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Giroux leads Flyers to epic comeback over the Penguins

What an unbelievable game.

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

After dropping game one of the three-game series with the Penguins, the Flyers looked to enact revenge on their cross-state rival. Four unanswered goals will do the trick.

The worst news of the day came when we learned that Joel Farabee had been added to the Covid-19 protocol list and would be unavailable for tonight’s game. Coupled with Sidney Crosby’s return, the vibes heading into this game were decidedly not positive from the Flyers’ perspective.

Justin Braun replaced Shayne Gostisbehere on the top defensive pair, and Brian Elliott got the start in goal.

1st period

It felt ominous when Elliott was forced to make a huge stop just 15 seconds into the period, and boy was it a sign of things to come. Scott Hartnell nailed it: it was a nightmarish start.

The first tally was a Kris Letang shot from the point that appeared to deflect off of Travis Sanheim’s glove (who tried to block the shot with an open palm) and beat Elliott. Just 34 seconds later the Penguins would score again, this time it being Friedman, who the Penguins picked up on waivers just a week ago. It was his first goal in the NHL, and having watched his progression with the Phantoms over the years, I can’t help but feel happy for him — sue me.

Giroux had attempted to bat the puck away after it had popped into the air around the Flyers’ net, indirectly delivering it to Friedman who made no mistake. Friedman, who apparently could not crack the Flyers’ lineup over Erik Gustafsson, who has been a healthy scratch three games in a row, or Robert Hagg, who has struggled to do much positively this season, has had quite the first two games for the Penguins.

But that wasn’t all. Jared McCann gave the Penguins a third marker, just 37 seconds after Friedman’s goal. An odd-man rush picked apart the Hagg-Gostisbehere pair and some pretty passing increased the Penguins lead once more.

Mercifully, the goals stopped.

Well. With that out of the way, let’s move on to a positive: the Flyers’ power play looked good, and even scored! After a couple of nice keeps from Gostisbehere at the blue line, Sean Couturier blasted one home.

The Flyers had actually stabilized at the end of the period, but it’s hard to feel any positive emotions about that period. The story was the disastrous first four minutes.

End of the 1st period: 3-1 Penguins

2nd period

A much improved middle frame led to the Flyers out-shooting and out-chancing the Penguins, as well as scoring the lone goal of the period. Claude Giroux began the play behind the net, beating John Marino in a battle along the boards. Then, Nicolas Aube-Kubel found Oskar Lindblom wide open in front of Jarry. Jarry made the first stop but could not keep Giroux’s rebound bid out of the net.

Friedman was knocked out of this game after Nolan Patrick braced himself for a check and sent him to the ice, and he wasn’t the only defenseman to be taken out. Later it was Phil Myers who was on the receiving end of a late hit following a shot and would leave the game after a handful of shifts, including one in the third.

But honestly, enough on the second period. The third period is where this game takes a sharp turn for the better.

End of the 2nd period: 3-2 Penguins

3rd period

Down a goal, the Flyers had to have a solid 20 minutes if they wanted to get at least a point out of this one — and they certainly did enough!

Prior to the tying goal, Elliott had to make an incredible stop on Evgeni Malkin to keep it a one-goal game.

The Penguins had been taking it to the Flyers in the early stage of the period, but suddenly the Flyers jumped on the offense and turned this game’s entire narrative upside down.

Travis Konecny found Giroux open in the middle of the ice, and his shot went in off of Scott Laughton for the tying tally.

Giroux capped off his takeover performance with the tie-breaking goal coming with just over three minutes remaining in the period. The new-look line consisting of Giroux, Lindblom, and Aube-Kubel sure worked out well tonight.

Giroux’s game-winner came with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, off of a great pass from Aube-Kubel.

What. A. Comeback.

End of the third period: 4-3 Flyers

Three Stars

3. Ivan Provorov

2. Nicolas Aube-Kubel

1. Claude Giroux