Sun, May 11, 2008 - Page 20 News List

NHL: Penguins capture opener against Flyers 4-2


Pittsburgh Penguins fans cheer on Ryan Malone during the first period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Friday.


Evgeni Malkin scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins opened their National Hockey League semi-final series against Philadelphia with a 4-2 victory.

Malkin snapped a tie in the waning seconds of the first period and added a shorthander early in the second as Pittsburgh took the lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals that will see the winner reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

Petr Sykora and captain Sidney Crosby also scored, and Malkin added an assist for the second-seeded Penguins, who improved to 6-0 at home this postseason.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves for the Penguins, who host game two of the series today.

Mike Richards netted both goals and R.J. Umberger collected two assists for the sixth-seeded Flyers, who have dropped the opening game in each of their three playoff series.

The Flyers were without All-Star Kimmo Timonen, who was expected to spend most of the conference finals opposite Malkin trying to limit his scoring chances.

But the Finnish defenseman was diagnosed with a blood clot in his left foot on Thursday and will miss the entire series, and likely the Stanley Cup Finals should the Flyers advance.

Russia’s Malkin dealt those hopes a blow as he notched his second two-goal performance of the postseason and fourth three-point effort.

With the game even at 2-2 and time winding down in the first period, Malkin received a cross-ice pass from defenseman Ryan Whitney at Philadelphia’s blue line.

He skated into the offensive zone and wristed a shot from the right faceoff circle that sailed just inside the left goalpost with 6.5 seconds left, giving Pittsburgh the lead for good. The goal proved to be the game-winner, Malkin’s third of the playoffs.

Penguins blue-liner Brooks Orpik was called for holding 3 1/2 minutes into the second session, giving the Flyers a chance to pull even. Instead, the Penguins doubled their advantage while shorthanded.

Hanging near the Flyers’ blue line, Malkin received a pass from defenseman Sergei Gonchar and skated in alone on Martin Biron. From between the hash marks, the 21-year-old beat the goaltender to the stick side with a slap shot at 4:50.

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