Flyers top Penguins, trail series 2-1

The Associated PressApril 20, 2009 

The Philadelphia Flyers opened to a throwback video from their Stanley Cup glory days, then displayed a quick fuse that showed flashes of the old Broad Street Bullies spirit and revved up the crowd.

The bond with the past and the rowdy home fans gave a nice emotional lift, but it was Jeff Carter and Mike Richards who jolted the offense early and really got Philadelphia back in its playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Carter and Richards scored their first goals of the series early for a sorely needed fast start on home ice. Claude Giroux and Simon Gagne put the Flyers ahead for good in a 6-3 victory over the Penguins on Sunday.

Pittsburgh leads the opening-round series 2-1, and Game 4 is Tuesday night in Philadelphia.

"It was a huge game. We didn't want to go down 3-0 because that's a tough task," Flyers center Danny Briere said. "We have to enjoy it for a few minutes here."

Unlike last season's Eastern Conference finals when the Flyers flopped at home against the Penguins in Game 3, this year's team came out charged from the opening faceoff.

Carter, the NHL's leading goal scorer, scored his first of the postseason 3 minutes into the game, and Richards made it two goals on two shots for the Flyers 2:15 later.

The Flyers put the pressure on early for the first time and were determined not to get outmuscled against the Penguins. The Flyers, the most penalized team in the NHL, and the Penguins never stopped scrapping and put on quite a show for the energized crowd.

"You look at Game 1, and I thought we sat back too much and let them dictate the pace," Briere said.

"We can't sit back and let them dictate because guys like [Sidney] Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin are going to hurt you."

Malkin scored two goals for the Penguins, who are still waiting for Crosby to catch fire. Crosby had two assists in Game 3, but has only one goal in three games.

The 19,975 fans, many sporting orange T-shirts, roared when Lauren Hart, the daughter of longtime former Flyers broadcaster Gene Hart, sang "God Bless America," alternating lyrics with the late Kate Smith, who was appearing on a video image.

Smith's rendition of the song has been a rallying anthem for the Flyers since the mid-1970s, and the team uses the song sparingly.

The Flyers didn't waste the energy from the amped-up crowd.

Carter backhanded the puck into an empty net, and Richards caught a break when his shot from the goal line appeared to knock off a Pittsburgh stick and shoot in for a power-play goal.



CANUCKS 3, BLUES 2: Roberto Luongo carried Vancouver for two games. Specialty units helped them take a 3-0 series lead against host St. Louis.

The Canucks scored three power-play goals, including Steve Bernier's go-ahead goal in the opening minute of the third period, while again stifling their opponents' chances with the man advantage.

Vancouver, the third seed in the Western Conference, silenced a standing-room crowd of 19,500 for the Blues' first home playoff game in five seasons.

The Canucks can finish off the sixth-seeded Blues in Game 4 on Tuesday night in St. Louis.

Andy McDonald, frequently frustrated by Luongo the first two games, finally broke through to tie it at 2 in the second period for the Blues, and added an assist. But St. Louis was shut out on five power plays, especially squandering early chances to seize control, and is 1-for-16 in the series.

Mattias Ohlund and Daniel Sedin also scored power-play goals for the Canucks, who were strong the last two periods after mustering five shots and trailing 1-0 after the first. And Luongo, who allowed one goal on 56 shots the first two games, made 24 saves and was good enough even if he wasn't the star that prompted a fans' "LuonGO Home" sign.


BLACKHAWKS 3, FLAMES 2: Jonathan Toews scored two of host Chicago's three second-period goals as the Blackhawks rallied past Calgary and took a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Toews' second goal of the period came on a rebound with 24 seconds remaining, and Chicago erased a 2-0 deficit to continue its mastery of the Flames. Counting a 4-0 sweep in the regular season, the Blackhawks have won six straight against Calgary.

Games 3 and 4 will be played at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary today and Wednesday.

Jarome Iginla and Adrian Aucoin gave the Flames a 2-0 lead in the opening period, momentarily quieting another raucous crowd at the United Center.

But Chicago responded with a power-play goal from Toews early in the second and a tying goal from Patrick Sharp before taking the lead.

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