Pittsburgh at Philadelphia

Minus Lemieux, Crosby scores game winner against Flyers


PHILADELPHIA -- Sidney Crosby is a better shooter than actor.

The 18-year-old rookie sensation scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway with 46.7 seconds left in overtime, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.

Crosby needed stitches on his upper lip after getting high-sticked in the second period. No penalty was called on the play and Crosby later got an unsportsmanlike conduct.

"It's frustrating," Crosby said. "I go out for five minutes, come back in and get hit in the face from the same guy."

Ryan Malone had a goal, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 45 shots, helping the Penguins improve to 6-3-2 since going winless in their first nine games.

Joni Pitkanen scored two power-play goals for Philadelphia, which had won nine straight at home.

With Philadelphia less than a minute away from its first shootout, Crosby took a long, breakout pass from Malone near center ice, skated in alone and beat Antero Niittymaki to win it.

"If I can contribute and help out, it feels good," Crosby said. "It's nice, especially when stuff goes on."

Fleury stopped two point-blank shots by Mike Knuble and Mike Rathje in overtime. He started because a puck hit Jocelyn Thibault in the throat in warmups. Thibault's injury wasn't serious.

Pitkanen scored his goals 1:34 apart to tie it after the Penguins had scored twice in a 56-second span early in the third.

Pitkanen took a crisp pass from NHL assists-leader Peter Forsberg and one-timed a shot just inside the post to tie it 2-2 at 6:44 of the third.

He slipped a shot between Fleury's legs to cut the deficit to 2-1.

"I don't think we played real well," Forsberg said. "The last couple games we were sliding a bit and not playing smart hockey. We have been giving up the puck."

Malone gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 2:03 into the third. He got a pass from Crosby and slapped a shot past Niittymaki. Crosby stuffed one in during a scramble in front of the net to make it 2-0.

The Penguins played without owner-captain Mario Lemieux, who had a stomach virus and didn't make the trip. Crosby picked up the scoring slack.

"We've had many mature 18-year old players that have come into this league and handled a lot," Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk said of Crosby, the first overall pick in this year's NHL draft. "Not many have come in with the hype and the buildup as he has and he's handled it very well."

Niittymaki, making just his fifth start this season, stoned Erik Christensen on consecutive shots midway through the second during a Penguins' power play. He made another excellent save on a short-handed breakaway by Matt Murley late in the second, and kept it tied at 2 with an outstanding stick save on a shot by John LeClair in the third.

"We had some breakdowns," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "When you spend as much time in the other team's zone as we did, you're going to get some of those breakdowns when you're trying to score."


  • RW Turner Stevenson, who had hip surgery on Oct. 18, returned for the Flyers. He had been expected to miss up to 12 weeks.
  • C Keith Primeau and D Eric Desjardins remained sidelined for Philadelphia with concussions.
  • The Penguins won for just the second time in their last nine games at the Wachovia Center and are 18-81-8 in Philadelphia overall.
  • Penguins D Sergei Gonchar sat out his second straight game with a strained groin.
  • Pittsburgh has allowed an NHL-worst 83 goals this season.
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A dazed Sidney Crosby heads off for a breather after a Derian Hatcher check.  (AP)
A dazed Sidney Crosby heads off for a breather after a Derian Hatcher check. (AP)
Pittsburgh  (6-8-6) «00213
Philadelphia (11-4-2)00202
Three Stars
S. Crosby

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
P. Forsberg

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
J. Pitkanen

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0

Related Video

Scoring Summary
02:03Power Play - Ryan Malone (5), Slap Shot - Assists: Sidney Crosby and John LeClair
02:59Sidney Crosby (8), Backhand Shot - Assists: Zigmund Palffy and Erik Christensen
05:10Power Play - Joni Pitkanen (6), Tip-In - Assists: Peter Forsberg and Kim Johnsson
06:44Power Play - Joni Pitkanen (7), Wrist Shot - Assists: Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagne
04:13Sidney Crosby (9), Wrist Shot - Assist: Matt Murley
Penalty Summary
10:02Pitkanen: Tripping - 2 min.
15:32Recchi: Hooking - 2 min.
17:27Odelein: Hooking - 2 min.
02:30Radivojevic: Holding - 2 min.
05:52Knuble: Interference - 2 min.
10:57Koltsov: Cross Check - 2 min.
15:59VandenBussche: Roughing - 2 min.
17:56Umberger: Holding - 2 min.
18:16Crosby: Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.
00:55Handzus: Interference - 2 min.
04:51LeClair: Cross Check - 2 min.
06:10Palffy: Hooking - 2 min.
07:23Rathje: Hooking - 2 min.
12:09Brashear: Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.
12:09VandenBussche: Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.
14:41Rathje: Tripping - 2 min.
Attendance - 19687
Game Time - 64:13
Referees - Kevin Pollock, Dean Warren
Line Judges - Don Henderson, Brad Kovachik
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