Giroux, Couturier score in shootout as Flyers edge Pens

NHL Hockey

PITTSBURGH (AP)Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier scored in the shootout and the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Thursday.

Giroux and Couturier were the lone shooters for Philadelphia. Jake Guentzel scored for Pittsburgh, but Carter Hart stopped Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang to seal the win.

”It’s a huge two points,” Hart said. ”We’re in crunch time, so every game right now from here on in is huge.”

Jakub Voracek scored his eighth of the season in regulation for the Flyers, who snapped a two-game skid. The Flyers won for just the ninth time in their past 25 games. Hart stopped 31 shots for his first win in eight starts. He allowed five goals on 27 shots the previous time he faced Pittsburgh.

”No doubt this was a real solid goaltending performance,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. ”In overtime, we were not the better team, but Carter made some big saves. Carter kept us in it and gave us a chance.”

Crosby scored his 17th of the season for Pittsburgh, which had its three-game win streak end. Tristan Jarry made 26 saves for the Penguins.

Voracek tied the game 1-1 at 1:24 of the third period when he put a wrist shot between Jarry’s pads from between the circles.

Crosby opened the scoring at 5:04 of the second period. During the play, Crosby gave his stick to defenseman Brian Dumoulin in the defensive zone, grabbed a bench stick from an equipment manager off the rush and converted a rebound that was misplayed in front by Hart.

Dumoulin’s secondary assist extended his career-best scoring streak to six games, longest active currently by an NHL defenseman. Jon Taglianetti was the equipment manager who passed Crosby his stick from the bench on the goal. Taglianetti’s father, Peter, won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 1991 and ’92.

”It was a heads-up play by (Taglianetti) to get Sid’s particular stick to him, and he was hanging over our players to get it out there, so Sid could grab it in stride,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. ”When Sid scored the goal, the players went crazy and rallied around (Taglianetti). Those types of moments are great.”

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Jeff Carter made his Penguins’ debut against the team that drafted him No. 11 overall in 2003.

The veteran forward, who spent his first six seasons in Philadelphia, centered Pittsburgh’s second line between Jason Zucker and Jared McCann. Carter nearly scored on a wraparound try in the first period and a power move to the net in the second.

”I thought Jeff had a good game,” Sullivan said. ”His skating ability stands out, he has good hands and he can still shoot the puck. You can see how he’ll help us become a better hockey team.”

Pittsburgh acquired the two-time Stanley Cup champion from Los Angeles early Monday morning for a conditional third-round selection in the 2022 draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2023. It was the lone move Pittsburgh made at the trade deadline.

Carter has eight goals and 19 points in 41 games this season. Since his NHL debut in 2005-06, he ranks second in game-winning goals and tied for eighth in goals among all players.

”In the first period, I felt like I was standing still and thinking about the system,” Carter said. ”The second period, I just started to play hockey. It’s something to build on, for sure.”

Also on Thursday, Wade Allison made his NHL debut for the Flyers. Allison, the Flyers’ 2016 second-round pick, was on a line with Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom, all players who are 24 or younger. Patrick left the game in the third period after taking a puck to the head in the offensive zone.

Allison, who overcame multiple injuries to reach the NHL, including a torn ACL, nearly redirected a shot past Jarry from the top of the crease during a power play.

”It was a crazy day, but as soon as you go out there, and you get your first shift, it’s the same game, so I tried to keep my feet moving,” Allison said.

SID AND THE FLYERS

Crosby is the NHL’s active leader in scoring against Philadelphia and fourth all time against the Flyers with 46 goals and 111 points in 75 games. Crosby surpassed Mike Gartner for sole possession of the third-most goals against Philadelphia. He’s one goal from tying former Penguin Jaromir Jagr for second place against the Flyers.

Crosby has points in every game of the season series against the Flyers, and he has points in six of his past seven games overall.

PLAYING DEFENSE

Pittsburgh entered Thursday’s game with four or more goals scored in six consecutive games, the team’s longest streak since a seven-game run in December 2016. But the Penguins were limited against Philadelphia.

The past three games between the Flyers and Penguins have been decided by one goal. The Flyers have not lost three straight against Pittsburgh since a four-game skid during the 2017-18 season.

UP NEXT

Philadelphia: Plays a weekend home back-to-back set against Washington and the New York Islanders.

Pittsburgh: Will play two games at Buffalo this weekend before a five-game homestand.

More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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