Series (Game 1 of 5)

Philadelphia leads 4-1

Game 1: Wednesday, November 27th
Game 2: Saturday, March 15th
Game 3: Thursday, March 20th
Game 4: Saturday, March 29th
Game 5: Monday, March 31st

Flyers 2

(10-5-0, 26 pts)

Penguins 7

(10-5-3, 26 pts)

7:30 PM ET, November 27, 2002

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
PHI 1 0 12
PIT 2 3 27

D. Tarnstrom (Penguins - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

M. Lemieux (Penguins - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 4

J. Aubin (Penguins - G): Saves: 41, Save Pct.: .953

Flyers hoping LeClair has no ligament damage

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pittsburgh goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin had a good view of the NHL's top-ranked power play unit Wednesday night, and even he was shaking his head.

"Our power play,'' said Aubin, "has been amazing.''

Mario Lemieux had three of his four assists on the power play as the Penguins converted four of six chances to beat the slumping Philadelphia Flyers 7-2 and tie the Flyers for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Jan Hrdina scored a goal and added two assists and defenseman Dick Tarnstrom set up three power-play goals as Pittsburgh won its third consecutive game. The Pittsburgh power play has converted 32.4 percent of its chances this season and is 14-for-28 the past six games.

It was the second straight blowout loss for the Flyers, who were beaten 6-0 in Toronto on Saturday night.

"Five-on-five we played hard, played well,'' said Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock, whose team has scored only 12 goals in a 1-4-4 slide. "But this game is won with skilled players, and when you give a team with all these skilled players three power plays in the first period, you'll be lucky to have a chance.''

The Penguins built a 2-0 first-period lead with power-play goals from Martin Straka and Alexei Kovalev. To make matters worse for the Flyers, they lost left wing John LeClair indefinitely to a dislocated right shoulder late in the period.

LeClair, who has 11 goals and 17 points in 21 games, was injured when he collided with Marc Bergevin and fell awkwardly into the left wing corner of the Pittsburgh zone.

"If there is ligament damage, then we have something to worry about,'' Hitchcock said. "We just have to pray that there is no damage so that we can avoid surgery.''

Ville Nieminen, Aleksey Morozov, Janne Laukkanen and Dan Lacouture also scored for the Penguins, and Aubin stopped 41 shots to record victories in consecutive games for the first time since March 2001.

After the Penguins missed the playoffs last season, few expected Pittsburgh to be atop the division one quarter of the way through the season.

"It's not March yet, but it's a good thing for us to build on,'' said Nieminen, whose goal 43 seconds into the second period gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead. "This game tells us something -- that we can play with the top teams.''

Keith Primeau and Jeremy Roenick scored for Philadelphia.

"There are no excuses,'' Flyers defenseman Eric Desjardins said. "We just have to play better. It's a long season, but we have to make sure this (slump) doesn't drag on any longer.''

Morozov's goal at 4:47 of the second period knocked Flyers starting goaltender Roman Cechmanek out of the game, and Robert Esche allowed Laukkanen's shot from the left point to trickle past him at 6:58.

After Roenick's ninth goal of the season made it 6-2 at 7:44 of the third period, Lacouture converted Kovalev's pass at 12:47 and Hrdina scored his ninth goal of the season at 17:27.

Game notes

Straka left the game in the first period with a strained hamstring but could return to the lineup this weekend. Teammate Shean Donovan suffered a stress fracture of his right foot late in the game and is expected to be out for at least two weeks. ... Pittsburgh is unbeaten in four home games against the Flyers (3-0-1). ... The Flyers have allowed a power-play goal in 17 of their 21 games. ... The Penguins scratched Randy Robitaille (ankle), Josef Melichar (shoulder) and Michal Rozsival (shoulder). ... The Flyers scratched Chris Therien (back), Guillaume Lefebvre and Pavel Brendl. ... This was the first meeting this season between the Atlantic Division rivals, but the teams don't play again until four matchups between March 15-31.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press