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Penguins 5, Flyers 4: Third-period penalty sets collapse in motion

Special teams proves costly again as the Flyers can’t hold a lead over their rivals in the third period.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1st Period

The first minute of the game saw the two teams trade good opportunities off the rush, but neither was able to capitalize. Five minutes into the action, Evgeni Malkin took a slashing penalty giving the Flyers their first power play. It went how most power plays have gone this season, with multiple failed zone entries and more scoring chances for the Penguins then the Flyers.

13:47 into the first period, the Flyers got on the board first when Claude Giroux made a very nice play kicking the puck from his skates and putting one in the top right corner just over Casey DeSmith’s glove. Soon after, at 14:09, the Penguins answered and tied the game after a goal by Dominik Simon. This is something we have seen to often from the Flyers this season, which is letting up or falling asleep right after getting goal.

The Penguins got their first power play opportunity 15:51 into the period. After a few failed clear attempts, in what may have been the most predictable moment in history, Sidney Crosby scored his 500th career goal to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead, which they took into the locker room.

Overall it was an OK period for the Flyers; however, as has been the case all season, it was a period where the Penguins took advantage of their good opportunities and Flyers did not.


2nd Period

Action in the 2nd period got underway very quickly when just 57 seconds into the period Scott Laughton was able to bury one and tie the game. Shortly after, the Penguins got their 2nd power play opportunity after Connor Bunnamann took a holding penalty. It was a solid penalty kill by the Flyers, highlighted by a good save by Carter Hart on an in-close opportunity by Jake Guentzel and a great blocked shot by Nick Seeler.

The Flyers took a 3-2 lead 10:43 into the period after a hard slap shot from the point curtesy of Nick Seeler, with assists from Travis Konecny and James van Riemsdyk. Shortly after, the Flyers had another power play opportunity after van Riemsdyk was taken down in front of a wide open net. It was a much crisper-looking power play, with great passing and some quality looks that the Flyers just could not punch home. Further into the period after a very weird sequence where Scott Laughton missed a breakaway opportunity, Justin Braun flicked one from the blue line which deflected off a Penguins player and trickled past DeSmith. This gave the Flyers a 4-2 lead which they would carry into the third period.


3rd Period

2:16 into the third frame the Flyers took a very bad delay of game penalty after Isaac Ratcliffe flipped the puck over the glass and out. However, they were bailed out just five seconds later after Ivan Provorov got hit with a high stick, and the teams played 4-on-4.

Ratcliffe took his second penalty of the period 12 minutes in, after a tough tripping call, sending the Penguins back on the powerplay. This one proved to be costly as the Penguins promptly scored 34 seconds into the powerplay after Jake Guentzel was able to ram one home right on the doorstep. Then just 18 seconds later Chad Ruhwedel scored after a nice pass from Danton Heinen, tying the game at four.

The Flyers were given a chance to retake the lead after Guentzel took a tripping penalty 13:13 into the period. Unfortunately, although they had some good looks, the Flyers could not put one past DeSmith and the game remained tied. It would stay that way for the remainder of the period as the game headed to overtime.


OT

Overtime ended just 31 seconds into the period when Kris Letang pushed down Claude Giroux and skated down the ice, beating Hart five-hole and giving the Penguins the 5-4 overtime win.


Final Thoughts

It was another very frustrating night to be a Flyers fan as the showed again so many of the flaws that have plagued them this season. They continue to struggle on special teams, and can not seem to hit the reset button fast enough after being scored on or scoring themselves. However, the turning point in this game was undoubtedly the Issac Ratcliffe tripping penalty in the third period. The Flyers seemed as though they had settled into the period and were playing a very smart and conservative period. The penalty upset the flow of the period and unfortunately for the boys in orange and black they were not able to readjust.

Next up, the Flyers start an eight game home stand opening against the Washington Capitals on Thursday.