PHILADELPHIA (AP)—What a difference a year makes for the Philadelphia Flyers, especially now that their special teams are clicking.
“It looked like we got all the breaks we haven’t gotten in previous games,” said Timonen, who scored his first goal with the Flyers. “If you can do a good job on special teams every night, you’re pretty close to winning the game.”
“We came out pretty hard,” Briere said. “Guys were hitting. We took advantage of our power-play chances. We were definitely ready to play this game.”
Hartnell’s goal, also his first with the Flyers, was scored into an empty net. Mike Richards added three assists.
The Flyers, beaten all eight times they faced Pittsburgh last season, defeated the Penguins 3-1 in their first meeting this season in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
“Last year definitely was not a good year against Pittsburgh for us,” Richards said. “We did not have a win. Those were heated games, too. Even though we lost them, they were heated.
“This year, I think our division is probably one of the most heated in the league right now with New York (Rangers) and now Pittsburgh becoming one of our biggest rivals.”
Philadelphia’s Martin Biron stopped 29 shots. He was yanked after allowing four goals on 15 shots in less than 23 minutes of a 4-1 loss at New Jersey on Thursday. Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves for Pittsburgh.
Timonen was given credit for his first goal with the Flyers after his shot bounced off the right post at 1:31. Pittsburgh’s Mark Eaton then inadvertently banked his clearing attempt off Fleury into his own net.
Knuble made it 2-0 at 7:51 with a rebound after Timonen hit him with a shot that bounced out to Briere, who sent the puck back to the net with Knuble swatting it in.
Lupul scored at 5:40 of the second period by deflecting in Richard’s one-timer from the point.
Malkin cut Pittsburgh’s deficit to 3-1 with a shot from the right circle after taking a cross-ice pass from Ryan Whitney. Malkin extended his point streak to 10 games.
Whitney isn’t surprised that the Flyers have turned their game around against Pittsburgh.
“They’ve added a lot of character guys, some great players,” Whitney said. “It’s not like they’re going to forget that quick.”
Sidney Crosby, who had an assist on the goal to extend his career-best, point streak to 16 games, said the Penguins have to pick up their play.
“We’ve got to step up in some way,” Crosby said. “We couldn’t kill our penalties and it hurt us. We can’t get down two and three goals. It makes it easier for a team to play against you.”
Gonchar scored through a screen from just inside the blue line with 0.2 seconds left in the second period to get the Penguins closer, but Briere picked up a loose puck and scored at 7:54 of the third to give the Flyers breathing room.
“It’s heartbreaking when you give up goals in the last minute,” Biron said. “The good thing is we were in control most of the game.”
Fleury played in his 150th NHL game. The Flyers played the first of four straight home games following an eight-game road trip. Briere hit the left post on a power-play attempt midway through the first period. Flyers RW Stefan Ruzicka was given a game misconduct after a second-period fight with D Darryl Sydor.