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No mistake: Flyers dismantle Penguins

PITTSBURGH - A month ago, Flyers goalie Marty Biron came 30 feet out of the net in the game's waning minutes, mishandled the puck and gift-wrapped the winning goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby.

PITTSBURGH - A month ago, Flyers goalie Marty Biron came 30 feet out of the net in the game's waning minutes, mishandled the puck and gift-wrapped the winning goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby.

Yesterday, he made amends.

Biron made 27 saves and the Flyers' power play produced two goals in a methodical, 3-1 win over the Penguins at Mellon Arena.

"Marty Biron stood tall," Flyers coach John Stevens said after one of his team's most impressive wins of the season. "I think his play has been outstanding."

The victory put the fourth-seeded Flyers two points ahead of the Penguins in the Eastern Conference, with Philadelphia having three games in hand. The No. 4 seed gets home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Flyers did a solid job of backchecking, played a disciplined game - they took three fewer penalties than the Penguins - and allowed just seven shots in the final period.

"It's a tough place to play, and it was a big push by everyone," said winger Scott Hartnell, who contributed a goal and an assist. "Biron played a heck of a game, and that's what we need from him every night.

"We got a little separation [from Pittsburgh] and we definitely want that fourth spot."

It was a statement win of sorts, because the Flyers and Penguins could meet in the first round of the playoffs. The Flyers had won only one of five games against Pittsburgh this season - and were beaten in five games by the Pens in last year's conference final - so they needed a confidence-builder for the postseason.

"We're hoping we can take some steps from where we were last year," Stevens said. "You have a rivalry coming out of the playoff situation we had last year, so the games mean a lot. There are a lot of feelings there left from the last couple of years."

Entering the game, the Flyers' power play was just 4 for 56 (7.1 percent) in their last 12 contests against current playoff qualifiers. But they were 2 for 7 yesterday - with goals by Simon Gagne and Hartnell - as they handed the Penguins just their second loss (12-2-3) since Dan Bylsma was named the coach and ended their 12-game point streak (10-0-2).

"Our power play won us the game, and it's been a while since it has done that," Hartnell said.

Gagne, after intercepting a weak clearing attempt by defenseman Rob Scuderi, scored his 29th goal from the left circle with 14 minutes, 41 seconds left in the opening period.

Biron said the goal was pivotal because it "silenced the crowd a little bit."

The Flyers' power play, rejuvenated with Danny Briere's return to health, made it 2-0 as Hartnell scored when a puck inadvertently deflected off his right skate with 17:06 to go in the second period.

Briere broke down the right wing and fed Jeff Carter in the slot. Carter's shot went off Hartnell's skate and into the net - the video review showed he did not use a kicking motion - to put the Flyers ahead by two goals.

The Flyers have four power-play goals in their last two games.

"It's obviously a weapon that we have to utilize coming down the stretch here," Mike Richards said. "It's nice to see us come on top in the special-team battle today."

Pittsburgh got to within 2-1 when Kris Letang converted a Crosby pass into a power-play goal midway through the final period. Before the goal, the Flyers had killed off 15 straight penalties over three games.

The Penguins had a few other good chances later in the period. Their best came when Biron made a kick save as Jordan Staal one-timed a shot from the slot with 2:40 left.

"Even when we had breakdowns, Marty made a couple big saves," Richards said.

Biron did not resemble the goalie who had allowed nearly four goals per game in four previous games against the Penguins this season.

The Flyers locked up the win on Darroll Powe's empty-net goal with 28 seconds left.

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