The Philadelphia Flyers came from behind to shock the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. Claude Giroux scored two goals – including the game-winner – and his shot deflected in on the game-tying goal for an assist as well.
The Flyers scored four unanswered goals for their best win of the season. It’s such a good win that I’m bringing back the GIF Rewind, which is making its much-anticipated Philly Hockey Now debut.
The first few minutes of the game were a disaster for the Flyers.
The Penguins opened the scoring on a bit of a fluky play. Kris Letang put a shot on net from above the circle that Travis Sanheim tried to glove down. Sanheim only deflected it, however, which caused it to change direction and get past Elliott.
Then, 34 seconds later, Mark Friedman continued to haunt his former team. He scored his first NHL goal to make it a 2-0 game.
Philippe Myers made a bad pinch up the wall, leading to an odd-man rush led by Sidney Crosby the other way. Crosby’s shot was denied, but Claude Giroux batted the puck into the slot, where Friedman slid it home.
Just like that, it was 2-0.
And the Penguins weren’t done.
The top line won a battle in the offensive zone, but Sean Couturier lost the puck up the wall for an odd-man rush the other way yet again. Jared McCann made a nice diving redirection to complete a passing play to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead.
Sean Couturier’s reaction said it all.
Less than four minutes into the game the Flyers were down 3-0. It felt like it was over.
But the Flyers battled back.
After killing off a penalty, the Flyers gained some momentum. They had a few good shifts after Alain Vigneault called a timeout following the 3-0 goal.
The Flyers got on the board halfway through the first period. Shayne Gostisbehere kept the puck in at the blue line to keep the power-play pressure going.
The Flyers had a great chance that didn’t go, then Couturier blasted a slap shot to get the Flyers on the board.
The Flyers were back in the game. It was still a two-goal deficit, but the Flyers had a chance.
Heading into the second period, it felt like the next goal was going to be extremely important. It would either be 3-2 with the Flyers having momentum or 4-1 with the Penguins all but putting the game away.
Early in the second period, Friedman tried to hit Patrick to get back at him for this earlier boarding penalty.
However, Patrick braced for the impact and knocked Friedman down.
That also knocked Friedman out of the game.
For most of the second period, it looked like the Flyers were going to get back in it even more. All four lines had at least one great shift in the offensive zone where they either got in on the forecheck and created pressure, cycled, the puck, got a scoring chance on net, or all of the above.
Giroux got the puck up the wall to Aube-Kubel, who centered it to Lindblom in the slot. Lindblom made a move and was denied, but Giroux put home the rebound to make it a 3-2 game.
The Flyers didn’t let up, either. The top lines had a few good shifts on the forecheck and in the offensive zone following that. They couldn’t tie it up, however, despite a few scoring chances.
The Penguins had a few scoring chances of their own in the latter half of the period. One of those sequences came after a bad pass by Jakub Voracek in the defensive zone. It led to chaos in the crease and the Flyers were lucky that the puck didn’t find its way past Elliott.
If it wasn’t for the score, you would think the Flyers were the better team for most of this game. However, those three early goals completely changed the tone of the game. The Flyers did their best to get back in it through two periods of play.
The third period started with more of the same. Hart prepared for it with some smelling salts.
The Flyers were able to generate pressure, but could still not find the back of the net.
The Penguins got the first power play of the period after a ticky-tack hooking call against Kevin Hayes. Luckily, the Flyers had a good effort to kill off the penalty.
The fourth line then got the puck into the crease and nearly jammed it home, but they couldn’t get it through the blue paint.
The Penguins had their best chance of the period around the midway point, but Elliott made a huge glove save on Evgeni Malkin.
That save turned out to be even bigger than we thought.
Just a few minutes later, the Flyers tied things up. A line of Laughton – Giroux – Konecny got the puck in deep and past Tristan Jarry.
Konecny took a hit in the corner to make a great pass to the high slot, Giroux got the puck on net, and it deflected off Laughton past Jarry to tie the game at three.
The Flyers completed the comeback.
Oskar Lindblom fired a shot on net that was blocked, but Aube-Kubel found it and made a tremendous backhand pass to the tape of Giroux.
The Flyers were able to hold off the Penguins in the final minutes to win the game 4-3.
It was the best win of the season for the Flyers, who easily could’ve folded after a horrific start. The Flyers evened up this three-game series against the Penguins and they’ll close it out on Saturday afternoon.