Delmore hat trick lifts Flyers over Penguins

Andy Delmore scored a rare playoff hat trick for a rookie defenceman on Sunday as the Philadelphia Flyers followed up an epic five-overtime win with a 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Mark Recchi also starred for the Flyers as he tied team playoff records with four assists and five points as Philadelphia moved within one win of clinching their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The victory - the first by a home team in this unpredictable series - gave Philadelphia a three games to two lead over the Penguins, who played most of the game without superstar Jaromir Jagr.

"I think everyone really came out with a lot of energy, considering the aftereffects of the last game." Delmore said. "Everyone put in a great effort."

Game 6 is Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

"Everything was going in." Recchi said. "We didn't do much different than the other games, but the puck was going in for us. We'll take it and run, and get ready for Tuesday."

From the opening faceoff, the Flyers took the fight out of the Penguins. After falling into a 2-0 hole just 3:27 into the contest, Pittsburgh got more bad news when Jagr suffered a muscle strain in his leg late in the first period. He did not return after playing just one shift in the second period.

Jagr would not talk about the injury but said there was a 90 percent chance he would play on Tuesday.

"I just pulled something." he explained. "I'm not going to tell you exactly what happened. I'll let you know after the series is over. Before I even stepped on the ice (in the second period), it was 4-0. There was no reason to be there today."

Jagr is the leading scorer in the playoffs with eight goals and eight assists but has been held pointless in the last two games.

Pittsburgh coach Herb Brooks insisted the five-overtime loss had nothing to do with the Penguins' slow start Sunday.

"If you look at the game, we made some horrendous errors in the first period and the second period was like a replay of the first period." he said. "We couldn't get the puck out."

After the teams struggled through a 107-minute scoring drought in Thursday's Game 4, Daymond Langkow got the Flyers on the board just 23 seconds into Sunday's contest.

Philadelphia continued its explosive start and went up 2-0 on the power play at 3:27 when Delmore's slap shot beat goalie Ron Tugnutt high to the glove side.

Tugnutt, who made 70 saves in the marathon game, was peppered with eight shots in the first four minutes and pulled after the second period. Peter Skudra stopped 10 of 11 shots in the third period in his NHL playoff debut.

"My legs felt a little sluggish and the condition of the ice didn't help." Tugnutt said. "It was really sticky out there, but that's not an excuse for anything."

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