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Penguins

Sidney Crosby blocks out hostile Philly crowd, leads Penguins to Game 3 win

Jonathan Bombulie
| Sunday, April 15, 2018, 4:06 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — Nashville with its catfish and down-home taunts? Rookies.

Washington and its sea of red? Amateurs.

If a hockey team really wants to play in a hostile environment, it's got to come to Philadelphia. No one does hostile quite like the residents of Pennsylvania's largest city.

And no one thrives in a hostile environment quite like Sidney Crosby.

A crowd-silencing goal by Crosby and a couple of early five-star saves from goalie Matt Murray kept their team afloat during a tumultuous first period, allowing the Penguins to roar past the Flyers with a dominant second period that led to a 5-1 victory in Game 3 of a first-round series Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia.

The Penguins lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday in Philadelphia.

The road environment was at its most hostile in the first period.

The Philadelphia crowd, a profane wave of orange, growled its guttural displeasure with the Penguins and their captain.

The team they root for was in a similar mood. The Flyers used an aggressive forecheck to take an 11-4 shots advantage and push the Penguins onto their heels.

First, Murray made a pair of game-changing saves to keep the Flyers off the scoreboard.

Less than two minutes in, Nolan Patrick blew past Olli Maatta up the right wing, but Murray made the save with his glove. Less than a minute later, Murray made a pad stop on Travis Sanheim at the left post after a backdoor pass from Jori Lehtera.

“That's my job as a goalie,” Murray said. “Stop the puck and keep the puck out of the net.”

At the period's midpoint, with the Flyers still feeling frisky, Crosby scored a massive goal.

The Penguins forecheck forced Flyers winger Michael Raffl into a turnover in the defensive zone. The puck kicked to Patric Hornqvist in the slot, and he fed Crosby at the left post for a wraparound goal.

“It was a big goal,” center Derick Brassard said. “It kind of quieted the crowd a little bit.”

Crosby finished the game with a goal and three assists, giving him 171 career playoff points. That's one point off Mario Lemieux's franchise record.

The performance also gave Crosby 21 goals and 58 points in 39 career games in the building where the fans hate him the most.

Crosby said he's not sure why he's had so much success in Philadelphia. Coach Mike Sullivan didn't have the same problem.

“I just think it's an indication of how competitive he is,” Sullivan said. “I think he thrives in that environment. When the stakes are high, if we're in an away building, and they're important games, Sid tends to play his best, and he's done that certainly from my experience here, time and time again.

“You gotta give the Flyers a lot of credit. They had a really strong start. I thought Sid was a big reason that our team settled down. That first goal he got, for example, he has an ability to stay in the moment. He doesn't get rattled. He doesn't get fazed by any of the adversity or anything that a high-stakes environment might present to other players.”

Instead of enjoying the fruits of their exceptional first period, the Flyers were down, 1-0.

Their moment had passed. The Penguins largely dominated the rest of the game.

Brassard scored off a nifty power-play feed from Phil Kessel early in the second. Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin scored five seconds apart later in the period to make it 4-0.

A hostile crowd's jeers had been replaced by tears.

“It's a tough environment to come into,” Crosby said. “I think we all prepare knowing that. We played well today. I think it's just one of those things.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

The Penguins celebrate their 5-1 victory over the Flyers in Game 3 of their first-round series April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Getty Images
The Penguins celebrate their 5-1 victory over the Flyers in Game 3 of their first-round series April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Andrew MacDonald and Matt Read (24) of the Flyers defend against Conor Sheary of the Penguins during the first period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Getty Images
Andrew MacDonald and Matt Read (24) of the Flyers defend against Conor Sheary of the Penguins during the first period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal  during the first period in Game 3 of against the Flyers on Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal during the first period in Game 3 of against the Flyers on Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin walks out for warmups prior to playing against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference first-round series.
Getty Images
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin walks out for warmups prior to playing against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference first-round series.
Matt Murray of the Penguins pauses during a first-period TV timeout against the Flyers in Game 3 on April 15, 2018 in Philadelphia.
Getty Images
Matt Murray of the Penguins pauses during a first-period TV timeout against the Flyers in Game 3 on April 15, 2018 in Philadelphia.
Sidney Crosby of the Penguins and Shayne Gostisbehere of the Flyers battle for the puck during the first period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Getty Images
Sidney Crosby of the Penguins and Shayne Gostisbehere of the Flyers battle for the puck during the first period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
The Penguins' Matt Murray makes a third-period save on Jakub Voracek of the Flyers in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
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The Penguins' Matt Murray makes a third-period save on Jakub Voracek of the Flyers in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Sidney Crosby of the Penguins takes a third-period shot against the Flyers in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
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Sidney Crosby of the Penguins takes a third-period shot against the Flyers in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins moves the puck ahead of Sean Couturier of the Flyers during the third period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
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Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins moves the puck ahead of Sean Couturier of the Flyers during the third period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Claude Giroux of the Flyers gets a high stick from Olli Maatta of the Penguins during the second period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
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Claude Giroux of the Flyers gets a high stick from Olli Maatta of the Penguins during the second period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Matt Murray of the Penguins keeps his eyes on the play during the first period against the Flyers in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Getty Images
Matt Murray of the Penguins keeps his eyes on the play during the first period against the Flyers in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Linesman Derek Nansen gets between Kris Letang of the Penguins and Scott Laughton of the Flyers during the second period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
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Linesman Derek Nansen gets between Kris Letang of the Penguins and Scott Laughton of the Flyers during the second period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Chad Ruhwedel of the Penguins is hit by Wayne Simmonds of the Flyers during the third period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
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Chad Ruhwedel of the Penguins is hit by Wayne Simmonds of the Flyers during the third period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
Andrew MacDonald of the Flyers is checked by Derick Brassard of the Penguins during the third period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
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Andrew MacDonald of the Flyers is checked by Derick Brassard of the Penguins during the third period in Game 3 on April 15, 2018, in Philadelphia.
The Penguins' Justin Schultz  celebrates his power-play goal in the third period.
Getty Images
The Penguins' Justin Schultz celebrates his power-play goal in the third period.
Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins celebrates his power-play goal in the second period against the Flyers in Game 3 on April 15, 2018 in Philadelphia.
Getty Images
Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins celebrates his power-play goal in the second period against the Flyers in Game 3 on April 15, 2018 in Philadelphia.
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