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Sidney Crosby scores hat trick to lead surging Penguins over slumping Flyers

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Sidney Crosby scores hat trick to lead surging Penguins over slumping Flyers

The Canadian Press
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Evgeni Malkin, Mark Recchi and Dominic Moore also scored goals for Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury was simply sensational in goal, recording 31 saves to help the Penguins extend their longest winning streak in more than two years. It's their first four-game winning streak since March 6-11, 2004.

After an emotional shootout win over Atlanta on Thursday, the Flyers reverted to the same woeful ways that got Ken Hitchcock fired this week. John Stevens lost for the first time as an NHL coach and Philadelphia dropped to an Atlantic Division-worst 2-7-1.

Mike Knuble and Stefan Ruzicka scored for the Flyers.

Flyers chairman Ed Snider said he knew he had to fire Hitchcock after a 9-1 loss at Buffalo. The Flyers saved this blowout for the grumpy home crowd.

Of course, Pittsburgh's new generation of stars had plenty do with the lopsided score.

Crosby added another first to his growing list of achievements, scoring once in the first and twice in the second for his first three-goal night in 90 career games.

His first goal was the sweetest and tied it at 1. Streaking down the right side, he made a sharp cross-ice pass to Ryan Whitney, who quickly fed the puck back to Crosby and he knocked it past Antero Niittymaki.

Crosby made it a rout in the second, putting in a rebound only 18 seconds after Talbot scored his second goal to make it 5-1.

Crosby's second goal also knocked Niittymaki out of the game, after stopping only five of nine shots. The Penguins scored on their first two shots of the game.

Robert Esche, who was in the net for every goal in that 9-1 loss to the Sabres, didn't fare much better. Crosby swiped the puck away from Derian Hatcher and scored his sixth goal of the season.

Crosby gives Philly another athlete to boo. The wunderkid was loudly jeered each time his name was announced.

He heard a lot of boos.

Malkin, who missed the Penguins' first four games with a dislocated left shoulder, scored in his fifth straight game when the puck banged off Esche's pads and trickled through his legs for a power-play goal and a 6-1 lead.

That early-game Flyers lead was long forgotten by then.

The Penguins took the lead for good midway through the first when bumbling Flyers teammates Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagne collided on the blue line, jarring the puck loose. Talbot grabbed the loose puck, whizzed through the neutral zone and knocked it past Niittymaki for an uncontested short-handed goal and a 2-1 lead.

Talbot's second goal early in the second period was nearly as easy, backing down defenceman Denis Gauthier and scoring to make it 3-1.

Recchi and Moore both scored in the third.

Notes: At least the Flyers were able to take their frustration out on the Penguins with their fists instead of their sticks. The game had several brief stoppages for fighting, including Flyers LW Ben Eager getting a 10 minute game-misconduct penalty. ... Talbot was recalled earlier this week. ... Fleury started for the ninth straight game.

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Sidney Crosby scores hat trick to lead surging Penguins over slumping Flyers