Philadelphia, PA – The road team has proved to have much success in the recent series history between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.
And that again proved to be the case Thursday night.
Chris Kunitz had a pair of goals, including the go-ahead score early in the third period, and the Penguins scored four unanswered goals to stun the Flyers, 5-4.
In the last 24 games between these two teams dating back to Jan. 13, 2009, the road team has posted an 18-5-1 record, compared to 6-16-2 for the home team. This season, the road team is 3-0.
Pascal Dupuis added a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who avenged a 6-5 loss to Philadelphia in Pittsburgh on Feb. 20 and took a 2-1 lead in the season series. James Neal and Tyler Kennedy also lit the lamp.
Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury gave up four goals on 18 shots and was pulled after the first period. Tomas Vokoun made 14 saves over the final two frames.
Jakub Voracek had a pair of goals for the Flyers, who have lost two in a row. Kimmo Timonen added a goal and two assists, while Zac Rinaldo also lit the lamp.
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 12-of-16 shots for the Flyers before being pulled late in the second period. Brian Boucher turned aside 5-of-6 shots in relief.
The Penguins trailed by three, 4-1, after being outshot by an 18-4 margin in the first stanza, and Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma decided to replace Fleury with Vokoun. The change in net seemed to spark the Penguins, who scored three times in the middle frame.
"I certainly liked how we came out and played. I think we've talked about the emotions in a game against the Flyers and we didn't play very well in the first," Bylsma said. "We came out and stuck with it. We just got to our game, started playing, started coming after them and started playing a whole lot better."
At the 5:30 mark, Dupuis received a pass from Sidney Crosby, who was positioned behind the net, and fired the puck into a half-empty net.
Less than three minutes later, Neal threw a puck on net from the bottom of the right circle. The disc deflected off Philadelphia defenseman Braydon Coburn's skate and crossed the goal line, making it a 4-3 game.
Kennedy tied the game at the 15:47 mark on a one-timer from the point. Bryzgalov was pulled following the goal, and the Penguins ended up with a 12-3 advantage in shots for the period.
Pittsburgh then took the lead just 18 seconds into the third stanza. Kunitz and Crosby headed into the Philly zone on a 2-on-1 rush, with Kunitz charging down the right wing and passing the puck off to Crosby before getting it back. His wrist shot from the right circle got past Boucher, giving the Penguins a 5-4 lead.
The Flyers had a goal waved off with 12:53 to play. Timonen's shot from the point was deflected in by Scott Hartnell's high stick. Upon further review, it was determined that Hartnell's stick was indeed above the crossbar.
"I took a look at it on the ice and it's hard to tell. When you're at home you think you get the benefit of the doubt saying it's a goal," Hartnell said. "If the video says it was too high then there is no goal. It's kind of tough to make a judgment call like that when they call it no goal already."
Philadelphia pulled Boucher with over a minute remaining. The Penguins, however, held strong on defense to pick up their third straight win.
The action picked up at the 10:45 mark of the first period, when Neal was sent to the penalty box for elbowing Claude Giroux. Just 33 seconds into Philadelphia's power play, Voracek took a cross-ice feed from Giroux and beat Fleury with a wrist shot from the right circle.
While the Flyers celebrated their goal, Neal came out of the box and made eye contact with Hartnell. The two players exchanged some words and got into a minor fight. Neal got two minutes for roughing, while Hartnell picked up penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct and roughing.
"I think it's happened a couple times in this building, that's happened, but whatever, he's doing what he's got to do I guess, but he takes an extra two there and we score on the power play," Neal said.
The Penguins quickly capitalized on their first power play of the game. After the puck hit off the skate of the Flyers' Nicklas Grossmann, Kunitz beat Bryzgalov from in close at the 12:05 mark.
The Flyers took the lead back just over three minutes later. Grossmann's shot from the left point hit off Fleury's pad and went right to Rinaldo, who put home the rebound.
Philadelphia continued to fire away on Fleury and scored again when Timonen threw the puck on net from along the left boards. The puck snuck past Fleury with 1:43 remaining in the period.
Voracek added another power-play goal with just eight seconds left in the opening frame, as his shot from the right point deflected off a pair of Pittsburgh players and snuck past Fleury.
"I didn't think they (Pittsburgh) were talked about after the first period," Hartnell said. "The Pittsburgh Penguins aren't going to sit back and hand over two points, they're going to come hard. Before you know it's 4-4; we just can't do that. It's embarrassing to the fans and it's embarrassing to one another; we let another two points slip away."
Pittsburgh notched a 3-1 win in Philadelphia to begin the season on Jan. 19 ... Crosby had three assists ... Penguins defenseman Paul Martin returned to the lineup after missing two straight games with a lower-body injury ... Flyers forward Matt Read returned to the lineup Thursday after missing six games with torn muscles in his rib cage. Read suffered the injury on Feb. 20 against Pittsburgh and was originally supposed to miss six weeks. In addition, Grossmann was also in the lineup after leaving Tuesday's game against the New York Rangers with a lower-body injury ... Voracek has recorded at least a point in nine of his last 10 games and has a total of nine goals and 10 assists during that stretch ... The Flyers had a 40-22 advantage in hits.