Sunday, March 24, 2013
Kennedy cranked one home from the left circle, beating a screened Ilya Bryzgalov over his shoulder to the near post for the game winner, capping a rally from a late one-goal deficit.
“I knew they were coming out hard on 'Nisky',” said Kennedy. “Nisky made an unbelievable pass and I just shot at the net.”
Sidney Crosby also scored for the Penguins, who hung tough and did not let their in-state rivals play the role of streak buster for the second time in a little more than a year.
Pittsburgh had won 11 in a row until a March 18, 2012 date in Philadelphia, but the Flyers' Scott Hartnell put an end to that run on his tally with less than a second remaining in OT to give the Flyers a 3-2 victory.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for the Eastern Conference leaders, who announced prior to the game the acquisition of veteran forward Brenden Morrow from the Dallas Stars.
Three of the Pens' last four wins have come by one goal but that doesn't take away from this run, which is the longest in the NHL this season. Chicago won 11 straight en route to going 24 games from the start of the season with at least one point.
“I think tonight we were much better and got rewarded eventually for it,” Crosby said. “But we've got to make sure we are playing the right way no matter what the results are. That was a good step tonight to kind of getting our game back.”
Claude Giroux tallied and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 33 shots for the Flyers, who have lost six of their last eight outings but managed to pick up a point for the first time in those defeats.
“We needed that other point,” said Giroux. “We played a good game tonight. Defensively we played well and Bryz made some big saves for us tonight. But, we gave up that 5-on-3 goal and lost the point in overtime.”
One bright spot in the setback, was that Giroux finished 17-for-28 (61 percent) on faceoffs, including 6-for-9 (67 percent) against Crosby.
The visitors began to flirt with disaster as Wayne Simmonds was called for slashing with 7:08 left in regulation. Chris Kunitz was stoned early in the advantage, as Bryzgalov turned away his backhander with 6:45 on the clock, but immediately thereafter, the hosts were given a two-man edge when Kimmo Timonen
sat for hooking Kunitz on the chance.
Crosby evened the game 31 seconds later on a one-timer from the right circle off a dish from Paul Martin, but the visitors were able to prevent further damage during the following 5-on-4.
“That 5-on-3 was questionable,” Brayden Schenn pointed out. “They weren’t calling much all game and they have a great power play. But they made us pay. We came here for two points and only got one. One is O.K. but we wanted the two.”
Fleury made a trio of saves -- one on Simmonds and two on Andrej Meszaros at the right post -- early in overtime to prolong the contest.
In a tight-checking first period, Fleury stopped six shots and Bryzgalov halted all nine he faced.
The Flyers finally snapped a scoreless tie in the late stages of a power play with 5:51 remaining in the second. Giroux carried into the Pittsburgh zone on the left wing, and though his initial shot was blocked by Tanner Glass, the rebound came back to the captain for a second successful chance.
Bryzgalov made a huge stop with 8:13 left in regulation. A failed Philly clearing attempt skipped back into the Penguins' attack zone, caromed off the stick of Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn and right to Kunitz, but his chop out of the air from atop the crease was trapped.
Notes: Philadelphia fell to 8-2-1 all-time in this arena, and 6-1-1 in the regular season ... Pittsburgh has scored five goals when enjoying a 5-on-3 power play this year ... The Flyers played without forward Danny Briere and defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, both listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury ... Harry Zolnierczyk returned from a four-game suspension to take Briere's slot and Kurtis Foster subbed for Grossmann ... The Penguins did not have the services of either forward Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang ... Philly hasn't won a game in overtime in Pittsburgh since a 4-3 result on Apr. 5, 1986 ... Morrow and a third-round pick in 2013 came to the Steel City for defense prospect Joe Morrow and a fifth-round selection in the upcoming June draft ... The Penguins' triumph was played in front of an arena-record 18,662 patrons.