Thursday, December 29, 2011

Old Pens help Flyers beat new Pens

Special to the Phanatic

Jaromir Jagr and Maxime Talbot both scored against their former team as the Philadelphia Flyers took a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center in a key Atlantic Division tilt on Thursday night.

Kimmo Timonen and Matt Read also tallied for the Flyers, who came into the game having lost their previous two and four of their last five contests.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 24 stops in the win, while Claude Giroux had two assists to increase his NHL-leading point total to 46.

In the process, the Orange and Black improved to 18-0-1 this season when leading after two periods and tied the idle New York Rangers atop the division with 48 points.

Jagr had a storied career in Pittsburgh as he played there from 1990 through 2001. Talbot had spent his first six seasons in the Steel City before signing with the Flyers as a free agent this summer.

"It was a big game and personally it was nice for me and 'Jags' to get the goal, but more importantly is that we got the two points against a team we're going to be fighting for a playoff spot," said Talbot.

Philadelphia's next contest will by on January 2 against the resurgent Broadway Blueshirts in the annual Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park, home of baseball's Philadelphia Phillies.

Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy both registered a goal for the Penguins, who saw their four-game winning streak stopped. Marc-Andre Fleury, usually rock-solid whenever playing against his eastern Pennsylvania foes, stopped just 19-of-22 shots in the loss.

Just 44 seconds in, the Pens took a 1-0 lead as Kennedy sent a pass from behind the right side of the net over to the left and Staal used a quick shot to get it past Bobrovsky.

However, the Flyers struck on the power play halfway through the first as Timonen's one-timer from the slot off a feed from Giroux sailed over the glove of Fleury.

At the 6:03 mark of the second, Jagr cruised down the left side after getting the puck from Giroux, stickhandled across the middle and lifted a backhander into the net.

The goal, his first in the new Penguins' home, elicited a special version of his trademark salute, one directed at a particular fan seated along the right-wing boards who apparently gave the 39-year-old the international salute prior to the opening faceoff.

"She didn't like it much. It was like '(expletive) off," Jagr said of his personal message to the lucky Pittsburgh supporter.

It was a 3-1 game 10 minutes later as Sean Couturier sent a backhander on net from the right side with the rebound kicking out front and Read burying it for his 12th of the year.

The score stayed that way until the 13:31 spot of the third as Kennedy's slap shot from the right circle beat Bobrovsky to the short side.

That goal sparked life in the Penguins as they went to a constant attack, but Bobrovsky came up with the saves on a late bench minor penalty and Talbot provided poetic justice by scoring into the empty net with 25 seconds to play.

Notes: Philly has won all four of its games at CONSOL Energy Center, which was opened by the two squads in October of 2010...The Flyers have won four straight in Pittsburgh for the first time since a five-game run from March of 1983 to March of 1984...It was Timonen's first goal of the season...Giroux has collected 13 multi-point games this season...Couturier notched two assists in his first game since being hit in the head by a Timonen shot on December 17...Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, who assisted on the Kennedy goal, has a nine- game point streak during which he has posted six goals and 13 assists.

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