Wasn’t that 7-2 thrashing of the Penguins fun? Yeah, this game wasn’t as fun.
It was a milestone night for Brian Elliott, who was in goal for his 500th NHL game. Fittingly on May the 4th, Elliott would’ve needed the help of the force to walk away with a victory in this one.
Things got off to a rough start for the Flyers, and the Penguins pounced early. Just 1:44 into the game, a pretty passing play made quick work of Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg, before Marcus Pettersson walked around Elliott for the tally.
At this point, it really set in that this was going to be one of those games.
Maybe the best moment of a sleepy first period was an Oskar Lindblom reverse hit that sent Cody Ceci to the ice.
Oskar Lindblom is simply rock solid here pic.twitter.com/TpFxb58Ol5— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) May 4, 2021
He wasn’t the only Flyer to send Ceci flying tonight, either.
Gostisbehere with a big hit on Ceci. pic.twitter.com/fS1TYZv23N— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) May 5, 2021
The second period was, in a word, chaos. Four goals were scored in total, Joel Farabee threw hands with Mark Friedman, Jeff Carter scored an own goal, and Sidney Crosby kept pushing Travis Konecny’s face into the ice. All caught up? Good!
The fight came early and ended just as fast.
Farabee drops Friedman in a fight pic.twitter.com/9RC7ECrYLn— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) May 5, 2021
Just over three minutes into the middle frame, Jake Guentzel struck on the power play, finding a rebound right in the blue paint. He was Justin Braun’s man in front, but Braun would make up for it later in the period.
At one point it looked as if the Penguins were going to have a great opportunity to score, but a high-sticking penalty wiped out the opportunity. And on further review, it wasn’t even a penalty! Wade Allison had actually been high-sticked by Phil Myers. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was rightfully irate over the referee blowing play dead, but from a Flyers perspective, it was nice to have some luck for a change.
However before things got better, they had to get worse. Which, thinking back, would be a pretty good tagline for the 2021 Flyers season. Of course, it was Sidney Crosby who increased the Penguins’ lead to 3-0, reaching back and shooting the puck past a turned-around Ivan Provorov.
The Flyers’ comeback effort was started by Braun, who found himself with not one but two rebound chances in close. After pulling the puck to the side of the net, Braun deposited it into the open cage.
Justin Braun gets the Flyers on the board! pic.twitter.com/2Ywcq3EJk8— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) May 5, 2021
Now listen, the Penguins may be sitting at the top of the East Division, but if you allow Hagg and Braun to score consecutive goals, how good are you actually?
Carter, who was acquired by the Penguins just ahead of the trade deadline, had a brilliant chance to score midway through the period, but Elliott was up to the task.
Elliott stones Carter on the shorthanded breakaway! pic.twitter.com/XGqB8rBWXN— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) May 5, 2021
But don’t fret over Carter’s inability to finish here, as he showed he certainly still put the puck in the net.
Jeff Carter cuts the Penguins' lead to one!— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) May 5, 2021
(Couturier gets credit for the goal.) pic.twitter.com/ghy0Mu5jYU
It was all Flyers to start the third period, with the Flyers out-shooting the Penguins 6-0 in the first seven minutes. Despite this, it was Pittsburgh that struck first in the final frame, with Jason Zucker getting the puck alone in front of Elliott following a Giroux turnover.
After a frustrating season where it seemed that the Flyers never had a bounce go their way, they were gifted a second own-goal, this time off of the skate of John Marino. Konecny looked to make a cross-ice pass to Couturier from the puck right wall but instead found Marino’s skate — and the back of the net.
Back to a one-goal game, the Flyers were right back in this one with just under ten minutes left in regulation. The game wouldn’t stay that way for long.
Two minutes after Konecny’s goal, Crosby picked up his second of the night on a tough angle, and on a shot that you’d really like your goalie to stop. Now in saying that, it is Crosby, and he does score at ridiculous angles pretty often. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to an unbelievably skilled player.
An early goalie pull led to a Friedman empty-net goal, who was then sent into the boards by Gostisbehere. For the longest time, I thought the “they hate Friedman” narrative was overblown, but after something as totally unnecessary as that, there has to be something there.
On the ensuing power-play, Marino added another goal to the Penguins’ total, putting them up 7-3 with three minutes to play, and that would be the final.
What the hell is the Flyers’ problem with Friedman?