PITTSBURGH — Sean Couturier beat Matt Murray with 3 seconds remaining in overtime and the Philadelphia Flyers put together an improbable rally to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Sunday night.
James van Riemsdyk tied the score with 18 seconds left in regulation when Murray’s glove couldn’t quite reach van Riemsdyk’s wrist shot from the slot. The team traded a flurry of quality chances in the extra period before Couturier danced around Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby on the rush then sent a shot over Murray’s stick to give Philadelphia’s fading playoff hopes a needed jolt.
Carter Hart finished with 41 saves for his first victory since Feb. 17 as the Flyers put together a comeback that echoed their stunning rally in their stadium series meeting with the Penguins last month. Philadelphia scored twice in the final 3:04 of regulation before winning it in overtime.
Teddy Blueger, starting on the second line in place of injured Evgeni Malkin, scored Pittsburgh’s lone goal as the Penguins managed just one point out of a pair of home games during the weekend.
Murray, who was pulled after allowing four goals on 13 shots in a loss to St. Louis in Saturday, bounced back by stopping 36 shots but couldn’t get a handle on Couturier’s winner.
The Flyers appeared to take the lead 1:06 into the second period when Claude Giroux’s wrist shot from the right circle beat Murray. The on-ice officials, however, immediately waved it off, ruling Jakub Voracek interfered with Murray as he skated by the crease as the shot closed in. The Flyers challenged the call, and it was overturned by league officials in Toronto. Pittsburgh then challenged that ruling, claiming Philadelphia was offsides when it entered the zone. The call was then overturned a second time, leaving the game scoreless.
Goal or no goal, it was one of the few times the Flyers truly tested Murray. The Penguins tilted the ice heavily at times, swarming Hart with extended pressure. Finishing, however, was another matter. If Pittsburgh wasn’t shooting wide — as Nick Bjugstad did on a breakaway in the second period — then the 20-year-old Hart was making an indelible first impression in one of the NHL’s most testy rivalries. He made a gorgeous stop on Patric Hornqvist in the second, extending his left pad to stop a point-blank shot from Hornqvist in the slot.
Hart had no chance, though, on Blueger’s fourth career goal. Marcus Pettersson threw a shot in from the point and Phil Kessel pounced on the rebound. Hart made the save but the puck bounced right to Blueger’s stick. The rookie pounded it into the net to give the Penguins the lead 2:07 into the third.
Yet just as they did in their previous meeting, the Flyers rallied. As the clock ticked down, van Riemsdyk collected a feed from Travis Konecy in the slot and ripped one that gave the Flyers new life.
NOTES: Kessel playing in his 319th consecutive game with Pittsburgh, tying Craig Adams’ franchise record. Kessel has played in 765 straight games overall, the eighth-longest in NHL history. … Pittsburgh’s successful replay challenge marked the 8th time in 14 tries the Penguins have won a challenge this season. … The Flyers were 0 for 3 on the power play. The Penguins were 0 for 4. … Malkin was shaken up in a hit with St. Louis defenceman Robert Bortuzzo on Saturday. He stayed in the game and played more than 19 minutes but was unavailable just over 24 hours later.
Flyers: Host Montreal on Tuesday.
Penguins: Begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday in Carolina.
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Will Graves, The Associated Press