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Crosby scores in OT to sink Flyers

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Kris Letang set up Sidney Crosby for the deflection goal 1:48 into overtime, lifting Pittsburgh to the 5-4 win at PPG Paints Arena Monday night.

When it comes to losing leads in Pittsburgh, the Flyers simply can’t escape the pigeonhole.

Tradition never broke Monday night, as the Penguins erased two deficits, scoring three times in the third period, and handing Philadelphia (8-10-6) a 5-4 overtime loss at PPG Paints Arena.

The magical stick work of Sidney Crosby was on full display, as Kris Letang set 87 up from the blue line, sending the puck to the right side of the net, where the captain then tipped the puck with a high stick past Brian Elliott for the game-winner just 1:48 into the overtime period.

“He made a great play,” said Crosby of Letang on the assist.  “They took the front of the net away and left me open inside.”

“The (defense) came in front of me, so it kind of left Sid open,” said Kris Letang, who finished with an assist and a top-tier defensive campaign that yielded two blocked shots and a takeaway.  “He had a nice little deflection.  Over the years, he was working on tipping pucks and tough angle goals like this.  He became really good at it.”

Pittsburgh (13-10-3,) who salvaged back-to-back home losses a week ago to Chicago and Vancouver with consecutive wins on friendly ice Monday night, erased an early 3-1 deficit thanks to back-to-back third period goals in a span of 2:37, including a Bryan Rust semi-breakaway net-tapper, in which the nimble forward corralled his own rebound off the pad of Elliott and finished on the backside, tying the game at three.

Elliott, who was peppered with 52 shots on the night, surrendered all five goals, while facing a combined 21 shots between the third period and overtime.

“We came out hard in the third,” explained Crosby, who finished with a goal and two assists.  “I think we were all pretty disappointed with our second [period.]  The third, we came out hard.  We got a big goal early to get us going, and we just kind of fed off of that.  We did some really good things in the third period, and generated a lot of chances.”

The Flyers, who have now lost eight straight games, answered the Rust goal with 3:41 left in the game, when forward Michael Raffl sped down the wing, pushing off the weak check of Phil Kessel, finishing over a sliding Tristan Jarry, putting Philadelphia ahead late.

“You just have to stay calm.  I think that is one of my biggest traits,” said Jarry, who came in for the injured Matt Murray, stopping eight of 10 shots.  “I can’t let that one bother me, and it has to be something that I can push aside.”

With 4:21 left in the second period, goalie Matt Murray left the game after forward Jakub Voracek pushed the puck ahead along the wing, then slammed on the breaks to try and work a move, but lost control, knocking Murray into the night.  After several minutes of lying on the ice, Murray skated off under his own power, but would not return in the game.

“Matt will be evaluated tomorrow,” said Coach Mike Sullivan of Murray’s condition.  “He’s out with a lower-body injury.  We’ll have more answers tomorrow.”

Sullivan continued on the confidence in Jarry stepping into the spotlight.

“We believe he’s a solid goalie,” coach continued.  “The game he played against Tampa is a perfect example of what he’s capable of.  If that becomes the scenario, then Tristan is going to have to make timely saves for us game in and game out, and we think he can do that.”

The Penguins rallied behind Jarry, picking up the game-tying goal with just 1:04 left in the game, thanks to a backdoor-sitting Jake Guentzel, who punched in his 11th goal of the season, off a Justin Schultz blue line slapper that took a fortuitous bounce for the forward.

Guentzel finished with a pair of goals on the night, including the game-opening dazzling finish at the net with just under four minutes left in the first period.

“When you look at the way the game played out, in a lot of ways, it was a microcosm of our season,” said Sullivan.  “We had a pretty good first period.  We come out in the second period, we didn’t play the game the right way.  We came out in the third period, and we came out playing the type of Penguins hockey, the identity that this team is built on.”

Patric Hornqvist rounded out the scoring for Pittsburgh, grabbing his goal on the man-advantage just a minute into the third period.

After the moneyline

The Penguins, who have yet to come in as home underdogs this season, came in as -the 145 favorites.

The total, which was set at six goals, went just over with seven, marking the fourth straight game the over has hit with the Pens.

Up next

Pittsburgh will travel to Buffalo to face the Sabres on Friday.  Puck drops at KeyBank Center at 7 PM.

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