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Penguins 4, Flyers 3: At least that one’s over

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So long, Pittsburgh! It was not fun!

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

Pittsburgh Penguins 4 - Philadelphia Flyers 3

[full stats]

Scoring

1st: 6:08, Travis Konecny (Scott Laughton)

1st: 7:54, Evgeni Malkin (Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel) PP

1st: 18:01, Bryan Rust (Guentzel, Crosby) PP

2nd: 1:20, Kevin Hayes (Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny) PP

2nd: 12:04, Shayne Gostisbehere (Laughton, Jake Voracek)

2nd: 18:10, Zach Aston-Reese (Brandon Tanev)

3rd: 10:41, Jared McCann (Tanev, Malkin)

Recap

The Flyers had a bit of jump to start the game, and even had an early power play to work with as they hoped to jump out to an early lead, but they squandered it. The Flyers had some looks early on, but they seemed to be missing that shoot-first mentality, so those looks slipped away. It was a start that had us a little nervous, but they pretty quickly quieted us down—the Flyers forced a turnover in the defensive zone and Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny got moving on a 2-on-0, and Konecny sniped a shot right past Jarry.

That Flyers lead was short lived, though, as Ivan Provorov took a hooking penalty just 25 seconds later, sending the Penguins to the power play. And it was a bit of nice passing and the puck found its way to Malkin, and he didn’t miss. Tied game.

Through the end of the period, the Flyers and Penguins swapped power plays, to vastly different results—the Flyers looked a little listless yet again, getting a couple of shots but nothing terribly dangerous, and then the Penguins came back with their own and once again made a pretty passing play to get the puck to Rust for the goal.

The Flyers got about 36 seconds of power play time to work with before the first intermission, but did the bulk of their work was done at the start of the second period, and it was good, folks! The Flyers looked a little sharper and were able to cash in on one of their chances. In the waning seconds of the power play, Kevin Hayes got them on the board to tie things up again.

And guys, you won't believe this. Our next big happening was a penalty kill for the Flyers. Well, actually it was the broken bit of glass that needed fixing in the arena. And then it was the penalty kill. Travis Konecny took a tripping penalty, and the Flyers had to face this hot Penguins power play once again. And the Flyers didn't exactly look sharp on that penalty kill, but they were able to prevent the Penguins from scoring on them. So, that’s progress.

There was another Flyers power play in there after that. That one was bad too. What do you want from me.

It took until the second half of the second period, but we finally got an even strength big happening, and it was one we could be pretty excited about, to boot. After a bit of a scrum, we got two minutes of 4-on-4, and the Flyers took advantage of that open space. Folks, it was a vintage Ghost bomb to push them into the lead.

The Flyers were trying to pick up some steam and hang on to their lead, but the end of the period wasn’t kind to them. Brian Elliott let in a pretty weak goal from Zach Aston-Reese, and then they gave up a dangerous chance for Rust that he just missed. The Flyers were just about hanging on for dear life, and the second intermission couldn’t come soon enough.

Things seemed to open up in the third period, due in part to some mistakes and breakdowns on both sides. The Penguins seemed to be taking the edge in momentum, and they were knocking on the door for much of the period. It didn’t come as much of a surprise, then, when they were able to force a turnover to get a play started, capitalize on a defensive breakdown, and pull themselves back into the lead, care of a goal by Jared McCann.

The Flyers looked to pick up some steam and get themselves back into the game and force overtime, but it just wasn’t in the cards. The Penguins kept possession long enough to delay the goalie pull, and then kept the Flyers tied up well enough to prevent them from generating, well, much of anything dangerous in the way of chances to end this one. So the Flyers went out with a whimper, and they’re right back at it again tomorrow.

Final thoughts

This was not a very fun game. We’re not coming away from this one super pumped about how the Flyers played in it, but Penguins fans are probably feeling close to the same way about their side, regardless of the outcome. Losing Philippe Myers for this game certainly hurt them, but whole-team defensive breakdowns were really the story of this one. There’s still a lot of work to be done here, and the Flyers look like they’re shooting themselves in the foot at times. It’s not a “getting a single player back into the lineup” easy fix.

This was a tough game, and the Flyers really looked to be struggling particularly as the game went on. To put it simply, they looked tired, and maybe that’s understandable for the third game in five days, but it certainly doesn’t leave us feeling very good about how they’re going to look when they face off against the Capitals tomorrow night.

Player of the game

It’s Shayne Gostisbehere, in part because of the goal, but mostly for preventing the empty net goal. That was fun. We’re trying to find levity wherever we can.