Flyers Gameday: 3/6/21 @ PIT
GAME 21: FLYERS @ PENGUINS
Alain Vigneault's Philadelphia Flyers (12-5-3) are in Western Pennsylvania to take on Mike Sullivan's Pittsburgh Penguins (12-9-1) at PPG Paints Arena. This is the final of three straight games in Pittsburgh -- the first time in Flyers' franchise regular season history that the club will play three consecutive road games in the same city. Game time tonight is 1:00 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
On Tuesday, despite the absence of Sidney Crosby (COVID-19 protocol) from the Penguins lineup, the Flyers went down to a 5-2 defeat.
After a scoreless first period, Joel Farabee (9th goal of the season) gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead. The Penguins then surged for an even strength breakaway and a power play goal by Kasperi Kapanen (4th and 5th) and then a goal in front by Bryan Rust (7th).
Farabee briefly got the Flyers back within 3-2 with his second goal of the game (10th of the season) but a counterrack goal by Cody Ceci (2nd) just 1:08 later restored a two-goal margin for Pittsburgh. Mike Matheson (2nd) scored on a botched attempt to get an extra attacker out for a 6-on-5.
Carter Hart stopped 22 of 27 shots. Despite not facing an overwhelming number of shots, he was too often left to fend for himself on high-danger chances. The final goal came as he tried to leave the net for an extra attacker and got caught in no-man's land after the Flyers failed to get the puck in deep enough. Tristan Jarry denied 38 of 40 Flyers shots.
Travis Konecny returned to the Flyers' lineup in the game after exiting the NHL's COVID-19 protocol on Sunday. Nicolas Aube-Kubel was a healthy scratch.
On Thursday, Crosby exited the COVID-19 protocol while Farabee went into the protocol. The Flyers erased a cavernous 3-0 deficit to defeat the Penguins in regulation, 4-3.
Flyers team captain Claude Giroux led the way. Playing center on a new line with Oskar Lindblom (two assists) and Nicolas Aube-Kubel (two assists), Giroux scored the second period goal that narrowed the deficit to 2-1, assisted on the game-tying goal in the third period, and then scored the winning goal.
Closely spaced goals by Kris Letang (5th goal of the season), ex-Flyer Mark Friedman (1st NHL goal) and Jared McCann (4th) built a 3-0 lead for Pittsburgh before the game was even four-minutes old. At 11:32 of the first period, Sean Couturier (6th) got one back on the power play.
The Flyers had numerous good chances over the second period but trailed 3-2 entering the third period after Giroux (2nd) scored a rebound goal with 13:11 remaining in the frame. In the third period, a Giroux shot that went in off Scott Laughton (6th) tied the game at 13:37 and then Giroux finished off the comeback with 2:08 left.
Brian Elliott battled hard to make 26 saves on 29 shots to earn the win. A glove save on Evgeni Malkin with the Flyers trailing 3-2 in the third period proved vital to the comeback win. Jarry stopped 31 of 35 saves in a losing cause.
The Flyers went 1-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Over roughly the final 12 minutes of the first period onward, the Flyers were the better team as they set about chipping away at their deficit. The last time the Flyers overcame a 3-0 deficit to win in regulation was back December 21, 2015, against the St Louis Blues (4-3 final).
Ellliott is slated to get the start in goal again, with Carter Hart going on Sunday at home against the Washington Capitals. Phil Myers, who was on the receiving end of a late and high hit from Pittsburgh's Anthony Angello in the second period on Thursday and was not able to complete the game, is doubtful for Saturday's game.
If Myers is unable to go, he will be replaced either by Erik Gustafsson or Nate Prosser.
Pittsburgh could get some starters back in the lineup on Saturday. Key defenseman Brian Dumoulin (lower-body injury) could be activated from IR, as could forward Evan Rodrigues. Juusi Riikola may also be cleared to exit IR.
Friedman got injured on Thursday, suffering what looked like a possible concussion. On the play, Friedman attempted to deliver a body check to Nolan Patrick but ended up getting by far the worse of the play.
Apart from a puckhandling mistake that proved costly on Thursday (usually one of the strong areas of his game), Jarry played well in each of the first two games of the three-game set.
25 James van Riemsdyk - 14 Sean Couturier - 86 Joel Farabee
21 Scott Laughton - 13 Kevin Hayes - 11 Travis Konecny
23 Oskar Lindblom - 28 Claude Giroux - 93 Jake Voracek
82 Connor Bunnaman - 19 Nolan Patrick -- 62 Nicolas Aube-Kubel
9 Ivan Provorov - 61 Justin Braun
6 Travis Sanheim - 39 Nate Prosser
8 Robert Hägg - 53 Shayne Gostisbehere
37 Brian Elliott
[79 Carter Hart]
PP1: Giroux, Couturier, JVR, Farabee, Gostisbehere.
PP2: Voracek, Hayes, Patrick, Konecny, Provorov.
Scratches: 5 Phil Myers (apparent upper-body injury, doubtful), 56 Erik Gustafsson (healthy), 12 Michael Raffl (hand)
Injured reserve: 48 Morgan Frost (shoulder surgery).
COVID-19 protocol: 86 Joel Farabee (exited today)
59 Jake Guentzel - 89 Sidney Crosby - 17 Bryan Rust
19 Jared McCann - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 42 Kasperi Kapanen
46 Zach Aston-Reese - 53 Teddy Blueger - 13 Brandon Tanev
18 Sam Lafferty - 14 Mark Jankowski - 9 Evan Rodrigues or 57 Anthony Angello
8 Brian Dumoulin - 58 Kris Letang
28 Marcus Pettersson - 6 John Marino
4 Cody Ceci - 5 Mike Matheson
35 Tristan Jarry
1 Casey DeSmith
PP1: Rust, Crosby, Guentzel, Malkin, Letang
PP2: Jankowski, Kapanen, McCann, Matheson, Marino
Scratches: 2 Chad Ruhwedel (healthy), 7 Colton Sceviour (healthy), 9 Evan Rodrigues (IR, lower body) or 57 Anthony Angello (healthy), 52 Mark Friedman (upper-body, questionable).
Injured reserve: 16 Jason Zucker (lower body), 50 Juuso Riikola (upper body, close to return).
COVID-19 protocol: None.