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Penguins ride on Guerin's OT strike

The Pittsburgh Penguins clinched a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, opening a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series for the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Bill Guerin, a deadline-day trade acquisition in March, emerged the unlikely hero, netting two goals including the match-winner on a two-man advantage at 18:29 into extra time.

"To go to (Philadelphia) with a 2-0 advantage is pretty big," Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury told reporters, after finishing with 38 saves including a game-saving stop on Jeff Carter in the extra session. "I was a little far from the puck on that, I was in a bad spot so I just tried to get my pads over there and it hit my toe."

Evgeni Malkin scored late for the Penguins with a power play goal, beating netminder Martin Biron with a tip-in that tied the game at 2-2 with just 3:37 remaining in regular time.

Biron finished with 46 saves but was helpless to prevent some critical mistakes by teammates late in the game.

As with their first 4-1 playoff loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, the Flyers leaked too many penalties, and conceded three in the extra session to put the Penguins in command.

"You play seven, eight months, 82 hard games, and everything leads up to these playoffs," said Flyers winger Scott Hartnell.

"You've got all this excitement, all this energy.

"If it's focused on the wrong person or comes at the wrong time, it can definitely swing a game. We need to channel our energy in the right way."

The playoff series first round has thus far revived memories of last year's Eastern Conference finals, where the Penguins set their stamp early to ride out 4-1 victors in the best-of-seven series.

Philadelphia tried in vain to turn the tide, conjuring an early score from Hartnell to lead 1-0 at 13:26 in the first period.

Guerin, however, hit back in the second period, tying the game 1-1 with a snap shot on assists from Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

The Flyers rallied with a goal from rookie Darroll Powe who put in a wrister at 2:09 into the third. The teams head for Philadelphia on Sunday for game three of the series.

In Newark, New Jersey, defenseman Tim Gleason scored his first NHL playoff goal on a slap shot at 2:40 of overtime as Carolina beat New Jersey 2-1 to level their playoff series at a game apiece.

Gleason's shot from the right point appeared to hit the skate of Devils defenseman Niclas Havelid and carom past defenseless goalie Martin Brodeur.

Eric Staal, who provided a screen in front of Brodeur, scored the other goal for the Hurricanes. Zach Parise tallied for the Devils, who lost captain Jamie Langenbrunner to a lower body injury in the second period.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, Roberto Luongo made 30 saves in his first NHL playoff shutout, as Vancouver beat St Louis 3-0 to take a 2-0 playoff series lead in the Western Conference.

Mats Sundin, playing in his first postseason series in five years, put Vancouver ahead late in the second period, and Luongo did the rest as the Canucks grabbed a commanding advantage in the series.

Alex Burrows added an insurance goal midway through the third period, and Henrik Sedin, who had an assist on Burrow's goal, scored into an empty net with 1:24 left.

Luongo, who finished the regular season with consecutive shutouts before making 25 saves in a 2-1 victory in Game 1 on Wednesday, made several spectacular saves. He got some help as Blues forward Andy McDonald hit the crossbar three times, two on drives deflected by Luongo.


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