Hockey’s hottest team keeps finding ways to win.
And even more help is on the way.
Tyler Kennedy scored 2:33 into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins ran their winning streak to 12 games with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night.
Sidney Crosby tied things late in regulation with a 5-on-3 power play goal and Kennedy won it with his fifth goal of the season, a wrist shot from the left circle.
“I think we’re a pretty confident team right now,” Kennedy said. “I think we know if we stay on the plan and do all the little things we can be successful.”
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots for Pittsburgh, which remained unbeaten in March. The Penguins played without injured defenseman Kris Letang and reigning league MVP Evgeni Malkin, who remains sidelined with an upper body injury.
Malkin could be back by the end of the week and he’ll find a new face on the second line he shares with James Neal. Pittsburgh traded away promising defenseman prospect Joe Morrow early Sunday evening for Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow, hoping the veteran forward will give the Penguins some added punch in the playoffs.
“I think we all pride ourselves in playing a certain way and I think he fits right into that mold,” said Crosby, who played with Morrow for Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics. “I think he’s going to add to those things and add to what we have here. It’s a great acquisition and we’re pretty excited.”
The late flurry ruined a brilliant night by Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov, who stopped 33 shots but had no answer when Kennedy’s sizzling wrister sailed under the crossbar and sent his teammates spilling onto the ice.
“I thought we came in here and played a good road game,” Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said. “It’s unfortunate.”
Claude Giroux scored his 10th goal of the season late in the second period for Philadelphia, but the Flyers couldn’t make it hold up on a night they played without forward Danny Briere and defenseman Nicklas Grossman. Briere sustained an upper body injury in practice on Saturday and is day-to-day.
At the moment, so are Philadelphia’s postseason chances. The Flyers are 13th in the crowded Eastern Conference, though they hope to build on the nearly flawless hockey they played for the game’s first 50 minutes.
“We’ve got to take positives from this,” Giroux said. “We got a point, but we need another point.”
Philadelphia was in control until Wayne Simmonds and Kimmo Timonen went off with penalties 23 seconds apart with less than 8 minutes remaining. Crosby, the NHL’s leading scorer, took advantage of the ensuing 5-on-3 by wristing a shot by Bryzgalov with 6:14 remaining in regulation.
Both teams exchanged opportunities in the final minutes before heading to the extra period when Kennedy found a way to keep Pittsburgh perfect in overtime. The Penguins are now 4-0 when the game is tied at the end of regulation.
The two rivals have played some of hockey’s most entertaining games over the last few years, including a remarkable playoff series last year in which they combined for 56 goals in six entertaining games.
Their first three matchups this season were more of the same. The last meeting earlier this month featured the Penguins rallying from three goals down to win 5-4 and push the winning streak to a modest three games.
This time things were a bit more understated.
Giroux finally broke through on the power play late in the second period thanks to a fortunate bounce. He skated into Pittsburgh’s zone and attempted to slip a cross-ice pass to a teammate. The puck bounced off the stick of Pittsburgh’s Pascal Dupuis and right back to Giroux, who fired it by Fleury to put the Flyers in front.
It didn’t last, as the Penguins picked up their eighth one-goal victory during the streak, which is now the 11th streak of at least 12 games in NHL history.
It also served as a bounce-back game of sorts for the Penguins, who were outplayed for long stretches of a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders on Friday. They were more disciplined on Sunday, taking just one penalty, and continued to play responsible defensively. Pittsburgh has allowed just nine goals over its last eight games.
“We had played a couple games that weren’t our best hockey and had periods where it wasn’t even close to the way we needed to play,” Crosby said. “Tonight we were much better and I think we got rewarded at the end for it.”
NOTES: The Penguins are 4-6 this season when trailing after two periods. ... The crowd of 18,662 set a record at Consol Energy Center. ... Pittsburgh hosts Montreal on Tuesday night. ... The Flyers begin a five-game homestand on Tuesday against the New York Rangers.
Hockey’s hottest team keeps finding ways to win.
Richland's Pecora is one of two local wrestlers in state finals
It has never been easy for Nico Pecora to just be himself on the wrestling mat.
He’s always been the son of legendary Pitt-Johnstown coach Pat Pecora. And the younger brother of standout Marco Pecora.
Bengals make low offer to Hawkins
Johnstown’s Andrew Hawkins grew up with the Cincinnati Bengals while following his older brother Artrell Hawkins Jr.’s NFL career.
The younger Hawkins could see himself wearing a Bengals uniform and playing wide receiver in Cincinnati for years to come. But the Bishop McCort High School graduate knows the business side of the NFL sometimes gets in the way of the storybook ending.
Second place little consolation to contenders
Perspective can be a tricky thing in athletics.
Just ask Richland’s Nico Pecora and Bedford’s Jon Gabriel.
PIAA wrestling notebook: Murin not pleased with fifth place
Max Murin won the first 36 matches of his varsity career.
But the Central Cambria freshman was disappointed after he dropped two consecutive bouts on Friday night at the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships.
Berlin girls avenge earlier loss to Portage
Berlin Brothersvalley was highly motivated to play Portage on Saturday in their PIAA Class A girls’ first-round basketball matchup at Central Cambria High School.
The Mountaineers, who lost at Portage earlier in the season, held the Mustangs to a single basket in the first half on 1 of 21 shooting Saturday and went on to a 59-42 victory.
Shade girls nip Bishop Carroll
Alexis Meck isn’t the first name that comes to mind when the Shade girls’ basketball team is the topic.
On Saturday, her name was the last in the scorebook as the Panthers edged Bishop Carroll 56-54 in a PIAA Class A first-round game at Pitt-Johnstown’s Sports Center.
Conemaugh Township eliminated
After weathering Summit Academy’s first-half dominance and using the third quarter as a springboard to their first lead of Saturday’s PIAA Class AA boys first-round game, it appeared that District 5 champion Conemaugh Township had solved the Knights.
At the very least, the Indians had frustrated them.
Quaker Valley trips Richland in OT
There were just two shots taken in the overtime on Saturday in the first-round PIAA Class AA boys’ basketball game between Quaker Valley and Richland.
The Quakers had both shots including the game-winner by Winter Fondi with time winding down in a 42-40 victory over the Rams in a nailbiter.
Tomahawks drop key decision
Just two weeks ago, the Johnstown Tomahawks had earned points in five straight games, with four victories during that span.
Not so long ago, Johnstown had moved into a tie for second place in the NAHL North Division.
Pitt slips past Clemson in OT
Lamar Patterson had a career-high 30 points, including a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left, as Pittsburgh overcome a five-point deficit in the final seconds of regulation and beat Clemson 83-78 in overtime Saturday.
Patterson’s 3 with 3 seconds left cut the Tigers’ lead to 67-65.
- More Sports Headlines
- Richland's Pecora is one of two local wrestlers in state finals