Despite the Penguins’ pronounced edge in play, the Flyers drew first blood at the 15:18 mark of the opening frame. James van Riemsdyk bulled his way past Pens defender Deryk Engelland with a strong power move and fed Mike Richards in the slot. The Flyers’ captain bunted the fluttering puck up and over Marc Andre-Fleury for his 21st goal of the season.
The Penguins responded early in the second period with a rare power-play goal. Kunitz threaded a crisp cross-ice pass to Kennedy, who snapped the puck past Bobrovsky from the right face-off circle to knot the score at 1-1. It was the scrappy winger’s 11th goal in 22 games.
From that point on the goalies took charge. Fleury stopped Philly sniper Jeff Carter on his doorstep, while Bobrovsky turned aside shots by James Neal, Kovalev and Craig Adams. Early in the final period the Flyers’ rookie made the save of the game when he sticked aside a glorious shorthanded chance by Max Talbot.
Following five pulsating minutes of overtime, the game went to a shootout. After Letang was denied on the Pens’ first attempt, Kovalev beat Bobrovsky with a deft backhand-to-forehand move. However, Philly’s Daniel Briere victimized Fleury for an equally pretty tally to tie the shootout at 1-1 after three rounds.
“The Flower” quickly regained his composure. He stopped Richards from point-blank range, setting the table for Kunitz’s game-winning goal.
“It’s always a good feeling to come into this barn and walk away with two points,” Jordan Staal said.
The Penguins return home to face New Jersey (and Jacques Lemaire’s dreaded neutral-zone trap) Friday night. Following an incredible 23-2-2 run, the Devils have lost three out of four to tumble from playoff contention.
*Be sure to check out Rick’s book, “Total Penguins,” at TriumphBooks.com. A complete and comprehensive book on the team’s rich and colorful history, it’s filled with season-by-season summaries, player profiles and stats, bios on coaches, general managers and owners, photos from the “Post-Gazette” archives, and much, much more. A must have for any true Penguins fan.