Published February 21, 2013
| Sports Network
Pittsburgh, PA – Jakub Voracek completed his first career hat trick thanks to recording the game-winning goal with 1:31 left in regulation as the Philadelphia Flyers gutted out a 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center.
"I was just trying to throw it at the net so someone could get a rebound," Voracek said of his crucial tally. "But it took a lucky bounce and I'll take it."
Wayne Simmonds added two goals and one assist for the Flyers, who avenged an opening-day 3-1 home loss to their bitter rivals and completed a season-long six-game road trip with two straight wins to finish at 3-3-0.
Nicklas Grossman also tallied, while Claude Giroux posted a pair of assists as Ilya Bryzgalov picked up the victory with 27 saves.
Matt Niskanen, James Neal, Evgeni Malkin, Brandon Sutter and Tyler Kennedy scored for the Penguins, whose three-game win streak came to a halt.
Tomas Vokoun was shelled in defeat for six goals on 32 shots.
Only 32 seconds after Sutter tied the game on a wraparound, Voracek's sharp- angle try from the goal line to Vokoun's left managed to sneak off his body and over the goal line for a 6-5 game with 91 seconds to play.
The extra attacker was called upon with 1:07 to go but the home team couldn't squeeze out one more quality chance from their offense.
"He just shot it from behind the net, and I knocked it in my own net. That's tough," said Vokoun about the deciding score.
Pittsburgh hit the scoreboard at the 5:07 mark when Niskanen fired away on a rolling puck and it zipped past Bryzgalov inside the left post.
The Pens received the game's first power play on the following shift, and though Bryzgalov gloved down Malkin's shot from the right circle, the puck appeared to have crossed the goal line inside the webbing.
A review proved to be inconclusive, but Malkin made the most of his next chance, potting a rebound at the right post with five seconds left on the advantage for a 2-0 game at 7:15.
It was 2-1 with 8:11 remaining on a bizarre sequence. A goalmouth scramble around the Pens' net -- which featured two near-scores by Philadelphia and half of all players on the ice either within or near the crease -- was allowed to endure for more than 10 seconds without a whistle. Grossmann eventually lifted a shot over the mass of humanity for his first of the year.
Only 60 seconds later, the game was tied as Simmonds accepted a Danny Briere pass, worked from the left circle to the top of the crease and slipped a shot past Vokoun's pad.
"I yelled for Danny as he was about to shoot it," said Simmonds, who recorded a "Gordie Howe hat trick" of at least one goal, assist and fight. "He found me down low and I just kind of walked the puck to the net."
Vokoun's poke check halted a Max Talbot breakaway within the first five minutes of the second period, and a relatively calm middle stanza that featured 18 combined shots ended with the visitors up 3-2.
On a power play in the final 10 seconds, Voracek was standing alone on the right side -- as he did to tally the overtime winner in Game 1 of last year's Eastern quarterfinal -- to corral a Simmonds rebound and lift it home over two bodies.
The Flyers went up 4-2 with only 18 seconds played in the third period. After Ruslan Fedotenko worked a puck loose from underneath Vokoun, the disc squirted to the right side, where Voracek alertly followed up and beat a sliding defender with a soft shot. It marked the eighth time this season the Orange and Black scored within the first minute of a given period.
Kennedy pulled the hosts within one at 5:29, getting a puck home at the right post before Bryzgalov could close off the space, but Simmonds was credited with another score, at 7:36, when his attempted cross-crease pass to Giroux rolled up Niskanen's stick and into the net.
A four-minute power play for Philadelphia then fell by the wayside, and Pittsburgh received one of its own with 8;24 remaining. Just 41 seconds elapsed before a Fedotenko minor for high sticking provided a 5-on-3 for the Pens.
Neal made it 5-4 with 7:14 to play on a far-side blast from the right circle to end the first portion of the two-man edge, and Talbot was whistled for closing his hand on the puck during an attempted clear, lengthening the 5- on-3 even further.
Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz had a potential tying goal with 5:39 on the clock wiped out when replay revealed he used a distinct kicking motion, then he tried to sneak a stuffer past Bryzgalov at the left post and failed on his next shift.
Though the Flyers managed to survive the remainder of their short-handed situation, Sutter walked out in front and tied the game, 5-5, with 2:03 to play.
"It was an entertaining game, that���s for sure," Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "It was fun at times and not so fun at times, but obviously not the result we wanted."
Voracek upped his total to eight points (3G, 5A) in the last three games ... The Flyers improved to 6-1-0 all-time in the regular season at Pens' new home arena, and 8-2-0 including playoffs in the venue which opened in October of 2010 ... Malkin's goal gave Pittsburgh at least one power-play goal in each of the last nine games, and snapped Philadelphia's streak of 21 straight power plays killed off ... Flyers defenseman Kurtis Foster missed his second straight game due to the birth of his second son on Tuesday in Philadelphia ... The Penguins fell to 3-4-0 at home this year ... In 21 career home games against the Flyers, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby has tallied 37 points (14G, 23A), including points in nine of his past 10 home games against them ... Malkin's tally was also his first in six games, since Feb. 7 vs. Washington ... Flyers forward Matt Read suffered an upper-body injury reported to be a puck to the chest, left the game after the first period and did not return ... Grossman recorded his first score since Jan. 21, 2011 ... Kennedy produced his first goal in 15 games, since Jan. 20 at the Rangers ... Simmonds' three points tied a career high ... Penguins defenseman Paul Martin registered three assists in defeat.