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Kennedy, Kunitz lead Pens past Flyers in shootout win

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Chris Kunitz and Alex Kovalev scored in the shootout to lift the Penguins over the Flyers in Philly, 2-1. Tyler Kennedy scored in regulation for the Pens.

Penguins 2 - Flyers 1
Well Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
 
The Penguins gained a point on Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division standings Thursday night, besting the Flyers 2-1 in a shootout victory at Wells Fargo Center. Sergei Bobrovsky was brilliant in the net for the Flyers, stopping 31 of 32 shots, but Tyler Kennedy scored in regulation and Chris Kunitz snuck the puck past the rookie's five hole in the shootout to narrow the points gap between the Pens (43-23-8) and Philly (44-19-10) to four. With eight games remaining for Pittsburgh and nine left for the Flyers, the Pens trail Philadelphia for first place in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings by a 98-94 point margin.
 
First Period
Neither Keystone State rival got off many shots in the opening period, with the Pens challenging Russian rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky 11 times and the Flyers taking just seven attempts. Philadelphia got on the board first, though, on a bizarre score by Mike Richards at 15:18 that was upheld after a review. James van Riemsdyk made a centering pass just to the right of the crease, and Matt Niskanen tried to swat the puck away. But it hit Richards' skate, bounced high into the air and went off Richards' stick, floating over Fleury's right shoulder to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
 
Philadelphia nearly stretched its lead to two goals late in the period, but instead ended up in the penalty box. Ben Loveyjoy couldn't corral Flyers clearing pass off the glass, allowing the puck to trickle deep into the Pens' end. Andreas Nodl dashed toward the net with the puck, but Loveyjoy recovered and Fleury made a stop. Nodl couldn't stop his momentum and he bowled over Fleury, getting called for interference.
 
Second Period
Nodl's penalty, which carried over to the second period, proved costly when the Pens notched a power play goal. Kris Letang made a short pass to Chris Kunitz along the boards, Kunitz delivered a cross-ice dish to Tyler Kennedy, and Kennedy then scorched a wrister past Borbovsky 1:01 into the period.
 
Pittsburgh threatened to take the lead several times later in the period, but Bobrovsky turned back all comers. Alexei Kovalev had a prime opportunity to end his nine-game scoring drought with a shot at point-blank range at 12:48, but Bobrovsky stoned him. Lovejoy and Craig Adams were stuffed less than a minute later when Bobrovsky sprawled out, and Kovalev was frustrated yet again at 15:48. James Neal took a wrist shot wide of the net that ricocheted off the back wall to Kovalev, who had a wide open net. Yet Bobrovsky managed to slide to his left, getting his pads in the way for a highlight reel save.
 
The period ended on a sour note, as the injury-ravaged Pens saw Dustin Jeffrey head to the locker room early after Jeff Carter fell on his right leg along the boards.
 
Third Period
The Pens played suffocating defense, denying the Flyers a single shot attempt until the 13:29 mark in the third period. Bobrovsky, meanwhile, continued to shine -- Max Talbot made a behind-the-back pass to James Neal, who slapped it toward the net at close range while falling down. Bobrovsky snatched it out of the air for yet another impressive denial.
 
Overtime
Pittsburgh owned the overtime period, getting a couple golden chances to grab the road win. Letang let off a long wrist shot at 2:52 that Bobrovsky grabbed out of the air, and Letang was rejected again at 3:36 in front of the crease.
 
Shootout
Alexei Kovalev beat Bobrovsky by deeking right and then slicing left, leaving the rookie well out of position. But Daniel Briere kept the action going, poking one between Fleury's legs. After a Neal backhand attempt was stopped and Richards couldn't get the puck past Fleury's five hole, Kunitz sent the Pens home winners by beating Bobrovsky on the five hole.
 
Score Sheet
Goals:
PIT- Tyler Kennedy (18); PHI- Mike Richards (21)
Assists: PIT- Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang; PHI- James van Riemsdyk, Matt Carle
Special Teams: PIT- 1 of 2; PHI- 0 of 3
 
In the Net
PIT
: Marc-Andre Fleury 20-21
PHI: Sergei Bobrovsky 31-32
 
Johnson injured, Thiessen recalled
With goalie Brent Johnson listed as day-to-day with an upper-body ailment, the Pens recalled Brad Thiessen from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Thiessen, 25, leads the American Hockey League in wins (32) and goals against average (1.88).
 
The Flower owns the Flyers
With the win Thursday night, Marc-Andre Fleury improved to 20-9-0 all-time versus Philadelphia. The Flower has tailled more W's against the Flyers than another other NHL team.

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