In the second match of a three-game set, the visiting Philadelphia Flyers came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in regulation, 4-3, at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday evening.
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 Claude 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 put the Flyers ahead to stay with 2:08 remaining.
Brian Elliott battled hard to make 26 saves on 29 shots to earn the win. Tristan 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.
Sidney Crosby returned to the Penguins' lineup for this game after two days in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol. Meanwhile, Flyers' right winger Joel Farabee was placed in COVID-19 protocol.
With the Flyers trailing 3-2, Travis Konecny put the puck in deep. Jarry turned it over to Konecny. TK then passed perfectly to Giroux, whose deep slot shot bounced in off Laughton to tie the game at 3-3 with 6:23 remaining in the third period. At 17:52, Giroux potted a backhand pass from Aube-Kubel to put the Flyers ahead for the first time. Oskar Lindblom earned his second assist of the game on the play.
1) The Flyers hung Elliott out to dry early in the game. Right off the hop on the game's first shift, Elliott had to stop a point-blank shot by Brian Rust off a Crosby centering pass. Then, over the disastrous span of three Penguins goals in 1:11, a harmless-looking Letang shot from the right point became dangerous when Travis Sanheim attempted to glove it and accidentally created a re-direct. It was a fluky play but a frustrating one. Then the Flyers yielded a 2-on-1 and Friedman, after blowing past Phil Myers, scored on a rebound played to him after Sanheim tried to swat the puck to safety. Another odd-man rush led to Kasperi Kapanen feeding McCann at the net, who broke his stick on the play but nonetheless tipped the puck upstairs.The Flyers finally called timeout. A frustrated Nolan Patrick was penalized for boarding Friedman.
2) Killing off the Patrick penalty was a stabilizer for the Flyers over the remainder of the first period, as Philadelphia got the better of the play. Travis Konecny hit the crossbar twice and was robbed by Jarry on a power play scoring chance. However, moments after Jarry stopped Konecny, TK fed across to Couturier who buried a shot glove side high from the left slot through a James van Riemsdyk screen. Jakub Voracek got the secondary assist. The Flyers second power play was not nearly as good as the first but Patrick had a late scoring chance. First period shots were 11-11. The Penguins only had one shot over the latter half of the period.
3) The Flyers played improved defense to start the second period but it took a little while to get rolling again offensively. Jarry made a great save on Giroux off a Nicolas Aube-Kubel rebound but there was no stopping Giroux from potting the rebound of point-blank chance for Oskar Lindblom that the goalie somehow got a piece of to deny before Giroux scored at 6:49. Jarry came up big several more times over the balance of the third period including a stop on a Grade-A chance for Couturier. Patrick was notably very engaged on both sides of the puck. Jarry stopped a bouncing puck with Scott Laughton lurking by the net, looking for an equalizer.
4) With about 2:30 left in the second period, the Flyers survived a scramble around their own net. Elliott made two additional vital saves before the Flyers generated another wave of pressure before the second period expired. Second period shots were 12-10 in the Flyers' favor. Additionally, after snapping a shot on net, Phil Myers was shaken up by a late hit by Pittsburgh's Anthony Angello. Earlier in the period, Friedman attempted to throw a hit on Patrick, but ended up on the receiving end as Patrick dipped his shoulder. Friedman was woozy leaving the ice. Neither player returned to the game.
5) Chances were harder to come by for the Flyers through the first half of the third period. Michael Raffl had a shorthanded bid denied by Jarry after Elliott made a big save at the other end. With 9:46 left, Elliott flashed the leather to deny a wide open Malkin from the slot. After the Laughton and Giroux goals turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead, the Flyers blocked several shots and iced the puck a couple of times. Finally, Elliott made a buzzer-beating save to nail down the win.