Work in Sports
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Andy Delmore wasn't playing professional hockey the last time the Philadelphia Flyers recorded an overtime victory in the playoffs.
Delmore scored his second goal of the game 11:01 into the extra period as the Flyers got back in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
An undrafted free agent, Delmore split the season between the NHL and the American Hockey League, getting only two goals in 27 games with the Flyers. But the 23-year-old rookie defenseman took a pass from Keith Jones as he reached the top of the slot, then wristed the puck over goaltender Ron Tugnutt's glove before he was mobbed by jubilant teammates.
"The game-winner was one of the happiest moments of my life," said Delmore, who does not appear in the Flyers regular-season media guide. "I was just trying to get up ice. Jones gave me a shovel pass and I was lucky to get it from my backhand to my forehand."
Jody Hull started the play by bringing the puck into the Penguins' zone before dropping it to Jones, who passed to Delmore.
"(Jones) kind of got a head of steam and he made a good pass to get the puck to (Delmore)," Tugnutt said. "He went to the top shelf. It kind of ricocheted off my arm. I got a part of it, it just wasn't enough."
Philadelphia snapped an eight-game playoff overtime losing streak that dated to Game Three of the 1995 Eastern Conference finals against New Jersey, three months before he began playing junior hockey. It was the longest OT skid in postseason history.
"I don't know if all the guys were aware of it," defenseman Chris Therien said. "We were bound to get something going in overtime. We were due."
The Flyers still trail the best-of-seven series, two games to one, but a loss would have placed them in the unenviable position of having to win four straight to avoid elimination.
Game Four is Thursday in Pittsburgh.
"It's an exciting win for us, but Pittsburgh's still in the driver's seat," Jones said. "We had to win."
Philadelphia owned overtime, getting 11 of the 12 shots. It had a 22-5 edge after the second period and 44-18 overall. That boosted the Flyers' advantage in the series to 117-57.
"I think it's more what we're doing than what they do," said Flyers left wing John LeClair. "We had more than 40 shots again. We were a little more hanging tough than we had been."
Baffled by Ron Tugnutt and limited to one goal in losing the first two games at home, Philadelphia stormed to a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Delmore started the scoring at 14:11. After keeping the puck in at the blue line, he moved to the top of the slot and put a wrist shot inside the left post. Tugnutt complained he was interfered with by Flyers winger Valeri Zelepukin, but the goal stood as the first of Delmore's playoff career.
Jones made it 2-0 just over two minutes later, snapping a shot from the right faceoff dot off the right goalpost and into the net for his second postseason goal.
"Tugnutt's played great. He played great again tonight," Flyers coach Craig Ramsay said. "He made a lot of good saves. He's a quality goaltender, we just feel we have to keep shooting the puck. If we shoot enough, surely some will go in."
Outshot 15-6 in the opening period, Pittsburgh rallied in the second. Jaromir Jagr put the Penguins on the board at the 40-second mark. His centering pass bounced high off defenseman Eric Desjardins and goalie Brian Boucher before dropping in front of the right post, where Jagr flipped it in for his fourth goal of the series.
Jagr also figured in the tying goal at 10:23, drawing two defenders as he weaved his way high in the Philadelphia zone. He got the puck to defenseman Bob Boughner, who made a perfect diagonal pass from the right circle to set up Martin Straka's redirection.
It took LeClair a little longer than his teammates to solve Tugnutt. Playing alongside new center Daymond Langkow, he chipped the puck under Tugnutt at 7:27 of the third period for his first goal of the series.
Earlier, LeClair sent Jiri Slegr to the locker room with an apparent right knee injury after taking down the Penguins defenseman in front of the Pittsburgh net. In the third period, Pens defenseman Janne Laukkanen was shaken up by LeClair's hard check.
Laukkanen did not miss a shift, while Slegr returned at the start of overtime.
Jagr struck again at 14:28, using a spectacular move to force overtime. Carrying in from the right point, he turned Desjardins around at the top of the slot before flipping a wrister from the edge of the right circle inside the left post.
"Jagr really reached out to bail us out tonight," Penguins coach Herb Brooks said. "We really didn't have a lot of things going.
When we get outshot, they always try to look at scoring chances and look at the way it affects things. We didn't play desperate enough, Philadelphia did."