PHILADELPHIA — Pushed to the brink of a sweep, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal pushed back with a vengeance, helping the Penguins score nine goals through the first two periods en route to a 10-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday in their opening-round playoff series.

Staal scored a hat trick, Malkin netted his first two goals of the series and Crosby added one as the Penguins cut the series deficit to 3-1. The Penguins haven’t been swept in a series since 1979 vs. Boston.

Game 5 is Friday in Pittsburgh, where the Flyers are 7-1 this season.

Marc-Andre Fleury settled down after a shaky first period and had his best game of the series, easily outplaying counterpart Ilya Bryzgalov.

The Flyers led 3-2 when the Penguins reeled off eight straight goals to win the most lopsided game of the series.

The Penguins were the first team to score at least 10 goals in a playoff game since the Los Angeles Kings scored 12 against the Calgary Flames on April 10, 1990, according to STATS LLC.

Claude Giroux, Kimmo Timonen and Jakub Voracek scored for the Flyers, who blew their chance at a stunning sweep of the 108-point Penguins. Shaky all series, Bryzgalov was at his worst in Game 4. He was yanked for Sergei Bobrovsky after allowing his fifth goal of the game.

However, chances of a goalie controversy in Philadelphia are minimal. After earning huge cheers for stopping his first shot, Bobrovsky was worse than Bryzgalov, allowing four goals the rest of the second period.

Fleury made it stand the rest of the way and started to make up for allowing 17 goals through three games.

Long despised in Philadelphia, Crosby scored his second goal of the series on a deflection that tied the scored at 3-all in the first. Staal followed with a goal from the slot for a 4-3 lead and the Penguins never looked back.

The Penguins were short-handed in their last-gasp effort to stave off elimination. Forward Arron Asham served the first game of a four-game suspension; and James Neal and Craig Adams served a one-game ban for their actions in Game 3. Defenseman Paul Martin also sat out with an undisclosed injury.

The crowd was fired up. But so were the Penguins.

Kris Letang shot high over Bryzgalov’s right shoulder in the opening minutes of the second for his first goal of the series and a 5-3 lead. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette then yanked his $51 million goalie.

The goals kept coming at a clip more appropriate for an All-Star game. Staal scored his second, Steve Sullivan and Pascal Dupuis each scored, and Staal slid an easy one through Bobrovsky’s legs for the hat trick and a six-goal lead.

The Penguins scored four power-play goals.

By the time Malkin scored to make it 10-3 in the third, most of the fans had left and the crazed atmosphere from the opening faceoff was a distant memory.

Source : Penguins thump Flyers, avoid sweep – STLtoday.com

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