Penguins defeat Flyers, 2-1 in OT


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The Penguins have beaten a lot of teams during their current winning streak.

They've won games in a lot of places, too.

But a case could be made that none of their 12 consecutive victories was as unexpected as their 2-1 overtime decision against the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday night at Consol Energy Center.

Not only because they weren't able to score a goal against the Flyers until the final seven minutes of regulation, but because victories against them at home recently are so rare.

This, after all, was just the Penguins' second in eight tries since Consol Energy Center opened, and the only previous one came in an utterly meaningless regular-season finale a year ago.

What's more, the Flyers had ended a couple of their extended winning streaks in the past two seasons.

The Penguins had a run of 12 in a row stopped by the Flyers in 2010-11, as well as an 11-game streak last season.

Not this time, however, as the Penguins stretched their surge to a dozen games, longest in the league this season and matching the second longest in franchise history.

They are 25-8 and remain in first place in the Eastern Conference. They are five points ahead of Montreal and seven up on Boston, although the Canadiens have two games in hand and the Bruins have three.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, is marooned in 13th place in the East with a record of 13-16-2.

The Penguins won a few hours after making their first significant move in advance of the April 3 NHL trade deadline, acquiring forward Brenden Morrow and a third-round draft choice from the Dallas Stars for defenseman Joe Morrow, who was their first-round draft choice in 2011, and a fifth-round selection this year.

It was not immediately known whether Morrow will be in uniform for the Penguins' next game, Tuesday night at Consol Energy Center against Montreal, or where he will be used.

Claude Giroux of the Flyers got the only goal in the opening two periods at 14:09 of the second, as he collected the puck after having a pass attempt blocked and beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from the slot.

That would be the only puck that eluded Fleury, who has won 10 consecutive decisions at home, tying the best such streak of his career.

Philadelphia was able to protect its lead until 13:46 of the third, when Sidney Crosby beat Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from above the right dot on an extended 5-on-3 power play.

Flyers center Brayden Schenn suggested the Penguins' two-man advantage was "questionable" because referees Dave Jackson and Francois St. Laurent had allowed so many possible infractions to go unpenalized earlier in the game, and the Penguins recognized the opportunity it gave them.

"The fact that we were able to get that power play, 5-on-3, late in the game, you've got to find a way to make that count," Crosby said.

Crosby's goal, his 14th, cost Bryzgalov a chance to become the first goalie to shut out the Penguins since James Reimer Feb. 1, 2012 in Toronto. They have not been held without a goal in regulation and overtime at home since a 1-0 shootout victory March 25, 2011 against the New Jersey Devils.

Crosby's goal was the final one in regulation, and Tyler Kennedy guaranteed the game would not make it to a shootout by driving a shot past Bryzgalov high on the stick side from the left dot at 2:33 of overtime for his fifth goal and first game-winner of the season.

Kennedy had failed to capitalize on a similar chance earlier, but made amends the second time around.

"I thought I had to put a little more on it," he said. "I was happy it went in."

There were a lot fewer goals -- the Penguins and Flyers had combined to score 24 in their previous three meetings -- and fewer violent momentum swings in this game than these teams generally experience when sharing a slab of ice.

"Those ones in the past have been some up-and-down games, crazy bounces," Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "They were scoring goals like crazy.

"This one was tighter-checking. I think we felt better about where we were at, heading into the third [Sunday]. It wasn't perfect, by any means, but we kept chugging along."

And did it well enough to raise their record in their past 16 one-goal games to 14-2.

It's worth noting that both of the defeats were inflicted by the Flyers, which might be why the Penguins didn't mind working a little longer than usual to pick up these two points.

"It was a little more than 60 minutes," right winger James Neal said. "But that's OK."

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Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 or Twitter @pgshelly First Published March 25, 2013 2:15 AM


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