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Game 3 Wrap: Penguins Down Flyers, 5-1

April 15, 2018, 7:15 PM ET [695 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT

An excellent first period that produced only a 1-0 deficit. A parade to the penalty box thereafter, and onslaught of Pittsburgh Penguins' goals doomed the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-1 loss in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon.

Game 4 is in Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Flyers will need a win to send the series back to Pittsburgh knotted at two games apiece rather than facing elimination.

Sidney Crosby (4th goal of the series), Derick Brassard (power play, 1st), Evgeni Malkin (power play. 2nd), Brian Dumolin (1st) and Justin Schultz (power play, 1st) scored for the Penguins. Patric Hörnqvist (2nd assist), Phil Kessel (1st assist), Letang (2nd and 3rd assists), Crosby (1st, 2nd and 3rd assists) and Malkin (1st assist) collected helpers.

Matt Murray earned the win in goal, stopping 26 of 27 shots. He tracked the puck well and came up with a critical early save on Nolan Patrick off a rush. Patrick was unable to put the puck over Murray's glove. Eleven of Murray's 26 saves came during the first period.

The Penguins went 3-for-7 on the power play. Philadelphia took seven penalties -- six that left them shorthanded -- from the opening 72 seconds of the second period through the 10:26 mark of the third period. Apart from the Penguins taking over control of the game via special teams, it also left some key Flyers personnel overtaxed on special teams and took many others out of the flow of play.

For example, of Ivan Provorov's 24:46 of ice time, he had exert 8:11 of it in penalty killing situations. Of Sean Couturier's 26:18 of ice time in Game 3, a whopping 15:05 (6:02 on penalty kills, 9:03 on power plays) was during special teams play. Just 11:13 was at even strength.

The Flyers went 0-for-6 on their own power plays. The early ones generated many good looks at the net and crisp puck movement, but no goals. The latter few were not as good.

"I thought we were on, I thought we had some really good looks and sharp and we didn’t get one obviously early on when we could have when we really needed one but I thought the sharpness and crispness was there. We got sloppy later in the game. We weren’t as effective. But, hey, every part of our game we can be better and I said coming out of game 2 I thought we were going to have to be better tonight in order to win game one here at home but we didn’t do that and now we’re going to have to make sure we take advantage of the two days in between and be ready for game number 4," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said.

Travis Sanheim (1st career playoff goal) scored the lone Flyers goal. Jakub Voracek (2nd assist of the series) and Nolan Patrick (1st career playoff assist) got the assists.

Brian Elliott took the loss for the Flyers, stopping 21 of 26 shots. For the most part, the Flyers issues in Game 3 were not about goaltending play. Elliott perhaps overplayed the Crosby wraparound sequence. The backbreaking Dumolin goal that made it 4-0 a mere five seconds after Malkin's 4-on-3 power play marker was a lost faceoff at center ice that was followed by a shot right through the five hole from the left circle above the dot near the upper hash mark. The other goals were not on Elliott at all. He came up with one good early save and several with the score 4-1 early in the third period.

“I’m sure just as much as any other guy in this room. I think we know that’s not how to carry over what we did last game. It’s kind of get back to what made us so good in the last game and we have a couple of days here to refocus and look at things. We’ll have a game plan for sure," Elliott said.

Uncharacteristically, Elliott pinned all of the blame for the fourth goal on breakdowns by the team in front of him and did not also say it was a shot he could have stopped.

"We can’t get beat off of a neutral zone draw like that and have a guy walking down Main Street. It’s just another thing that I don’t think we were ready for right off the draw there," Elliott.

Far and away, Pittsburgh was the more opportunistic team in Game 3. The Flyers were their own worst enemies at times, too.

"I don’t think hockey like that today is going to win us a series. I think in game two, we won 5-1, but we played more responsibly obviously. What did we take four penalties in the second game? They didn’t score, but seven is too many. It’s hard to play against that team if you don’t stay out of the box," Voracek said.

At the end of the day, the slew of Flyers penalties in general and the stick infractions in particular mortally wounded their chances in Game 3.

“They’re a fast team and if you’re catching up to them you’re going to have stick penalties and things like that. It’s not time to panic here, we play Wednesday here our guys will be ready and we’re going to put this one behind us. We’ll do exactly what we did after game one, we’re going to look at what we did wrong and fix them," Claude Giroux said.


The Giroux line started against the Crosby line. The first shift saw Michael Raffl land a big hit on Brian Dumolin and Giroux get knocked down by Jake Guentzel at the end of the shift.

At 1:15, Nolan Patrick rumbled up the ice, beating Olli Määttä to outside and going in on Murray. The Penguins goalie denied what would would have been a highlight reel goal

Travis Konecny landed a big hit on Chad Ruhwedel at 1:30. Six seconds later, the game's first after-the-whistle scrum ensued. Konecny did a head-snap to try to "sell" a phantom high stick by Ruhwedel. The teams remained at full strength.

Travis Sanheim joined the rush to take a cross-ice pass from Jori Lehterä but was stopped from the left slot at 2:08. He got some rough treatment after the whistle from Zach Aston-Reese but the confrontation did not escalate.

Giroux collected a Kris Letang turnover in front and fed Raffl, who steered a tip-shot wide of the net from point-blank range.

Simmonds broke up a play at the blueline. At the other end, Konecny wasn't quite able to saucer a pass to Filppula going to the net. On the next shift, Scott Laughton had a great scoring chance near the doorstep. Shots were 3-0 Flyers through 5:43. Philly also won four of the game's first five faceoffs.

Pittsburgh had their second shot -- and prime scoring chance -- at 9:30 on a Ton Kunhackl wrister from the right slot.

The Flyers then paid dearly for an awful gaffe by Raffl. On the defensive half boards with Jamie Oleksiak bearing in on him, Raffl turned a puck over to Hörnqvist. Crosby scored on a wraparound to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead on their 3rd shot of the game. Hörnqvist received the lone assist.

At 11:55, the Flyers' got the game's first power play. Konecny was tripped by Bryan Rust along the boards. The first unit generated no pressure. With the second unit out, Sanheim created a momentary scramble around the net but the Penguins cleared the puck.

A Pittsburgh 3-on-2 rush after Lindblom lost the puck seemed to fizzle out but then the Penguins' got their first power play at 14:41 after Brandon Manning tripped Hörnqvist behind the Flyers' net. Elliott made a good save on Kessel with about 55 seconds left. The rest of the penalty was killed in good shape, although the Pens had an offensive zone draw on a deflected puck out of play with 3 seconds left.

Giroux fired a shot on net, using a moving Patrick as a screen with 2:49 left. Voracek joined the top line as the shift resumed had a scoring chance off a puck battle win.

Filppula and Konecny had back to back chances off a transition rush. The Flyers didn't score but got their second power play on a slash by Carl Hagelin at 18:17. The Flyers generated all sorts of pressure but no goal. The threat finally ended after an intercepted Voracek pass and clear down the ice. The Flyers took 17 seconds of carryover time into the 2nd pd.

First period shots were 11-4 Flyers. Pittsburgh blocked a dozen Flyer attempts (Flyers blocked 5). Credited hits were 14-13 Flyers (Raffl led with 3). Faceoffs were 9-7 Flyers (Couturier was 6-for-9).


The Flyers did not score on their very brief carryover power play time. Pittsburgh went on its second power play at 1:12 as Giroux was called for a stick slash on Crosby.

Filppula pressured a turnover on an entry attempt and cleared down the ice. Gudas and then Read followed with clears; the latter from the neutral zone. Pittsburgh then finally got set up and scored. After a shot from up high, MacDonald fell down and Kessel got to the puck. He shoveled to Brassard, who scored at 2:48. The assists went to Kessel and Letang as the Penguins opened a 2-0 lead.

Konecny generated the Flyers' first offensive zone pressure of the period. Four-on-four play ensued at 5:19 on offsetting high-sticking (Justin Schultz) and interference (Konecny) penalties.

The Penguins won a draw in the offensive zone. Elliott left out a rebound on an Oleksiak point shot but erased it on a Conor Sheary followup. Voracek committed a hooking penalty on Sheary at 5:56. The Penguins went on 4-on-3 power play.

On the 4-on-3 power play, Malkin made it 3-0, burying a one-time from the right circle at 6:48. The assists went to Letang and Crosby at 6:48. Back to 4-on-4, the Penguins scored again a mere five seconds later. Crosby plowed forward on the center ice faceoff against Giroux and fed Dumolin, who ripped home a shot through a massive five-hole opening from the top of the left circle to make it 4-0. Crosby got the lone assist.

The Flyers went to the power play at 7:53. In neutral zone scrum, Malkin hit Konecny away from the puck near the benches and received an interference penalty. The Flyers worked hard for the puck along the walls but a pair of Gostisbehere one-timers from the right side -- the first one whiffed upon, the second an easy save -- were all they got out of it.

At 10:35, the Flyers took a too-many-men penalty. Philly survived without further damage.

Sheary outworked MacDonald near the net for a good scoring chance at 13:09. Elliott made just his 10th save of the game.

Sanheim got the Flyers on the board at 13:42. Voracek won a puck battle up high in the Pittsburgh zone and the rookie defenseman, from center point, rifled a shot through traffic and into the net. Voracek and Patrick got the assists as the gap was cut to 4-1 at 13:42.

Moved up to the Patrick line place of the struggling Lindblom, Laughton stirred the pot with Letang. On the next shift, Sanheim joined the rush to trigger an open shot for Giroux but the Flyers' captain missed the net from the top of the right circle.

The Penguins had a great chance off the rush to restore a four-goal lead. Elliott denied Hagelin with about 2:30 left in the period.

The Flyers could not get a bounce to go their way on a wrist shot by Giroux with all sorts of traffic in front.

Provorov was dragged down by Brassard behind the Flyers' net. Philly went back to the power play with 1:09 left. Giroux had a great look at the net but a rebound eluded Patrick. The Flyers took 51 secodns of carryover time to the third period.

Second period shots were 13-8 Pittsburgh (19-17 Flyers overall).


With 14 seconds of carryover time left, Voracek tried to fire a shot from the right side through a screen. Murray made the save.

Konecny joined the Patrick line with Laughton going to the Filppula line. At 2:27, Gudas laid out and blocked a Brassard shot from the right circle.

Sheary blatantly tripped Sanheim on the ensuing faceoff. Sanheim gave him a cross-check in retaliation. Both infractions were let go. Off a neutral zone battle, though, Laughton was penalized for a high stick on Crosby at 3:06. The Flyers got through the kill but lost two precious minutes off the clock.

Pittsburgh went back to the power play yet again at 6:13. Voracek returned to the box for a glancing high stick on Oleksiak's back. The Flyers paid the price again. Schultz ripped home a center point shot at 7:08 for a 5-1 lead. The assists went to Malkin and Crosby.

Couturier turned over the puck high in the offensive zone for a 3-on-1 counterattack by Pittsburgh. Elliott stopped Rust at the right post.

At 10:26, the Flyers went back on the penalty kill get again. Gudas was called for tripping Hörnqvist.

With 4:17 left, Crosby was penalized for hooking Konecny. The second unit generated late pressure and another Flyers power play with 2:15 left as Riley Sheahan closed his hand on the puck near the Penguins net after Lindblom centered a puck in front just before the power play expired.

Third period shots were 9-8 Pittsburgh (27-26 Flyers overall).
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