The Flyers entered Monday night’s game on a three-game losing streak. They were at a loss for words after a few pitiful performances against the Devils. This game against the Penguins may get them talking.
The Penguins have been the Flyers’ best matchup this season. Coming into Monday’s game, they were 4-2-0 and the only team that the Flyers have outscored this season (22-18). That continued on Monday night.
It was Pride Night and the Flyers played with plenty of pride in a dominant win.
The Flyers went up 3-0 in the first period, added another in the second, and ran away with it late in the third for a 7-2 final. It turned into a laugher at the Wells Fargo Center.
Let’s get right into it.
The Flyers had some pep in their step from the get-go. They got in on the forecheck early and generated pressure on a few shifts in the early going.
The top line has been one of the Flyers best, and Alain Vigneault swapped Travis Konecny onto it (for Jakub Voracek) for this one. That paid off as the line had a good chance from the slot early on.
Joel Farabee got in on the forecheck to set up Voracek for a chance, but he was denied.
Lyon then had to make another tough glove save after a Nicolas Aube-Kubel turnover.
However, after video review during the commercial break, it was determined that Hayes’ shot did cross the goal line.
The Flyers had a 1-0 lead as Hayes broke a 16-game goal drought with his 12th goal of the season. They then had a power-play chance, but couldn’t get anything going.
After DeSmith’s incredible save was ruled a goal, Alex Lyon was given a chance to make a desperation save of his own. He saved a Kasperi Kapanen shot, but the puck bounced behind him. Luckily, Jason Zucker whiffed on the bouncing puck and Lyon reached back just in time to keep it out.
It was an incredible save and showed just how much hockey is a game of inches.
The two teams then traded a few crazy chances in a few-minute span. First, the Flyers put a puck on net that bounced off of a Penguin and into the crease, but DeSmith was able to keep this one out.
Then, Shayne Gostisbehere saved a goal deep in the crease and got the puck out of danger.
With Evgeni Malkin driving in the offensive zone, Kapanen made an illegal pick and was called for interference. The Flyers made him pay.
After saving a goal a few minutes prior, Gostisbehere scored through traffic to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead.
Gostisbehere returned from injury on Saturday and it’s nice to have him back on the power play.
Just 1:04 after that, the top line went to work again and Claude Giroux gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead.
It was a fantastic first period for the Flyers and Giroux’s goal was the icing on top.
The Flyers led 3-0 on the scoreboard and 18-11 in shots on goal in the first period.
That was the most fun Flyers period in a while … possibly all season? They got in on the forecheck with all four lines putting pressure on, got a few bounces and a huge save from Alex Lyon, and have a 3-0 lead against their biggest rival. Flyers hockey can be fun, who knew?
— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) May 3, 2021
The Flyers didn’t let up in the second period. It was another fun 20 minutes for the Orange and Black against the Penguins.
The top line nearly had another goal early in the frame, but Konecny’s tip-in try off a cross-ice pass from Giroux hit the post. It seemed like each line had at least a good scoring chance or two in the frame.
Next, it was Kayes’ turn. He got a breakaway chance and tried to go five-hole, but DeSmith closed the door. They kept pushing, though.
The Flyers finally broke through again before the eight-minute mark of the period. Gostisbehere made a great stretch pass to Scott Laughton, who set up Wade Allison for a one-timer in the slot. The rookie made no mistake about it.
Allison fired the bouncing puck past DeSmith for a 4-0 Flyers lead.
His celebration was on point as well.
It’s nice to see him get one in a win.
The Penguins had a few chances in the period as well. Lyon made a nice save on Kapanen with around five minutes left in the period.
The physicality picked up in the second period with Evgeni Malkin in the middle of it. There was a post-whistle scrum in front of the Penguins net first, then another one a few shifts later at the Flyers end.
That one resulted in matching roughing minors for Laughton and Malkin.
The 4-on-4 play opened the ice up some more, but it came at a cost. Philippe Myers was called for slashing and the Penguins had an unconventional 4-on-3 power play for 37 seconds.
Sean Couturier won the ensuing faceoff and the Flyers were able to clear, and the Penguins’ power play continued at 5-on-4.
Sidney Crosby had a great chance to get the Penguins on the board in the final seconds, but he rang his shot off the post.
It was just the Flyers’ night.
The Flyers out-attempted the Penguins 24-10 (70.59% CF), outshot them 15-7, and outchanced them 15-5 (8-1 high-danger) for a 79.5% xGF (1.31 – 0.34) in the second period and 67.38% xGF (2.52 – 1.22) at 5v5 through two periods. (@NatStatTrick)
— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) May 4, 2021
The Penguins pushed back in the third period. They had 1:14 of power play time to start the third period and although they didn’t score on it, it gave them some momentum.
The Flyers killed off that penalty, but Ivan Provorov took a hooking penalty just 1:48 into the period.
Of course, Sidney Crosby took advantage on the power play.
Crosby got the Penguins on the board and they weren’t done.
Less than two minutes after Crosby’s goal, Robert Hagg was called for hooking. The Flyers killed this one off with relative ease, though, as they spent some time in the offensive zone.
But the parade to the penalty box wasn’t over.
Joel Farabee was called for goalie interference after Hayes was denied on a semi-breakaway.
Yeah, that’s not a penalty. Here’s a closer look.
The Penguins looked like they wouldn’t convert on an undeserved power play, but they found the back of the net in the final seconds of the man advantage.
Jason Zucker tipped home a shot and it was a 4-2 game.
That goal put some doubt in the Flyers’ mind. The Penguins had some momentum and energy, and it showed.
However, Farabee got the goal back to put the Flyers up by three again.
Farabee got a pass from Voracek down low, where he walked into the slot and made a nice move to beat Tristan Jarry.
It was Farabee’s 17th goal of the season to give him sole possession of the team lead. He was tied with James van Riemsdyk at 16 goals.
The Flyers got a power play with 5:35 left in the third period. They didn’t score on it, but it killed off two minutes at an important time The Penguins couldn’t generate any momentum.
Pittsburgh pulled their goalie after killing the penalty and Claude Giroux sealed the win with an empty-net goal from long range.
But the Flyers weren’t done!
Robert Hagg added on another one for good measure.
The Flyers beat the Penguins 7-2 in a laugher.
The Flyers reminded us tonight that hockey should be fun. It hasn't been this year, but it was really fun tonight. They dominated for most of the game and looked good doing it. Add on a few late ones and it's a 7-2 laugher. It's refreshing after how the past few months have gone.
— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) May 4, 2021
The Flyers and Penguins will get right back at it on Tuesday night in South Philadelphia.
Photo: Heather Barry Images