Well, there certainly have been better starts to hockey games. The Penguins jumped on the Flyers early with a simple wrist shot from the point by Mike Matheson, deflected by Brock McGinn, boom 1-0 Pens. After that though, the Flyers were pretty clearly taking it to them. The defense was strong and the forwards were controlling play in the offensive zone and getting good looks.
Travis Konecny would draw a penalty leading to their first power play of the night, but to no avail as the power play was lifeless. It’s almost like taking Keith Yandle off the top power play wasn’t the best move!
The third line was by far the most effective for the Flyers in the first 20 minutes. This line has been great to start the year, but especially in the first tonight. They had a perfect Corsi in the period and had three scoring chances. The goals are going to come for this line sooner or later, especially Oskar Lindblom who is so due for his first of the season.
The second 20 was all about Carter Hart. The Flyers’ struggles in the second period this season have been well documented, and boy did they live up to them tonight. The Penguins absolutely eviscerated the Flyers’ defense and had a seemingly never-ending barrage of pucks flying at the Flyers’ netminder. Hart was up to the task though each time, making spectacular save after spectacular save, keeping his team in the game.
Then the power play got its second try of the game, and this time it found some results. Claude Giroux slap-passed the puck to Konecny at the side of the net, who showed off his silky mitts for an absolutely beautiful goal to tie the game. Konecny has been off to a good start with seven points in eight games, and tallied his fourth goal of the season tonight.
Oh you gotta love that turn and shoot from Travis Konecny. pic.twitter.com/K3nfEGnA63— NHL (@NHL) November 5, 2021
The Penguins kept coming however, and would take the lead back on another flukey kind of goal from Jake Guentzel. He fanned on the original shot, but then the second one found a way through Hart with Jeff Carter providing a screen. And that’s how the period would end with the Penguins up 2-1, and the Flyers looking for their first third period comeback of the season.
Coming out strong was going to be huge for the Flyers in the final frame, and they did just that. But then in typical NAK fashion, he took a penalty sending the Flyers to the penalty kill just under the 14 minute mark. To their credit, they would kill it off and keep it a one goal game.
It took the Flyers awhile to get the rhythm back offensively though after the penalty, really until Ramsus Ristolainen had ... an adventurous shift to say the least that ended up with him drawing a penalty. The power play would not be successful this time however, looking sloppy as a whole for the two minutes.
Remember what was mentioned earlier about the third line being so close to breaking through? Well, with just 2:50 remaining in regulation, a loose puck popped free to the slot and Scott Laughton unloaded on a puck that whizzed by Jarry to tie the game at two.
Despite a late push by Pittsburgh, Hart would hang on and force overtime. With the Flyers still without Kevin Hayes and Ryan Ellis, getting any points is huge in the beginning of the season, especially in this brutal November stretch. It wasn’t pretty, but sometimes that’s just the way it goes, and gritting out a point when maybe you don’t deserve it is huge.
Despite the Flyers having a few good looks in the OT, especially from Cam Atkinson, the Penguins got their third fluke goal of the game with basically an AHL roster, and win the game.
The voodoo magic in Pittsburgh will never end.
The good news: the Flyers do salvage a point out of this game and Carter Hart was incredible in net continuing to silence the doubters after his shaky season last year. The Flyers will look to rebound in Washington on Saturday night.