PHILADELPHIA – Sidney Crosby got just the break the Pittsburgh Penguins needed to end their road woes.
Crosby scored his second goal of the game with Flyers goalie Martin Biron nowhere near the net, helping the Penguins beat Philadelphia 5-4 Saturday for their first road win in nearly six weeks.
“It was really a good break,” Crosby said. “You can’t really blame the goalie.”
Try selling that to the largest regular-season crowd in Flyers history (19,992).
Biron’s trouble started when he drifted out toward the hash marks of the right circle to stop Pascal Dupuis’ breakaway. He sprawled out on all fours and failed to secure the puck, then tried to dump it behind him toward a teammate.
Dupuis snagged the puck and sent it toward the empty net where Crosby was there for the gift goal, his 23rd, with 2:15 left in the game.
Biron, who had 22 saves, said his reaction was simply to get rid of the puck.
“I made a bad play and it ends up in the net,” he said. “Looking back, you say, ‘Just get it to the corner. Get it to the boards. Even let it stay alive and let the guys recover,’ but I just kind of got anxious and got rid of it.
“It ends up losing the game.”
The Penguins will gladly take it. They had dropped all five road games since their last win away from Pittsburgh, on Jan. 13, also against the Flyers.
Crosby had two assists and the first of three Pittsburgh goals in the second period that made it 3-1. Then he delivered the big blow with one of his easiest goals of the season.
“When I saw (Biron) get rid of it, I went to the net, thinking Dupes was going to get to it first,” Crosby said. “So I knew he was going to throw it right at the net, but Biron was out far. I just tried to redirect it.”
The Penguins took a needed step toward solving their road slump as they chase the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh plays seven of its next nine on the road and won for the second time in its last 11 road games.
“I think we’re trying to set the pace a little bit more,” Crosby said.
The Flyers rallied to tie the game twice in the third period, but couldn’t overcome Biron’s gaffe.
Mike Richards scored a short-handed goal for the third straight game and Braydon Coburn’s third-period goal tied it at 3. Mike Knuble’s 24th goal with 5:35 left evened it at 4.
Richards became the first player to score short-handed goals in three straight games since Colorado’s Joe Sakic in 1998, according to the Flyers.
“He does that time and time again, and with the game on the line,” Flyers coach John Stevens said.
The Penguins squandered a two-goal lead in the third period for the second straight game and rebounded to win both of them.
Evgeni Malkin scored his 27th goal and Ruslan Fedotenko also scored two goals for the Penguins, who improved to 2-1 under new coach Dan Bylsma.
“I think it says a lot about our group right now,” said Bylsma, who replaced Michel Therrien last Sunday. “It’s a tough go and a difficult situation. They’ve been attentive and hardworking, and tonight they were committed to doing it for 60 minutes.”
Crosby, Malkin and Fedotenko scored in the second to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all nine shots in the period and had settled down after allowing Joffrey Lupul’s first-period goal.
Richards, though, helped chip away at the two-goal deficit by doing what few others in the league can do as well as he can: score short-handed goals.
Richards picked off a pass at the point and took off on the breakaway to beat Fleury and score his NHL-high seventh short-handed goal. The Flyers captain scored on a 5-on-3 disadvantage against the New York Rangers and scored against Buffalo with the Flyers a man down.
“He anticipates as well as anyone in the game,” Stevens said.
Fedotenko, who had the assist on the winning goal against Montreal, put the Penguins ahead 4-3 midway through the third, taking a red line pass from Crosby before beating Biron from the slot.
Knuble tied it again with his 21st of the season off a nice touch pass from Richards.
Notes: Philadelphia’s previous attendance mark was 19,957 against New Jersey last season. … The Flyers still have not allowed a short-handed goal. The Flyers have never gone an entire season without allowing a short-handed goal. … Flyers C Danny Briere (groin) hopes to return next week. … Richards has 200 career points. … Crosby recorded his 250th career assist.