Work in Sports
PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- For the Pittsburgh Penguins, it was quality, not quantity.
Outshot again by a lopsided margin, the Penguins got two goals apiece from Robert Lang and Jaromir Jagr and grabbed a commanding two games to none lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Ron Tugnutt made 44 saves and Martin Straka had three assists for the seventh-seeded Penguins, who are halfway to their second straight playoff upset.
A win in this series would be even more improbable than Pittsburgh's first-round triumph over the second-seeded Washington Capitals. The Penguins had lost 16 consecutive games at Philadelphia before a 2-0 win in Game One on Thursday.
Pittsburgh was outshot in the opener, 28-14, and the Flyers had a 45-25 advantage in this contest. But Tugnutt again stopped nearly everything thrown at him and the Penguins made the most of their chances.
"I feel great," Tugnutt said. "I just go out and have nothing to worry about. I throw the equipment on and go out and play. My mind is strictly on what we're doing here and I have nothing else to think about."
"It's getting frustrating," admitted Flyers left wing John LeClair. "We put up a lot of shots but not a lot of rebounds. They seem to find their guy in front of the net and maybe there's a bit of holding in there. But we have to make sure we fight through it. We have the guys that can do it. We have to find those rebounds."
Lang put Pittsburgh ahead for good with a power-play goal 16:57 into the first period and Jagr struck on the power play at 14:45 of the second. Lang made it 3-0 less than two minutes later as the Pens gave the sellout crowd at the First Union Center almost nothing to cheer about.
"The way Philadelphia started the game, it was scary," Jagr said. "I felt like I was in a different league. We didn't get a shot in the first 10 minutes. Tuggy played great again, and then we started to score."
The top-seeded Flyers finally scored their first goal of the series 4:34 into the third period as rookie Simon Gagne got his third postseason tally.
But Jagr's sixth of the playoffs capped the scoring with 9:01 remaining.
Pittsburgh has not allowed a power-play goal in 10 chances against a Philadelphia team that second in the NHL during the season and 9-for-28 in the first round of the playoffs. The Penguins can wrap up the series at home, hosting Game Three on Tuesday and Game Four two nights later.
"For the next game, we have to score the first goal. That's the key," Gagne said. "And we have to do more on the power play.
The power play could make the difference in this series, and we have no goals on it. We have to work on that."
After taking a host of undisciplined penalties in Game One, the Flyers were called for four minors in the first period. Daymond Langkow went off for roughing at 16:45 and Pittsburgh grabbed the lead 12 seconds later. Rob Brown had the puck along the goal line on the right side and made a perfect cross-crease pass to a cutting Lang, who redirected the puck past rookie goaltender Brian Boucher.
Philadelphia took only two penalties in the second period, but the second again proved costly. With defenseman Chris Therien in the penalty box for holding, Jagr got his second goal of the series. He took a pass from defenseman Jiri Slegr in the right faceoff circle and put a wrist shot between Boucher's pads.
"We have to stay away from penalties," Flyers left wing Craig Berube said. "We had it going early there and the penalties start coming and it takes all the momentum away."
Lang scored again less than two minutes later, carrying down the left side on a 2-on-1 before beating Boucher to the short side.
"It was a really good night for our line," Lang said. "Everybody has to contribute. Every line has a certain role. You have to try and do it every game and if you can, it's great."
Tugnutt was perfect through the first five periods of the series but finally was beaten by Gagne. After Tugnutt stopped shots by rookie Andy Delmore and Langkow, Gagne lifted a rebound over the prone goalie.
Jagr restored Pittsburgh's three-goal cushion with a one-timer from the edge of the right circle.
The final 5:09 featured a numerous skirmishes as the Flyers tried to send a message before the series shifted to the Mellon Bank Arena. Rick Tocchet, Luke Richardson and Craig Berube of Philadelphia all drew game misconducts.
"Us being up 4-1 is what started it," said Pittsburgh right wing Matthew Barnaby, who was in the middle of the action. "You expect that when you play here. They're passionate, they want to win and they wanted to try to change the momentum of the series. We were ready for it. We knew it was coming with the lineup they sent out."
"They said they were going to keep an eye on a particular player and call a penalty if he started something. He started something and nothing was called," Flyers coach Craig Ramsay said. "Rick Tocchet showed a lot of composure, the way we asked our players to. He refused to be baited. It should have been a penalty and it was not called. We fulfilled our part as long as we could."