Hey, everybody, how are we doing? You’ll be seeing this after the game, but it’s almost 7:00 while I’m typing this part, and I feel real nervous, let me tell you. I keep nervous typing a whole not of words, too many words, and then deleting them. So let’s just keep them deleted, keep breathing deeply, and move on to the recap.
Tonight marked game one of our Battle of Pennsylvania series, and things kicked off (just about how you would have expected--Crosby won the opening faceoff and the Penguins got things moving into the offensive zone, and set up Jake Guentzel for the first shot of the game, and Elliott’s first save. The Flyers took the puck off in the other direction and set up Provorov for a chance of their own. And does it feel like that’s a whole lot of activity already? It’s only been about 30 seconds. Buckle up, folks.
After a bit of work in the Penguins’ zone, a broken up play gave the Penguins a chance on the rush into the Flyers’ zone, and Elliott, after blocking the initial shot, sent the rebound straight to Rust, who gave it right back, and sent it in and past Elliott. And the Penguins had their first lead of the game. Sigh.
And we sat and waited for a bit of sustained offense from the Flyers, and had to wait a bit for it--the Penguins were right on the loose puck and didn’t give the Flyers much of a chance with it. But a Voracek took advantage of a turnover by Crosby at the blue line and got a rush going for the second line. A chance in front gave the Flyers their best look of the night, but there was no goal to go with it. And Pittsburgh was able to clear.
But the pressure wasn’t done! Who now? The fourth line! Because why not! Getting the puck in deep, they were able to get set up and generate yet another chance in close, this time for Laughton, but Murray came up with the save. But, you guys, they were so close.
And now things are going very poorly as, after a bit of nice work in the Penguins’ zone, a shift where the Flyers just could not clear the puck came back to burn them (with the help of a loose glove on the ice that blocked the attempt to clear). And it stayed in and the Flyers were lost and it was Hagelin to take advantage. Heavier sigh.
And, oh, oh no, it’s worse. Back in the offensive zone, Konecny took a tripping penalty and now the Flyers are shorthanded. I feel bad and upset, friends. Please end my suffering.
The Flyers won the faceoff, and were able to get the puck into the zone for a shot by Provorov, smothered by Murray, and drew a whistle. The next draw went to the Penguins as they got back to work, shuffling the puck around the Flyers’ zone. But hey! COuturier intercepted it and sent it out. And now! The Penguins tried again to get some offense going and Malkin ended up hooking Lehtera, and we’ve got a bot of four on four.
And i just...do we even want to talk about it? The Flyers nearly got burned back at even strength, and couldn’t do anything on the power play, and then gave the Penguins back the puck. It was Malkin, fresh out of the box, burning Ghost, and a three goal lead.
But there was an attempt to respond. Simmonds was able to control the puck in the neutral zone and spring Konecny on a breakaway, but his shot sailed wide of the net. Which, honestly, sounds about right.
And then the Flyers, you guessed it, gave up another chance in their own zone, but a hit on Giroux in the corner causes a scrum to form, which brings us to…
Brandon Manning gets into a tussle to Prove Something. DRINK
The refs called Malkin for slashing and the Flyers got a chance to Do Something on the power play, and it looked promising for a hot second as they got a shot into traffic, but then looked less promising, as they promptly gave up a shorthanded chance. And it’s just a mess, you guys. The first unit was able to nearly get another chance, but it was all downhill from there. They never were able to get set up after that, and before they knew it, their chance was gone.
And now we have about a minute and a half left in the period, and it’s the fourth line trying to spark something again. It was another shot from Laughton and another save by Murray. The Flyers were chased back into their own zone, and after a bit more shuffling, time expired.
AFTER ONE: Penguins 3, Flyers 0
Okay. So that deep breathing thing I talked about up there. I’m trying that. I’ve gotten my snacks and I’m ready for the second period. Let’s take our chance to decompress. Now let’s move on.
The first shift of the period was relatively low activity, but saw the Flyers able to set up in the offensive zone and not get absolutely owned. Which feels like a step in the right direction.
And they got another chance! Two Flyers got tangled up in the neutral zone, but somehow they came up with the puck and sprung Filppula for a rush and a shot on Murray that went wide. We need that shot to actually be on net, but the Flyers are looking better, here.
Now the Flyers have gotten some chances and are looking to build on this early push. They’re looking like they might actually be able to do it. They’re set up in the zone and we might have some promise.
And now... what’s happening? They’ve blown the whistle. There are two pucks on the ice. No. The puck hit Letang’s skate and split in half. Okay. Sure.
That excitement we had was shortlived. The Penguins were finally able to get the puck out of the zone and then Letang drew a tripping call on Couturier at the blue line. And the Flyers were off to the penalty kill again.
Penalty kill quick hits: Provorov was very good along the boards, and helped the Flyers get not one but two clears. Read was able to skate the puck out for another. Provorov’s shot on goal went wide. And, with under ten seconds left on the penalty, Guentzel was able to get set up in the blue paint, took the pass from Brassard, and scored.
And now… did you feel like we’ve been missing something? A Sidney Crosby lacrosse goal just a minute and 11 seconds later? That wasn’t it? Well, that’s what you’re getting anyway.
And, as expected, it’s Mrazek time.
But the Flyers responded with some energy and a chance by the top line, but they didn’t have much time to roll with it. Laughton took a slashing penalty and the Penguins had another power play chance.
I took a break from typing during that penalty kill and just watched. And there were a couple of moments where I thought to myself “wow, they’re actually looking pretty good here. They might just be able to kill this off.” I was too afraid to type it out until it happened, though. But they did it. They killed the penalty.
And now things are going so fast. We’re at run and gun the Flyers had a chance and now it’s Kessel on a breakaway and I just let out a scream of terror. But Mrazek made a very nice pad save, letting the Flyers get back to work in the offensive zone. But, as is becoming the theme, that chance didn’t last very long, as they took another penalty. It was Raffl for hooking this time. And I need this to stop.
Where the Flyers once looked very sharp on the penalty kill, they looked less so on this attempt. It was less attacking and more attempted blocking, but it worked out for them, in the end. I may have stopped breathing, in the meantime, but they escaped without giving up another goal. Exhale.
And it was a quiet enough end to the period, which saw one last rush from the top line (now with 100 percent more Travis Konecny!) but no results to speak of. And we are all still sad.
AFTER TWO: Penguins 5, Flyers 0
Aaaaaand we’re back! I don’t know if I want to be back, but here we are, all the same. The first shift saw a chance for the top line (now with 100 percent less Travis Konecny) but with the screen not quite set, Murray saw it the whole way. But it was a nice way to set the tone for the early part of the period, which also saw chances by the Patrick and Lehtera lines, as the Flyers showed the most jump we’ve seen all night.
And more good news! Konecny had a chance of his own on the rush but found it stopped, but he was still able to draw a penalty and get the Flyers another chance on the power play.
Bad news! The Flyers’ power play could not do the thing. In fact, they gave up a three on one for the Penguins, but were able to break it up. And no goal for the Flyers. No shots, even.
More bad news: the end of the power play saw a counterrush for the Penguins and, yeah, another goal for Crosby. He got the inside on Read and had nothing but space to work with. It was… well it was not pretty.
Is anyone still reading, at this point? The Flyers never looked settled again after the last goal, and then gave up another. It was the Penguins just starting to get set in the zone, and then it was Crosby redirecting a point shot for a hat trick. If you’re keeping track, that’s seven for the Penguins. And infinite sadness for the rest of us.
Things are going very poorly but we’re looking for the Flyers to just do something. They had another chance on the power play and couldn’t do anything with it. They were just about able to get set up, but couldn’t muster up any real pressure. With the exception of two last chances from the Patrick and Lehtera lines, the Flyers found their efforts frustrated and were held up in their own zone. You hate to say it, but the energy just wasn’t quite there.
I’m sorry things had to start like this, pals. And I’m all out of words, for now. See you on Friday.