PHILADELPHIA – Sidney Crosby and the Penguins can finish off the Flyers back on home ice.

A sliding Crosby scored a goal that ricocheted off his skate, his midsection and into the back of the net to spark Pittsburgh to a 3-1 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

Marc-Andre Fleury was sensational with 45 saves and the Penguins grabbed a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

Tyler Kennedy and Maxime Talbot also scored for the Penguins, who can eliminate the Flyers in five games just like they did in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. Game 5 is Thursday in Pittsburgh.

Crosby had one goal in the first three games and the Flyers defense was doing a solid job of keeping the Penguins captain in check until early in the second.

He was right where he needed to be on a smart and sensational set-up.

Chris Kunitz controlled the puck in the circle when Flyers defenseman Kimmmo Timonen slid on his belly in front of the winger to try and block a shot. Kunitz simply flicked the puck up toward the net over a sprawled Timonen and Crosby came sliding in from the right side to knock in the goal.

The puck appeared to knock off the inside of his stick, then bounced off his body and into the net with Flyers forward Simon Gagne trailing right him.

The red light went on and the goal was announced, but the play was reviewed to make sure the goal wasn’t scored off Crosby’s glove.

Red Wings 4, Blue Jackets 1

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Henrik Zetterberg scored two goals and the Detroit Red Wings dominated from start to finish to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 and grab a 3-0 lead in their first-round series.

The first NHL playoff game at Nationwide Arena – in the Blue Jackets’ 659th game – was a mammoth letdown for a franchise-record crowd of 19,219.

Dan Cleary had a goal and two assists, Tomas Holmstrom scored 1:07 in and Johan Franzen added two assists.

The Red Wings can advance to the conference semifinals with a win Thursday night. Chris Osgood’s shutout streak of 144 minutes, 27 seconds ended with 3:53 left when R.J. Umberger scored on a backhander off a rebound of Rick Nash’s drive.

Hurricanes 4, Devils 3

RALEIGH, N.C.- Jussi Jokinen deflected in Dennis Seidenberg’s slap shot with 0.2 seconds remaining and the Carolina Hurricanes evened their series with New Jersey at two games apiece by beating the Devils 4-3.

Eric Staal, Ryan Bayda and Chad LaRose also scored for the Hurricanes, who blew a 3-0 lead but regrouped just in time to avoid a third straight overtime game.

Jokinen started the dramatic sequence when he tried to stuff a backhander past Martin Brodeur with about 7 seconds remaining.

The puck circled around to Joni Pitkanen near the blue line and he passed off to Seidenberg, who unloaded a hard blast from the point that clicked off the Finn’s left skate and past Brodeur’s low left side as time expired.


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