Crosby's goal powers Penguins past Flyers, 5-1
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sidney Crosby scored a power-play goal and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 on Saturday.
Crosby scored the 86th game-winning goal of his NHL career. He moved past Glenn Anderson and Marian Hossa and into a tie with Pierre Turgeon, Daniel Sedin and Joe Sakic for 25th place in league history.
Pittsburgh led 2-1 thanks to Crosby's tally until Jason Zucker’s goal at 14:24 of the third period. Zucker, who redirected a Marcus Pettersson shot between Carter Hart’s pads, has 10 goals in the last 12 games.
“I just think we’re trying to play the game the right way,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I thought the guys were locked in. I thought they played hard in the third.”
Rickard Rakell scored first, Crosby scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, Jake Guentzel added an empty net goal and Mikael Granlund scored his first with Pittsburgh in the final minute. The Penguins, who are battling for a wild-card playoff berth, rebounded from a tough loss Thursday against the New York Islanders, in which they blew a two-goal lead in the final five minutes.
Casey DeSmith stopped 31 shots for the Penguins, who have won six of their last eight games.
“I think we still have another level, but I thought it was pretty good,” Zucker said. “It was good to close that out in the third period.”
Kieffer Bellows scored his second of the season for the Flyers, who lost their third straight. Philadelphia has lost 11 of its last 13 games overall. Hart made 27 saves.
Philadelphia fired Chuck Fletcher on Friday from his position as general manager and president of hockey operations. The team promoted franchise great Danny Briere to the interim general manager role. Fletcher served 4 1/2 seasons and the Flyers went 141-145-43.
“(Fletcher) is the reason why I’m here,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “I loved working for him. As much as I’ll miss Chuck, I look forward to working with Danny. I’ve known him for a long time and he’s very bright.”
Sullivan tied Ken Hitchcock as the 11th-fastest coach in NHL history to reach 400 wins. He is 400-234-15-87 through 736 games.
“I’ve been fortunate to have coached a lot of really good players,” Sullivan said. “Great players make coaches look smart. I’m grateful to all of the players who have made the sacrifice to help us have success. It’s humbling, for sure.”
Pittsburgh played without Nick Bonino, who is out week-to-week with a lacerated kidney, suffered Thursday against the New York Islanders. Bonino, who won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2016 and ’17, primarily as a third-line center, was reacquired at the trade deadline from San Jose and Montreal in a three-team trade.
Rakell opened the scoring for Pittsburgh at 5:52 of the first period when he tipped a Pettersson point shot behind Hart. It was his 22nd of the season and first goal in 11 games. Granlund, who was acquired from Nashville at the trade deadline, had the secondary assist for his first point with Pittsburgh.
Bellows tied the game for Philadelphia at 10:04 of the first when he slipped a wrist shot underneath DeSmith’s blocker from the right point.
Crosby gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at 6:49 of the second. He drove a one-timer past Hart from the right faceoff dot. Kris Letang had a secondary assist for his 30th point of the season. It’s the 13th 30-point season of his career, which ties Los Angeles Kings D Drew Doughty for second-most among active defensemen.
Flyers: Open a seven-game homestand Tuesday against Vegas.
Penguins: Continue a season-long five-game homestand Sunday against the New York Rangers. ___ AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Dan Scifo, The Associated Press