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Flyers rally from early deficit to stun Penguins 4-3

Pittsburgh Penguins' Mark Friedman, left, celebrates with Jake Guentzel after his first NHL goal, during the first period of the team's hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Claude Giroux scored his second goal of the night on a tap-in with 2:08 remaining and the Philadelphia Flyers recovered from an early Pittsburgh deluge to slip by the Penguins 4-3 on Thursday night.

The Flyers trailed by three following a 71-second first-period onslaught by Pittsburgh but kept chipping away and finally moving in front on Giroux’s easy flip into an open net late in the third.

Giroux’s first goal pulled the Flyers within one in the second period, like his winner a simple shot from in front. Scott Laughton drew Philadelphia even 13:37 into the third. Sean Couturier started the Flyer comeback with his sixth of the season late in the first period.

The teams will finish the rare three-game set in Pittsburgh on Saturday night. The Penguins won the opener 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Elliott overcame a rough start to stop 26 shots as Philadelphia won its first game after falling behind 3-0 since earning a shootout victory over Buffalo on Oct. 25, 2016. The Flyers moved back into fourth place by themselves in the crowded East Division by handing the Penguins just their second loss in 10 games at PPG Paints Arena this season.

Kris Letang, Mark Friedman and Jared McCann all scored during Pittsburgh’s early binge. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby keyed the rush and collected the primary assist on Friedman’s goal and played 21:08 in his return following a one-game stay on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

Letang started with the early onslaught by beating Brian Elliott from the point 2:46 into the first period. Friedman — a defenseman claimed off waivers by the Penguins from Philadelphia last week — picked up the first goal of his NHL career when he flipped it by Elliott 34 seconds later. McCann added his fourth of the season with a pretty redirect from in front 37 seconds after Friedman’s score.

The flurry marked the shortest amount of time a team has scored three goals this season. The Canadiens scored three times in 94 seconds against Vancouver on Jan. 21.

Tristan Jarry finished with 31 saves for the Penguins but wasn’t helped by shaky play in front of him after being staked to a 3-0 advantage.

The Penguins — playing in front of fans at PPG Paints Arena for the second time after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf eased attendance restrictions — have relied on resilience to stay in the thick of things in the East. Most of their wins have come after spotting their opponent an early advantage.

Playing with a massive lead for once, they fell apart. Philadelphia dominated play for long stretches while it chiseled away at the deficit. The Flyers had little trouble getting traffic in front of Jarry and all that open space helped them put together a stirring rally.

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