Crosby scores lone shootout goal as Penguins shade lowly Flyers 5-4

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Held without a point during regulation, Crosby had the only goal in a shootout to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins over Philadelphia 5-4 on Thursday night, extending the Flyers' franchise-worst home-losing streak to 13 games.

Mike Knuble's second goal with 1:24 left in the third period forced overtime, and Simon Gagne had two power-play goals for Philadelphia, which has the fewest wins (13) and points (34) in the NHL. Flyers captain Peter Forsberg had three assists.

Crosby was 0-for-7 in shootouts before he beat Antero Niittymaki on the Penguins' third shot. Marc-Andre Fleury then stopped Gagne to win it.

"I was having a tough time with shootouts," said the 19-year-old Crosby. "I just tried to go there and give it my best shot and see what happened and it went in."

It was just the second time in 33 games the Penguins won when Crosby didn't have a point.

With Niittymaki pulled for an extra skater, Knuble redirected Alexei Zhitnik's slap shot in to tie it at 4.

Mark Recchi and Erik Christensen scored 30 seconds apart early in the third period, and Jordan Staal and Michel Ouellet also had goals for the Penguins, the NHL's most improved team this season. Pittsburgh has won 10 of 12 with two overtime losses.

"It's been a long time since we had a bad game," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "Even if you're not at your best and you win, at this time of the year it's a good sign."

The Flyers haven't won at home since beating former coach Ken Hitchcock in his debut with Columbus on Nov. 24, and have just three victories there in 25 games.

Philadelphia fell to 0-6-1 against Pittsburgh this season.

"We've got to get a win for our fans," Flyers coach John Stevens said.

Niittymaki stopped Christensen on the first shot of the shootout, but Jeff Carter missed the net on his chance. Evgeni Malkin and Forsberg traded shots off the goalpost.

"He's a good player," Forsberg said of Crosby. "You have to know where he is. It's tough in a shootout."

Fleury, who hasn't lost in regulation in 11 games since Jan. 9, had an assist on Ouellet's goal. He stoned Mike Richards on a short-handed breakaway in the final minute of the second period.

Recchi, a fan favourite during two stints with the Flyers, gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead by scoring his 19th goal during a scramble in front 34 seconds into the third period.

A half-minute later, Christensen took a wraparound pass from Colby Armstrong and beat Niittymaki to make it 4-2.

Knuble cut it to 4-3 when he redirected Gagne's shot from one knee past Fleury. Gagne's second goal late in the first period put the Flyers ahead 2-1.

"You're hoping luck turns to your side," Gagne said. "The way we played in the third period, it was fun to watch."

Ouellet tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal. He took a pass near the blue-line, skated past a defender and put a shot between Niittymaki's legs.

Staal's 20th goal gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead midway though the opening period.

Notes: Fans gave Recchi a standing ovation in the first period after a replay of his 500th career goal was shown on the video screen. ... Crosby has 14 goals and 16 assists in 17 games against the Flyers. ... Flyers LW Geoff Sanderson was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch three straight games. ... Flyers LW Dimitry Afanasenkov played in his 200th NHL game. ... Staal has scored in four straight games. ... Eight of Ouellet's 12 goals have been on the power play.



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