Pens’ comeback stings Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers’ Scott Hartnell, left, and Pittsburgh Penguins’ James Neal collide with goalie Brian Boucher and slide into the net during the third period of a game Thursday in Philadelphia. The Penguins won 5-4.
Whenever the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers meet on the ice, a football-style shootout breaks out. This time, the Penguins scored last.
Chris Kunitz scored his second goal just 18 seconds into the third period to cap a four-goal rally that lifted Pittsburgh to a 5-4 victory over the Flyers on Thursday night.
Pascal Dupuis, James Neal and Tyler Kennedy also scored for the Atlantic Division leaders, who won their third straight game.
The teams have combined for 20 goals in their last two games after a memorable, high-scoring playoff round in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last spring.
“We knew it would be a challenging game,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “It was kind of a tale of two teams in the first two periods. We didn’t come out with enough emotion and weren’t really into the game. Maybe they got caught sitting back in the second.”
Jakub Voracek had two power-play goals, and Zac Rinaldo and Kimmo Timonen also scored for the Flyers, who blew a 4-1 lead after the first period.
Both starting goalies — Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury — were pulled after allowing four goals.
Scott Hartnell had his tying goal disallowed near the midpoint of the third period because his stick was above the crossbar when he deflected Timonen’s shot into the net.
The Flyers fell to 11-13-1 and remain on the outside of the playoff race with 23 games remaining.
“It’s embarrassing to the fans, embarrassing to one another,” Hartnell said. “It’s a big letdown. I don’t know why we stopped playing.”
The visitor has won all three games this season in this intrastate rivalry between two teams that struggle to play much defense against each other.
Voracek had a hat trick in a wild 6-5 win at Pittsburgh on Feb. 20. The Flyers and Penguins totaled 45 goals through the first four games of last year’s first-round playoff series that Philadelphia won in six games.
Asked the last time he saw this kind of game, Neal replied: “The last time we played the Flyers. And the time we played the Flyers before that. And the time we played them before that.”