NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Philadelphia
(Friday, October 14th)
Final Score: Philadelphia 6, Pittsburgh 5 (OT)
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Mike Rathje scored the game-winning goal in overtime for the Flyers, who coughed up a four-goal advantage but salvaged a 6-5 win over the Penguins at the Wachovia Center.
Simon Gagne had two goals and two assists and linemate Peter Forsberg finished with four assists for the Flyers, who unloaded 41 shots to improve to 2-2 on the young season.
John LeClair scored against his former team for his first goal as a member of the Penguins, who remain winless this season (0-1-4). Young phenom Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh, which overcame a 5-1 deficit to force overtime for the fourth straight game this year.
Rathje, though, shot a wrister from the top of the right circle in OT that flew just underneath the near crossbar at the 3:17 mark to give the Flyers a win. It came on the power-play with Sergei Gonchar in the penalty box for tripping.
Tht goal took Flyer goaltender Antero Nittymaki off the hook. Pittsburgh had won a faceoff at center ice midway through the final period and Maxime Talbot turned and released a shot. Nittymaki appeared unaware that play had begun, and did not react as the tying goal drifted by him.
"He wasn't ready. He was sweeping the ice away," said Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock. "What are you going to do? This is the new NHL."
Nittymaki finished with 15 saves on 20 shots.
Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury did not fare much better, allowing four goals on 20 shots before being pulled in the second period. His successor Sebastien Caron, meanwhile, was dazzling overall, and made an incredible save on Brian Savage to force overtime. After an initial shot rang off the post, a vulnerable Caron stretched back and snagged Savage's shot before it went into the seemingly wide open net.
Caron's efforts, though, proved not to be enough despite making 19 saves.
The Flyers jumped all over Pittsburgh early. Keith Primeau took a feed from Eric Desjardins in the right slot, turned, and reached around Fleury to stuff it in the far side of the net at the 3:45 mark. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen made it a two-goal Flyers lead later in the period, taking advantage of a crowded crease and a Gagne rebound to light the lamp with less than four minutes to play in the frame.
The Flyers allowed a Pittsburgh goal with just 2.5 seconds remaining to make it 2-1 heading into the first intermission. LeClair stationed himself near the net as time wound down, and redirected a Ric Jackman shot past Nittymaki.
But the Forsberg-Gagne tandem struck twice in nearly identical fashion o increase the lead in the second. The linemates charged into the zone and exchanged passes before Gagne ripped a shot past Fleury from the right slot 1:37 into the period. Less than three minutes later, they repeated the feat to make it 4-1 and chase Fleury from the game.
"He's a good player," said Forsberg of Gagne. "I think we've got a pretty good line there."
Derian Hatcher added a shorthanded goal midway through the second. The former Dallas Star defenseman, who was making his regular-season debut as a Flyer, scored on a 2-on-1 chance when his pass attempt to Gagne was redirected into the net by a Penguin defender.
Pittsburgh would score four unanswered goals, however, to knot the game at 5-5. Ryan Malone stuffed home a rebound 12:11 into the second period for the power-play tally, and Crosby deflected a shot past Nittymaki short side 57 seconds later.
The Penguins went on a 5-on-3 power play early in the third and Dick Tarnstrom scored on a one-timer from the point to cut the lead to one.
The Flyers have won 21 of the last 24 games versus the Penguins at home...The Flyers have three shorthanded goals on the year...Philadelphia ended 2-for-8 on the power play to move to 3-for-27 with the man advantage this season...Pittsburgh finished 2-for-6 on the power play...Nittymaki is 5-0 in his brief NHL career...Forsberg has nine assists this season...Gagne has six goals.
10/14 23:41:59 ET