The Philadelphia Flyers compete against their in-state rivals, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in a shootout.
Tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers were successful as a team. They matched every move of a playoff rival en-route to securing a shootout victory. Following a demolishing defeat, the Flyers are now 6-0-2 after allowing six goals or more in a loss.
Unfortunately, Philadelphia bottomed out in 2020-2021 on eight occasions.
“It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” The Flyers have taken abuse this season. If the fight went to the judges, they would lose by unanimous decision. Philadelphia didn’t get knocked out yet, however. The Flyers may have rebounded off the ropes.
Heading into tonight’s game, Philadelphia was the underdog, as they should be. If you read between the lines, you would have known the Flyers were a Penguin trap tonight. In a very evenly matched game, Philadelphia veterans bested Sidney Crosby one more time. Pittsburgh is a playoff team, but they aren’t better than the Flyers head-to-head this season.
If it felt as if Philadelphia played a complete game tonight, it’s because they battled for over sixty minutes. Yes, Jakub Voracek would call that a cliche, but it’s what the Flyers did tonight. Defensively, they blocked more shots and threw their body around. Matching the Penguins’ pace through regulation and overtime earned Philadelphia the victory.
Unfortunately, the Flyers powerplay continued to struggle. Opportunites were open on numerous occasions, but they couldn’t finish. High-scoring powerplay units set their position from behind the net. Philadelphia routinely sets up along the blue-line. It’s worth consideration to change the powerplay formula with new players debuting.
For example, the Flyers leave shorthanded opportunities for opponents via turnovers at the blue-line. By controlling the puck behind the net, the opposing penalty kill isn’t cheating into transition. Brian Dumoulin had a breakaway in the first period, which could have changed the tone.
Scoreless after the first period, something had to change. Then, Crosby made a highlight play with his on-ice awareness.
Crosby handed his stick off to a teammate, grabbed another from the bench, and promptly scored after Hart mishandled a puck.
It was a sight to behold. Philadelphia loves to hate Crosby, but you had to be impressed. Pittsburgh took the lead, 1-0.
After surrendering a goal, Allison nearly scored on the powerplay in his NHL debut. He got into the dirty areas against Jarry, displaying a physical approach at the crease. In place of Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Allison played with the same tenacity but more intelligently. Now, the Flyers are 1-1-1 this season when a prospect debuts in the NHL (spoiler alert.)
Again, Philadelphia relied on veteran leadership to get onto the scoreboard. Voracek took the high percentage shot on Jarry from the slot, tying the game. He cruised through the Penguins’ defense. It was almost as impressive as Crosby’s sequence. There was not a ton of space to make it a 1-1 game early in the third period.
Unfortunately, the mood shifted when Philippe Myers attempted to put a puck deep in the offensive zone, but it caught Nolan Patrick in the head. Everyone knows the history Patrick has with migraines. Following the game, Alain Vigneault mentioned everything is okay. Patrick would not return, helped towards the locker room by Oskar Lindblom.
In the final minutes of regulation, Pittsburgh tried to embellish stick lifts to draw penalties. Evan Rodrigues flopped nearby Joel Farabee. The referees didn’t make the call, and the game would reach overtime, tied 1-1.
Flyers take Penguins to OT
Vigneault pointed out the Penguins were the better team in the overtime period. Aside from Crosby committing a tripping minor with 1:57 remaining, Pittsburgh did apply the pressure on Hart. Hart, exhibiting confidence, turned away every high-percentage look.
During the powerplay, Shayne Gostisbehere offered the best shot on Jarry. Jarry was as stubborn as Hart, forcing a shootout.
Up next for the Flyers
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers host the Washington Capitals on April 17th, 2021, at 12:30pm. The game will be on NBC Sports Philadelphia and the NHL Network.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre