[Complete Coverage] - [Pittsburgh Reaction] - [Discussion Thread]
[Event Summary] - [PBP Log] - [TOI Log] - [Faceoff Report]
[Shift Charts] - [Head-to-Head TOI] - [Shot Differential] - [5-on-5 Faceoffs]
For the second time in two seasons, the Pittsburgh Penguins sashayed (Doc Emrick term) on over to the Wells Fargo Center with a ridiculously long win streak in hand. For the second time in two seasons, the Flyers saw an opportunity to close the gap in the Atlantic Division race while also ending said Penguins' win streak.
For the second time in two seasons, Evgeni Malkin took some dumb penalties down the stretch of the third period, the Flyers capitalized with goals and did just that: They snapped Pittsburgh's win streak and improved their position in the Atlantic Division race.
Last year it was a 12-game streak. This year it was an 11-game streak. Wouldn't mind this being a once-a-year thing.
Safe to say this one was even more fun than last year's, too. Not only is it March instead of December, but there's definitely something to be said for sitting through three hours of "Sidney Crosby has more passion than anybody in the National Hockey League" BS, only to be rewarded with a last-second OT goal by ... who else? ... Scott Hartnell.
Hartsy was pissin' dudes off all day, none more than Chris Kunitz, who somehow got away with burying No. 19's face into the ice with his knee during a scrum in the third period. Of course, that came after a beautiful top-shelf goal on the goal line that tied the game at 2-2 in the third, so you can understand why Pittsburgh was so upset. He'll get under your skin and he'll score prettier goals than you can. He's the man every Penguin wishes they could be.
In all honesty, as great as this game was, it was only that entertaining because the Flyers failed to show up for the first half of it ... again. They didn't come out quite as poor as they did yesterday in Boston, but Pittsburgh controlled the play for just about the entire first 40 minutes of the game. At one point, the Flyers went 17:09 without a shot. It seemed as though this game was over at the second intermission.
That's when the Penguins got off their game a bit. A power play goal early in the third period made it a new hockey game, and from there, the Flyers took over. Malkin took two penalties after that and the Pens as a whole came pretty unglued. The Flyers took full advantage.
Usually, three-point games are the worst, but I can deal with being two points down to Pittsburgh instead of one point considering the three points puts more pressure on the sagging Rangers.
The Penguins were the hottest team in hockey coming into today's game... but you know what? At 8-1-1 in their last 10, the Flyers might have just taken that crown today.
Questions to Answer
- The Penguins have won 11 straight games. If you remember, the last time they had a long streak like this, the Flyers ended it. On HBO, nonetheless. Can they snap the Pens' streak again? Hell. Yes.
- With Andreas Lilja out and both Andrej Meszaros and Pavel Kubina still unable to play, how does Peter Laviolette use his defensemen, including Brandon Manning, today? Laviolette mixed things up a bit, but Nicklas Grossmann took on Malkin head-to-head all day, which worked pretty darn well, and he was mostly paired up with Braydon Coburn. Brandon Manning and Erik Gustafsson were together at times, including on Pittsburgh's first goal, but by the end of the game they were basically separate.
- Max Talbot is obviously a vital player, especially in PK and defensive situations. Today's the first game he'll miss all season thus far. Which player steps up into Talbot's role? Sean Couturier played 17 minutes, so...
- Obligatory question about Sidney Crosby and his impact on the Penguins here. Go call NBC. They'll have an answer.
- The Flyers came out flat yesterday but really picked up play in the third period. Another day game today. Another slow start, or can they pick up where they left off late against the Bruins? Slowish start, awful second period, great third. Not perfect. Will take it.
Comment of the Day
>> KreiderDesigns, who totally called that