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Flyers continue to find new ways to lose as they fall 5-4 in overtime to the Penguins

(Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

With a two-goal lead with only 8 minutes to go, the Philadelphia Flyers seemed destined to claim an unlikely 2 points from their cross-state rival. However, as the Flyers have done so well this season, they fumbled the bag in extraordinary fashion as the Penguins completed the comeback and then forced a turnover on the captain in overtime to seal the deal. The Flyers have now lost 3 straight games coming out of the All-Star break and 27 of their last 34.


For a rivalry game, the first 5 minutes were rather uneventful but considering where the two teams sat in the standings entering this game, it’s not surprising that it was missing some early theatrics. Sidney Crosby, in his bid for his 50th career goal against the Flyers and 500th in his career, had an early chance only a few minutes in on an odd-man rush. Instead of taking the shot, he waited out Carter Hart, only to drop a pass to an attended Penguins player, instead of Jake Guentzel who was rushing towards the net. 

The Flyers countered with an odd-man rush of their own but Travis Sanheim’s shot missed the net. On another odd-man rush shortly after, Travis Konecny was hooked and that sent the Flyers on a power play in an attempt to break the early dead-lock. However, having the 30th ranked power play face off against the 2nd best penalty kill turned out exactly how we all expected it would; very few chances and the better opportunities came from the team that was shorthanded. The Penguins had 3 shot attempts to the Flyers’ 1. 

Coming out of the defensive zone, the Flyers executed the zone exit to perfection, which started with the face-off win by Claude Giroux and ended with the puck in the back of the net. Ivan Provorov seemingly pushed Crosby into the Flyers net that caused the defensive zone face-off. After winning the draw, Justin Braun banked the puck off the boards to Provorov, who fended off his defender by getting it up quickly to Giroux. The puck was bouncing a little before Oskar Lindblom handed the puck back to the captain, who found himself on an odd man rush with Cam Atkinson. After playing a quick little give-and-go, Giroux ripped the puck past Casey DeSmith’s glove to the give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

The fun was short-lived as the Flyers allowed the Penguins to tie the game only 22 seconds later. Cycling the puck very well, the Penguins executed in quick order. Brian Boyle kept the puck in and rimmed it around the boards, where Zach Aston-Reese played a quick give-and-go with John Marino. The puck went back to the point to Boyle who executed a fake-shot-pass to Marcus Petterson whose pass was then perfectly deflected in by Dominik Simon. There was nothing Carter Hart could’ve done on that one. 

On a penalty handed to Justin Braun, the Penguins’ 11th ranked power play took the lead only 2 minutes and 25 seconds after tying it up. The Flyers failed to clear the puck and the Penguins executed in quick order yet again with some crisp passing that left the Flyers flat-footed. Kris Letang’s shot fluttered towards Travis Sanheim whose clearing attempt went right to Evgeni Malkin at the point. He one touched a pass to Crosby, who was wide open in his office and he made no mistake with his shot as he scored his 50th against the Flyers and 500th in his career. Capitalizing on their opportunities and Flyers mistakes, the Penguins went from trailing 1-0 to leading 2-1 in 2 minutes.


With the Flyers being one of the worst teams in the second period, entering the second stanza down 1 wasn’t where they wanted to be, especially against one of the better teams in the NHL. Scott Laughton, who had 10 points in his last 11 games which included points in his last 5, tied the game up only 57 seconds into the period.

Laughton and the Flyers returned the favour by making the Penguins pay for their turnovers and mistakes. James van Riemsdyk tried centering the puck to Konecny in front of the net, the puck bounced and Bryan Rust’s clearing attempt went straight to Laughton in the slot, who then made no mistake as he ripped a one-touch past the glove of DeSmith.

47 seconds after the Flyers had tied things up, Connor Bunnaman was called for a holding minor, somewhat subduing the momentum they had just gained from the tying goal. However, luckily for them they were able to kill the penalty and even had a chance shorthanded. For most of the first half of the second period, the Penguins really took control as they peppered Hart with scoring chance after scoring chance but the young netminder did his best to keep the game tied until an unlikely hero gave the Flyers a lead. 

The Flyers capitalized on yet another Penguins turnover, as Nick Seeler scored his first goal in exactly three years to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead. James van Riemsdyk’s initial shot was blocked with Brock McGinn picking up the loose puck, however Konecny stole it right back and fed it to the point where Seeler had all the time in the world to fire a shot. The shot he fired was a perfect one-timer with Scott Laughton serving as a screen in the middle. After all the saves made by Hart on one end, the Flyers gave their goaltender an unlikely 1 goal lead midway through the period.

The second line for the Flyers struck again with only a few minutes left in the second period to double their lead to 4-2. Scott Laughton’s initial breakaway attempt was stopped and even though van Riemsdyk missed the rebound chance, his miss went all the way to the point. Justin Braun one-timed van Riemsdyk’s miss, as he sent a seemingly harmless shot towards the net that went off Marcus Pettersson and past DeSmith who was well out of his crease.

Even though the Flyers scored 3 times on 13 shots in the second period, the unsung hero was Carter Hart who stopped all 18 shots fired his way, including several big stops with the game still tied.


With the Penguins being down 2 entering the third period, everyone figured they would throw everything including the kitchen sink towards the Flyers and Carter Hart. Less than two and a half minutes in, Isaac Ratcliffe gifted the Penguins with an early power play opportunity as he sent the puck well over the glass for a delay of game penalty. However, their power play only lasted 5 seconds as Jake Guentzel was called for a high-sticking penalty as he clipped Ivan Provorov. 

The Flyers did a much better job in the third period in terms of thwarting chances and opportunities for the Penguins. 12 minutes into the period and the Flyers outshot their rivals 4-2, the game opened up a lot more, and there were several odd-man rushes for both teams, but nothing was hitting the net. After getting called for a delay of game penalty earlier in the period, Ratcliffe was called again for a tripping penalty with about 8 minutes to go in regulation. 

With the Flyers up 4-2 and playing pretty well in the third period, the penalty to Ratcliffe opened the door for the Penguins as they were able to tie the game with 2 goals in a span of 18 seconds. The Penguins’ power play struck early to strike as Guentzel scored his 25th goal of the season to cut the deficit to one. 18 seconds later, Chad Ruhwedel tied the game on a broken and mystifying play. 

Crosby, Malkin, and Letang kept passing the puck around in the first 20 seconds of the man advantage. Crosby in his office, sent a perfect cross-ice pass to Letang whose shot deflected off a Flyer in front of the net, as Guentzel jumped on the loose rebound and cut the deficit in half. It initially seemed like the play could’ve been offside because the Flyers looked confused for about a split second as to how the puck had entered the zone off the ensuing draw. That split second was all the Penguins needed however as Danton Heinen scooped up the loose puck and found Ruhwedel wide open in the slot.


Overtime was short-lived as Kris Letang forced a turnover on Claude Giroux as he was entering the offensive zone. The only player back was Ivan Provorov as he had to fend off a 2 on 1 with Letang and Crosby. Letang held onto the puck until he fired a shot through Hart’s five-hole as the Penguins completed the late comeback and doused the Flyers 5-4 in overtime.

It seemed like the Flyers were about to pull-off the unlikely victory with a 4-2 lead with only 8 minutes to go but a penalty opened the door for the Penguins as they quickly scored 2 goals to tie things up. Momentum was on the Penguins’ side the rest of the way and they finished off the game in style.


Up next for the slumping Flyers are the Washington Capitals on Thursday night as they embark on a franchise-long 8 game home-stand.

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