NHL Playoffs: Penguins 5, Flyers 3
PHILADELPHIA ó Sidney Crosby stood near center ice, answering questions from a television reporter while a few lingering fans berated him.
Crosby never flinched. He finished the interview and let the scoreboard do his talking back to the fans.
Sergei Gonchar scored 2:19 into the third period and the Penguins eliminated the Flyers with a 5-3 victory Saturday in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference first-round series.
“It felt good,” said Crosby, who scored the tying goal in the second period and had an empty-netter in the final minute. “We’ve had huge rivalries over the years. It’s a loud building. They were playing well and the crowd was into to it, so to hear a little silence was gratifying.”
The Penguins, who beat the Flyers in the conference finals last year, have to wait to find out who they’ll play next.
Meanwhile, the Flyers have to wait another year to pursue their first Stanley Cup since 1975.
“We did a lot of good things, but the fact of the matter is we still lost and we’re out,” Philadelphia captain Mike Richards said.
Ruslan Fedotenko and Mark Eaton also scored for the Penguins, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves.
Mike Knuble and Joffrey Lupul scored 51 seconds apart late in the first period and Daniel Briere had a power-play goal for the Flyers.
After the Penguins scored three straight goals to tie it in the second, Gonchar quickly put them ahead in the third. He ripped a slap shot past Martin Biron for his first goal of the series.
“It brought a smile to my face when he scored because I had read that he hadn’t been scoring,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.
The Flyers had a chance to tie it several minutes later, but Claude Giroux hit the crossbar on a slap shot.
Philadelphia stayed alive with a 3-0 victory in Pittsburgh on Thursday night. But the Flyers couldn’t protect a 3-0 lead at home. They’re 0-14 in series after trailing 3-1, and haven’t forced a Game 7 since losing to Edmonton in the 1987 Stanley Cup finals.
With everything seemingly going Philadelphia’s way, the Penguins scored two goals less than 2 minutes apart to get to 3-2. Fedotenko put in a rebound off a wraparound shot by Evgeni Malkin for Pittsburgh’s first goal.
Eaton then swatted the puck into the net out of the air after Tyler Kennedy’s slap shot hit off Biron and bounced up.
Crosby scored a similar goal to tie it at 3 with 3:01 left in the second. Bill Guerin flicked a shot toward the net from the corner that popped out of Biron’s glove right to Crosby, who knocked it in out of the air.
Backed by a raucous crowd wearing giveaway T-shirts that turned the Wachovia Center into a sea of orange, the Flyers came out with plenty of energy. They outhit, outshot and, more importantly, outscored the Penguins 2-0 in the first period.
Richards stripped Maxime Talbot to set up Knuble’s goal. Lupul then fired a shot past Fleury after a perfect cross-ice from Giroux.
Briere’s goal made it 3-0 in the second period. Just 21 seconds after Crosby went to the penalty box for slashing, Briere played give-and-go with Simon Gagne. Briere skated up ice, split the middle and sent a pass to Gagne, who fed it right back. Briere beat Fleury with a shot to the glove side.
No doubt Crosby heard more derisive chants in the brief time he spent in the box. Fans gave the superstar center an earful every chance they had. Crosby silenced them with his tying goal.
Daniel Carcillo gave the revved-up fans even more reason to cheer when he squared off against Talbot early in the second. Carcillo sent Talbot to the ice with a couple hard rights and the Flyers’ bench and crowd went wild.
Perhaps that served as a wake-up call for the Penguins, however. They controlled the game the rest of the way.
“It seems like it’s what got us going,” Gonchar said.
Notes: The Penguins are 14-15 against Philadelphia in the playoffs. … The Flyers fell to 24-31 in elimination games and 3-6 in Game 6s at home.