In the front of back-to-back meetings at the Wells Fargo Center to close out the season series, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 7-2, on Monday evening.
Kevin Hayes (12th goal of the season), Shayne Gostisbehere (PPG, 9th) and Claude Giroux (15th) scored in the first period to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead. Travis Konecny earned primary assists on the latter two goals. Wade Allison (2nd) extended the lead to 4-0 in the second period.
In the third period, power plays goals by Sidney Crosby (21st) and Jason Zucker (8th) narrowed the game to 4-2. Joel Farabee (17th) subsequently re-opened a three goal lead and then Giroux (16th) added his second goal of the net on an empty netter. Robert Hägg (2nd) added some further insult to injury in the final 1:05.
Alex Lyon earned his first win of the season for the Flyers. He made 36 saves on 37 shots. For Pittsburgh, Casey DeSmith played the first two periods, stopping 33 of 37 shots. Tristan Jarry came in for the third period, denying five of seven shots.
The Flyers went 1-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The Flyers have habitually been playing from behind for weeks and often falling into early-multi-goal deficits. On this night, they flipped the script on the Penguins, who entered the game with the NHL's second-best record since March 4 (23-7-2). The video review reversal of the play in which Kevin Hayes was ultimately credited with the game's first goal was a springboard for the Flyers. This night, at least, was not going to be like far too many have gone for Philadelphia.
1) Over the first five minutes of the game, the Flyers had three of the game's first four shots on goal before Lyon made a clean save on Teddy Blueger after a Nicolas Aube-Kubel turnover high in the defensive zone. At 5:58, Hayes was credited -- after a video replay -- with a goal on what initially seemed to be a 10-bell glove save by DeSmith. Replays showed that Smith's glove was entirely behind the goal line. The assists went to Joel Farabee and Jakub Voracek.
Shortly thereafter, Lyon made a circus save; stick flying, contorting his body and pulling the puck away from the goal line with the fingers of his blocker.. There were then close calls at both ends with pucks trickling toward but not over the goal line.
2) The Penguins paid the price for a blatant interference penalty -- an offensive zone pick on Phil Myers -- by Kasperi Kapanen. At 14:08, with layers of traffic in front, Gostisbehere received a pass at center point from Konecny. He snapped off a shot that found the net. The secondary assist went to Giroux.
A little more than a minute later, at the 15:12 mark, Giroux opened a three-goal lead. Sean Couturier cycled the puck from the left boards to Konecny behind the net. TK made a nice touch pass out in front to a wide open Giroux in the slot. The Flyers' captain made no mistake. First period shots ended up 18-11 in the Flyers' favor.
Moving below the right circle, Laughton passed to Allison. Although the puck bounced, the rookie buried it upstairs from the slot for his 2nd NHL goal.
3) Over the course of the middle frame, the Flyers were consistently first on the puck in most of the battles and made second and third efforts. The Penguins did not match and the Flyers got multiple transition chances from it. DeSmith denied a Hayes breakaway as he sealed up the five hole. No goalie was stopping the Allison goal that made it 4-0 at 7:50. A stretch pass from Gostisbehere to Laughton caught the Penguins unaware.
4) The Penguins had a 37-second 4-on-3 power play late in the second period after Phil Myers was called for slashing. The Flyers came up with a faceoff win and a clear. In the waning seconds of the period, with manpower back to 5-on-4, Sidney Crosby thought he had a goal on his stick from the right side with Lyon all the way on the other side and half the net open. The future Hall of Famer hit the post. The Penguins took 1:15 of remaining power play time into the third period. Second period shots were 17-11 in the Flyers' favor (37-22 Flyers overall through 40 minutes).
5) The Flyers killed off the remaining penalty time on Myers but the Penguins went right back to the power play as Provorov was called for hooking. This time, Pittsburgh cashed in. Crosby scored a tough-angle deflection goal off a setup from Kris Letang. Evgeni Malkin got the secondary assist at 2;30.
At 4:03, the Penguins received yet another power play. The Flyers killed it off. At 6:28, Pittsburgh was awarded its fourth consecutive power play; a highly questionable goaltender interference penalty on Joel Farabee for incidental contact with Jarry well away from the crease after a breakaway try for Hayes was broken up. With four seconds left on the power play, Zucker tipped home a John Marino point shot to cut the Pittsburgh deficit to 4-2.
Lyon lost his stick again and then had to face down Crosby as the period neared the halfway point. The Flyers escaped without a goal.
The Flyers restored a three-goal lead at 11:37. Farabee from the right side, took the puck to the net and beat Jarry. The assists went to Voracek and Travis Sanheim. The Flyers were unable to extend the lead on their third power play but, with Jarry pulled for an extra attacker, the Penguins turned over the puck and Giroux guided home an empty net goal from the defensive blueline. With Jarry back in the net, Farabee worked a give-and-go with Hägg and the defenseman buried a shot from the slot. Voracek got the secondary assist at 18:55.