Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Flyers can do no wrong in Pittsburgh

Thanks to the Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh,  PA  --  R.J. Umberger,  Matt  Read  and  Sean Couturier  tallied  in the third  period, as the Philadelphia Flyers continued their  domination  at CONSOL  Energy  Center  with  a  5-3 decision  over  the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

Pierre-Edouard  Bellemare  picked up his first  NHL score and Mark Streit also lit  the  lamp for the  Flyers, who  bounced back nicely  from a 4-0 defeat in Chicago on Tuesday.

Claude  Giroux and  Jakub Voracek contributed two assists each while Ray Emery turned away  22  shots as Philadelphia improved  to 10-1-1 in the Steel City since October of 2010.

I liked the way we checked," Flyers coach Craig Berube said, despite using an early-game swich of Zac Rinaldo on the first line. "I think in the neutral zone, we did a real good job. We held the puck and took away their speed for the most part, kept them on the outside. That's what you have to do with Crosby and Malkin, you have to make sure they you neutralize their speed as much as you can."

Nick  Spaling  picked up  a goal and  assist, with Marcel  Goc and Paul Martin adding  goals for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury took the loss after stopping 28-of-32 shots.

"Our second period wasn't good," noted Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who was held off the scoresheet, about Philly's 17-6 shot edge. "We still found a way to get ourselves back in the game, but we didn't set ourselves up for the third. It wasn't quite the way we wanted to play, but still, it's a tied game going into the third and we have a bad third period.

Seconds after another bad bounce caused Fleury to be out of position for a Flyers' chance, Emery dove through his crease to stop a point-blank shot by Evgeni Malkin with his left pad just over six minutes into the third.  A brief review determined the puck did not cross the goal line before the pad swept it back out of the crease.

Umberger put the visitors ahead for good at the end of the following shift when he flipped a cross-ice dish from Giroux inside the near post from the left side at 6:50.

The second-time Flyer redeemed himself after looking bad in a late first-period fight against the Pens' Simon Despres after the latter issued an elbow to the face of Couturier. Nonetheless, he was credited with his second Gordie Howe hat trick.

It was a two-goal spread when Read finished off a pass from Couturier with a rising backhander exactly two minutes later.

"That was a big moment for sure," said Umberger, a Pittsburgh-area native who suffered a first-round defeat to the Pens last Spring as a member of the Blue Jackets. "The way we responded after the last game, we had to do something like this. Obviously, nothing was good about that game. So for us to come in tonight and beat a good team on their ice, finish up a road trip, a lot of courage there."

Pittsburgh was on its heels until Goc and Spaling worked a give-and-go with the former beating Emery from the left side with 2:57 to play and the hosts pulled within a goal.

Fleury went to the bench for an extra attacker with 1:22 on the clock, and Emery needed to make just one save before Couturier's shot from the neutral zone slid into the empty cage with 25 seconds to play.

The Flyers survived their first short-handed situation when Chris VandeVelde went off for holding at 1:43, but Spaling's shot from the left side eluded Emery just seven seconds after the penalty expired.

Streit was left alone at the right point to rip a shot which changed direction slightly off Malkin's stick before fluttering through Fleury at the 9:20 mark.

Bellemare attained his milestone tally when he tipped home a Couturier lead pass on an odd-man rush just after the second Philly minor expired for a 2-1 game at 13:18. What's more, he even survived a post-game intervew with resident leech Pierre McGuire of NBCSN, who showed the whole world his French-language skills to try and get a reaction out of the winger.

"It was pretty unbelievable," Bellemare said. "Especially, we won the game tonight. That helped to make it feel even better about it … I think they're (my family in France is) pretty much in front of the TV right now. I don't think I have to wake them up."

The hosts evened the score at eight minutes even of the second. Malkin won a left-circle draw back to Martin, and his low wrister caromed off Philadelphia defenseman Andrew MacDonald's skate before trickling past Emery.

Fleury had to be limber to stop a pair of Flyers chances in close which resulted from bad caroms off the end boards in the final three minutes.

Notes: Umberger posted his first goal with the Flyers since Apr. 4, 2008 against the Devils ... According to Elias Sports Bureau, at 29 years old, Bellemare is the oldest Flyers player to record his first NHL goal since 32-year-old Jiri Dopita on Nov. 15, 2001 ... Penguins defenseman Kris Letang and forward Brandon Sutter each finished with game-worst minus-4s ... Philly blueliner Nick Schultz finished a team-best plus-3 ... Rinaldo left the game after the first period and did not return after suffering what the team called an upper-body injury ... In addition to the American national anthem, "O Canada" was sung as a tribute to the shootings on Parliament Hill in Ottawa earlier in the day which left a soldier -- Cpl. Nathan Cirillo -- dead and caused the postponement of the Maple Leafs-Senators contest.

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