Crosby scored the goal of the night with 94 seconds to go in the third. With Pittsburgh on its sixth power play, Gonchar sent the puck down low from the right point to the superstar, who redirected it between his own legs and past Biron for his 24th of the campaign and a 4-2 advantage.

"It was four totally different goals, but they've got the personnel, and (the power play) is a very big part of their game," Biron said.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 2 0 0 2
    PITTSBURGH 1 2 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHI - SCOTT HARTNELL 24 (DANIEL BRIERE, VACLAV PROSPAL) 8:58
    PIT - (PP) SERGEI GONCHAR 12 (SIDNEY CROSBY, EVGENI MALKIN)
    10:24
    PHI - (PP) JEFF CARTER 29 (JOFFREY LUPUL, BRAYDON COBURN)
    13:13
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) SIDN

    Apr 2 10:09 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    PITTSBURGH 4
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) SIDNEY CROSBY 24 (SERGEI GONCHAR, MARIAN HOSSA)
    18:26

    Flyers 2, Penguins 4  3rd - 1:34Apr 2 10:03 PM
  • 15
    roots
    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    Flyers 2, Penguins 3  End of 2ndApr 2 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 2 0 2
    PITTSBURGH 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHI - SCOTT HARTNELL 24 (DANIEL BRIERE, VACLAV PROSPAL) 8:58
    PIT - (PP) SERGEI GONCHAR 12 (SIDNEY CROSBY, EVGENI MALKIN)
    10:24
    PHI - (PP) JEFF CARTER 29 (JOFFREY LUPUL, BRAYDON COBURN)
    13:13
    2ND PRD: PI

    Apr 2 9:12 PM
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    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Flyers 2, Penguins 3  2nd - 2:20Apr 2 9:10 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    PITTSBURGH 3
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) EVGENI MALKIN 47 (RYAN WHITNEY) 14:33

    Flyers 2, Penguins 3  2nd - 5:27Apr 2 9:02 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    PITTSBURGH 2
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) SIDNEY CROSBY 23 (SERGEI GONCHAR, MARIAN HOSSA)
    6:26 (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Flyers 2, Penguins 2  2nd - 13:34Apr 2 8:49 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 2 2
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHI - SCOTT HARTNELL 24 (DANIEL BRIERE, VACLAV PROSPAL) 8:58
    PIT - (PP) SERGEI GONCHAR 12 (SIDNEY CROSBY, EVGENI MALKIN)
    10:24
    PHI - (PP) JEFF CARTER 29 (JOFFREY LUPUL, RANDY JONES) 13:13
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Apr 2 8:19 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    PITTSBURGH 1
    1ST PRD: PHI - (PP) JEFF CARTER 29 (JOFFREY LUPUL, RANDY JONES) 13:13

    Flyers 2, Penguins 1  1st - 6:47Apr 2 8:07 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    PITTSBURGH 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) SERGEI GONCHAR 12 (SIDNEY CROSBY, EVGENI MALKIN)
    10:24

    Flyers 1, Penguins 1  1st - 9:36Apr 2 7:58 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    PITTSBURGH 0
    1ST PRD: PHI - SCOTT HARTNELL 24 (DANIEL BRIERE, VACLAV PROSPAL) 8:58

    Flyers 1, Penguins 0  1st - 11:02Apr 2 7:53 PM
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    aqualung1 Added 5 roots

    Flyers vs. PenguinsMar 1 12:41 PM