The Philadelphia Flyers had a chance to make a point with a series win in Pittsburgh. But they couldn’t close it out.
The Flyers fell 4-3 to the Penguins on Saturday afternoon in a physical, back-and-forth game. Saturday’s effort certainly could’ve been better. Brian Elliott allowed a soft goal late in the second period that changed the course of the rest of the game. He made up for it a bit with a big save on Jake Guentzel, but the Flyers couldn’t muster any more offense.
Sean Couturier‘s reaction during the first period summed the game up pretty well.
The Flyers had a good opportunity right on their first shift. Sean Couturier created an odd-man situation in the offensive zone, but Ivan Provorov went for the extra pass rather than shooting the puck.
That overpassing continued on their early power play after Evgeni Malkin‘s egregious interference penalty.
After failing to score on the power play, the Flyers opened the scoring at even strength.
A great play by Laughton to spring the rush.
And a water bottle pop from Konecny.
However, the Flyers didn’t keep their early lead.
Provorov’s rough start continued with a penalty after a bad turnover in the defensive zone. Malkin made the Flyers pay with a wraparound goal on the power play after a nice pass by Sidney Crosby.
The top-pair defenseman had a chance to redeem himself after his penalty, but he couldn’t. The second line got into the offensive zone and Laughton got the puck into the slot for Provorov, but he flubbed the shot with a wide-open cage.
Kevin Hayes continued the strong start for the second line by drawing a penalty during 4-on-4 play, but the power play was silent once again.
The Penguins’ power play, on the other hand, was firing on all cylinders. The Flyers looked out of sorts as the Penguins made a few cross-ice passes before Bryan Rust had an easy goal in front.
That has been a huge issue for the Flyers’ penalty kill this season and there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon.
The Flyers drew a late penalty but nearly gave up a shorthanded goal in the waning seconds of the first period. They escaped trailing by just one after one period of play.
They finally made good use of a power play to tie things up early in the second period. Nolan Patrick set a great screen in front and Hayes beat Jarry with an even better shot. It ended a four-game goal (and point) drought for Hayes.
Then it was the Penguins’ turn to go back on the power play before the midpoint of the period. Travis Konecny, who had a good game outside of the penalty, was called for tripping and he knew it.
Earlier in the period, he laid a nice hit in the corner.
Fortunately, the Flyers were able to kill the penalty. The teams actually traded off failed power plays around the midpoint of the period.
That led to some rough stuff by the benches and matching minors for 4-on-4 hockey.
What a shot.
The Flyers had the lead again in a back-and-forth afternoon. They were up 1-0, then down 2-1, and back up 3-2 after Gostishere’s goal.
The Penguins then had a dangerous rush of their own, but Travis Sanheim canceled that out with a great sliding play.
It looked like the Flyers were going to head into intermission with a lead. Then disaster struck.
Zach Aston-Reese threw a puck on net from a bad angle and Elliott couldn’t make the save.
That tied it, then the Penguins had a prime chance to take the lead after a turnover. Luckily, Rust whiffed on the shot and Elliott was able to cover up.
The Flyers and Penguins were tied at three heading into the third period.
The end of the second period and the first half of the third period were largely the same. There was a lot of sloppy play on both sides, but particularly from the Flyers with a few icings early in the period. But nothing came of it.
It was a physical game all day long and that didn’t change in the third period.
The Penguins had the first really dangerous chance of the period. Sidney Crosby fed Jake Guentzel in front. Guentzel beat Elliott’s poke-check attempt, but couldn’t beat the Flyers netminder.
That was a huge save to keep the game tied.
Unfortunately, the Penguins took the lead anyway. The Flyers got caught in deep and the Penguins scored off the rush.
That gave the Penguins a 4-3 lead that they would not relinquish.
Pittsburgh had a chance to ice the game with an empty-net goal, but Gostisbehere made a good save in the crease to keep the game alive.
But it didn’t matter. The Flyers lost 4-3 for their second loss in three games against the Penguins.
The Flyers will get right back at it on Sunday night at home against the Washington Capitals.