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Flyers Drop Weekend Set, Petersen Allows 7 Goals in Disappointing Loss to Penguins

(Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

This was not a game that the Philadelphia Flyers should have lost. They battled through fatigue and emotional turmoil to claw their way back but Cal Petersen did them no favours with soft goals killing momentum time and time again.

The Pittsburgh Penguins scored twice in the first period to the Flyers’ one, then the Flyers scored three goals in the second period to the Penguins’ two, before the Penguins scored three in the third to the Flyers’ two. Overall, the Penguins came out on top with a 7-6 victory and inched closer to the Flyers in the standings with plenty of games still in hand.

Sidney Crosby scored a goal and added 4 assists, Bryan Rust scored twice and added an assist, while Tristan Jarry barely earned the win with just 16 saves on 22 shots. Tyson Foerster scored twice and added an assist, Travis Sanheim scored two goals as well, and Olle Lycksell and Sean Couturier added 2 helpers apiece. Unfortunately, Petersen allowed 7 goals on 32 shots.

The Flyers knew they had their plate full coming into a weekend back-to-back set against divisional rivals in New York and Pittsburgh. Although they played a fantastic game yesterday they came out as the hard-luck loser against the Rangers but they should not be discouraged by how they played and if they brought that same intensity today against the Penguins, they should have been able to walk away with the two points.

Without Travis Konecny for consecutive games, the Flyers recalled Olle Lycksell and went back to the 12/6 formation with Egor Zamula being the odd man out. Lycksell was skating on the fourth line with Nicolas Deslauriers and Scott Laughton while Marc Staal remained in the lineup on the third pair with Jamie Drysdale. Cal Petersen earned his first start in six games, looking for his third win of the season.

As for the Penguins, it’s been a tough season as they entered today sitting in 7th place in the Metropolitan Division and were 9 points out of the final Wild Card spot but held plenty of games in hand. The offense has completely revolved around Sidney Crosby with Jake Guentzel sidelined for the next four weeks.

Crosby had 31 goals and 56 points before today’s puck drop, followed by Guentzel’s 52 points, Evgeni Malkin’s 43, Erik Karlsson’s 41, and Kris Letang’s 34. Tristan Jarry earned the start and although his record is tough look at – 15-17-4 – he sported a 2.46 G.A.A. and a .916 SV%.


Just 2:11 into the game and after a very good starting shift from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Philadelphia Flyers’ fourth line went to work in the offensive zone and gathered the game’s first goal. Scott Laughton fired a hard shot from the point that was eventually re-directed in by Travis Sanheim. Sanheim did a fantastic job at keeping the puck alive before heading towards the net, Olle Lycksell earned the primary assist from his knees, and Laughton extended his point streak to 7 games.

Sidney Crosby tied the game up with 10:11 remaining in the period after he finished off a juicy rebound. Bryan Rust deflected a Rickard Rakell point-shot that Cal Petersen stopped, but the rebound fell right to Crosby in the blue paint for his 32nd goal of the season and his 55th against the Flyers in his career.

The Penguins relentless pressure was rewarded after Marcus Pettersson’s point shot was deflected by Rust who made a bee-line towards the slot with 2:45 remaining. Crosby earned an assist after finding Pettersson at the point and for Rust it was his 17th goal of the season.

Not the period the Flyers were hoping for as the Penguins turned it up a notch after Sanheim’s tally. The Penguins walked into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead and an 11-8 advantage in shots.


John Tortorella must have said something to spark the Flyers because it only took them 55 seconds into the period to tie things up. Tortorella juggled the lines a little and placed Laughton between Tyson Foerster and Owen Tippett. Tippett’s shot from deep got to Foerster in front of the net and he finished off the opportunity for his 12th of the season.

57 seconds later, Lars Eller was given a double minor penalty for high sticking – which was confirmed after a video review – Morgan Frost in the offensive zone. It took the Flyers almost 140 seconds just to set up and within the first few seconds they turned it over and Jamie Drysdale was forced into taking a slashing penalty with Reilly Smith barreling in on a breakaway with 1:38 still remaining in the penalty.

Sanheim was then found guilty of a tripping minor on Rakell with 9:48 remaining in the period. The Los Angeles Kings allowed a power play goal last night against Anaheim, catapulting the Flyers into the top spot in the NHL. Unfortunately it was short-lived as Rust ripped a snap-shot from the point past Petersen blocker-side, 1:03 into the man advantage.

Drysdale essentially ran back to the locker room after taking a hard hit from Jansen Harkins with 8:06 remaining. Harkins got Drysdale flush on the shoulder and he immediately clutched his shoulder and headed off before a scrum ensued. Out of the scrum, it was just Nicolas Deslauriers who was assessed with a penalty, sending the Penguins power play back onto the ice.

With 16 seconds left in the power play, Petersen’s rough afternoon continued as Emil Bemström’s shot fluttered past the goaltender as he walked in from the corner to give the Penguins a two-goal lead with just over six minutes remaining.

It hadn’t been the best showing for the Flyers but they kept sticking around, and with 3:26 remaining in the period and with just 12 shots on goal, Sanheim absolutely unloaded with a bomb from the point that beat Jarry for his second of the game. Sean Couturier cleanly won the draw, which allowed Sanheim to walk into the shot.

14 seconds later, Sanheim was assessed with an interference minor after he took down Crosby who was making a bee-line towards the net. 48 seconds into the penalty kill, Laughton reclaimed his goal after finishing off a wrap-around attempt from Noah Cates. Laughton dumped a pass to Cates at the blue line before he made a move on Erik Karlsson that tripped him up. Cates then attempted a wrap-around but the puck bounced right to Laughton with Jarry down and no defensemen in sight.

The second period got a little out of hand in the last 8.5 minutes as the teams combined for 4 goals in a span of 5:21. The Flyers looked listless through the first 35 minutes but looked to have woken up after the Drysdale injury. The Penguins carried a 22-16 edge in shots heading into the third.


To start the third period, Foerster went down in a heap after taking a Tippett snap shot straight to the knee cap. He struggled mightily to get back onto his feet before the officials blew the play dead and allowed the trainers to come onto the ice and help the youngster.

3:26 into the frame, Evgeni Malkin was assessed a hooking minor but it was another wasted effort with the extra attacker as they barely set up until the final 30 seconds.

The Penguins regained the lead but the play originally started with Marc Staal trying to get the puck out of the zone from behind his own net with Malkin chasing him down. He lost the puck, the puck returned back deep in their own zone, and Malkin worked hard on Staal again before he set up Drew O’Connor for a one-timer from the short-side with 13:19 remaining.

2 minutes later Rakell scored his first goal in 16 games after he beat Petersen short-side again. Crosby set that goal up after beating Staal in the corner and then feeding Rakell with a one-hand pass behind the net. The goal was Rakell’s 6th of the season and the assist provided Crosby with his 4th point of the game.

A minute and a half later, the resiliency of the Flyers was on full display after Cam York ripped a hard snap-shot off the rush past Jarry’s blocker with 9:50 remaining. Joel Farabee had an abbreviated breakaway just before the goal, he looked to have been tripped up, but the official on sight made sure to let him know that he was not going to call a penalty – worked out in their favour.

It’s very rare that you don’t look forward to power plays but the Flyers futility has made that sentiment all too real. 22 seconds after York’s tally, Rakell was sent to the box for tripping as they looked to snap out of their 3-for-35 slump. It did not happen. 

You just had that feeling brewing that Petersen was going to allow another gimme, and with 4:47 left in regulation, Kris Letang’s point shot knuckled past Petersen after being set up by Crosby – for his 5th point of the game.

With 3:40 remaining in regulation, Tortorella pulled Petersen for the extra attacker. With the Flyers zipping shots high and wide for 70 seconds, the Penguins were nailed for a tripping minor after Crosby stuck his skates out to take down Laughton in the corner.

With a 6-on-4 advantage, Laughton fed Couturier at the side of the net and with everyone thinking he would take the shot, he one-touched it to Foerster in the slot with a wide-open net to shoot at for his 2nd of the game with 2:02 left.

With the net empty again, the Flyers struggled to track the puck and get set up. It was another one-goal defeat during a weekend series that they needed to split at the very least.


The Flyers return home to play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night (7:00pm ET, NBCSP).

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