In the first Flyers game with fans in almost an entire year, they didn’t give the Penguins’ faithful much to be happy about at the start. They had two power plays at the beginning of the game, but failed to convert. They did outshoot the Penguins 12-5 in the period, but ended up losing the possession battle as they struggled towards the final minutes, including a penalty sending the Penguins to the power play.
The second Flyers power play looked much better than the first, and the switch to put Shayne Gostisbehere on the first power play unit is clearly the way to go for this team moving forward. Carter Hart looked good despite facing so few shots, including a redirection in tight, but Tristian Jarry was up to the task as well, stopping each Flyers’ shot.
After a generally uneventful first, the Flyers opened the second with a goal from one of their hottest players in Joel Farabee. Sean Couturier and the kid played a two man game until Farabee had an empty net staring him down. So things were looking up, you’d assume, right?
Well that was gorgeous. Couturier and Farabee connect for the goal. pic.twitter.com/C0O8AuPFdR— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 3, 2021
Ah, so naïve we are.
The Penguins followed that with three goals in the span of about seven minutes. Kasperi Kapanen just about had himself a natural hat trick but Carter Hart came up with this stellar save.
Things may have fallen apart but we do still have this save to admire. pic.twitter.com/1KawVlMg5G— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 3, 2021
It looked like the Penguins were about to blow this game open, but Hart continued to shut the door, and the Flyers offense finally began to find their footing. Problem is Jarry at the other end was just as good, and dominant in net for Pittsburgh. He made quite a few stellar saves especially the one on JVR that still leaves me wondering how the hell that puck didn’t go in.
The biggest, and most obvious issue this period, was the play of Gostisbehere. Despite how good he’s looked of late, this period was everything we don’t want to see from him. Kapanen’s first goal was a bad cross-ice pass from Ghost, turning into a breakaway. On the third, he played far too softly on Bryan Rust who barely had to work to bury the rebound in tight. The hope is with Ghost, this game does not turn into a string of bad games and an eventual benching as it has in the past.
The Flyers began the final 20 minutes with essentially back-to-back power plays and unfortunately did nothing with either of them. Gostisbehere seemingly lost his spot on the top unit, replaced by Travis Sanheim. He’d eventually see time on the power play, but it was clear a shake up was made.
Joel Farabee would score his second of the game after some sustained pressure by the Flyers, and just when you thought they might make the comeback ... the unthinkable happened.
Cody. Effing. Ceci. Caca Peepee, the man the myth the legend, scored a goal. And not just any goal you see, because this goal was assisted by a certain new Penguins defenseman. Mark. Effing. Friedman.
I mean when this happens you just accept the fact it’s not your night, right? When Cody Ceci of all people score a goal on your team, that’s the signal to find something else, literally anything else, to do with your night than watch this team. That was only confirmed with the “empty net goal” the Pens scored.
Penguins win 5-2 without Sidney Crosby, and now the Flyers look to take Thursday’s game and set up a rubber match of this three game series on Saturday.