PHILADELPHIA - The worst team in the NHL found a way to beat the top team in the Atlantic Division.
Dick Tarnstrom and Tom Kostopoulos scored power-play goals, and the Pittsburgh Penguins held off Philadelphia 2-1 Monday night, extending the Flyers’ winless streak to five games.
Jean-Sebastien Aubin made 33 saves for the Penguins, who were coming off an 8-0 loss against Montreal on Saturday. Pittsburgh dropped four of its previous five.
“We’ve been struggling big time with both power plays and penalty killing,” Tarnstrom said. “On my goal, I just wrested it toward the net and had a lot of traffic in front of me.”
Aubin preserved the win with a brilliant save of Mark Recchi’s backhander with 1:35 left in the third period. He also came up big when the Flyers had a two-man advantage that lasted for 1:46 in the second period.
“I was just trying to do my job and keep us in the game,” Aubin said. “We played tight the whole game. Our guys cut away a lot of passes and took away a lot of rebounds. I think it was a great team effort.”
Mike Comrie scored the only goal for the Flyers, who had gone 127 minutes, 31 seconds without scoring. The Flyers were beaten by Edmonton 3-0 at home on Saturday.
“You’re just not going to win hockey games by scoring one goal,” Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We are going to need production from our people. We’re really in a tough state. We have a lot of people right now who are really struggling offensively.”
Philadelphia has been outscored 16-6 during its winless streak (0-4-1), but still clings to first place in the Atlantic by three points over New Jersey.
“We have pucks hitting the post, hitting the net,” forward Jeremy Roenick said. “We have to stay together as a team. You hear the fans booing. Everybody is talking about how bad we are. The guys in here have to do it, nobody else.”
Tarnstrom put the Penguins ahead 1-0 at 16:12 of the first period, snapping off a shot from the left circle that sailed through a screen past goaltender Robert Esche.
Kostopoulos made it 2-0 at 12:32 of the second. Esche was unable to control a drive by Rico Fata, and Kostopoulos hammered the puck into an open net.
“I just got a good pass from the defenseman (Martin Strbak) and fed it over to Rico,” Kostopoulos said. “With his speed, he put it on net and I was just lucky enough to get it in.”
Comrie brought the Flyers within 2-1 at 4:35 of the third period, deflecting a shot from the left point by Chris Therien low to Aubin’s stick side.
Pittsburgh was 1-20-1 in its previous 22 games at Philadelphia the past 10 seasons, and hadn’t won there since Nov. 24, 2000. Before then, the Flyers were unbeaten against the Penguins in eight games overall (7-0-1).
Notes: Pittsburgh scored two power-play goals, the same amount the Penguins had in their previous 51 chances. ... Tarnstrom leads Pittsburgh in scoring with 22 points. ... The Flyers, who started the season with 11 straight home wins, are 1-6 in Philadelphia since. ... Philadelphia D Joni Pitkanen returned after missing two games due to a head injury sustained at Buffalo last Wednesday. ... Roenick hit the post at the end of the two-man advantage, and Michal Handzus did the same with a deflected shot in the third.
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