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Postgame 5: Good Start Gone Bad

In the first match of a three-game set, the visiting Philadelphia Flyers fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-2, at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night.

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer / philadelphiaflyers.com

In the first match of a three-game set, the visiting Philadelphia Flyers fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-2, at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night.

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. 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.

The Penguins played without the services of team captain Sidney Crosby, who was placed in the COVID-19 protocol earlier in the day. Former Flyers defenseman Mark Friedman, claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh last Thursday, made his Penguins debut.

TURNING POINT

The Flyers were the better team in the game right up until Shayne Gostisbehere's attempted cross-ice pass high in the attack zone was picked off by Kaperi Kapanen and resulted in a game-tying goal 1:07 after Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead. The Penguins proceeded to score each of the next two goals after that to grab a 3-1 lead through two periods.

MELTZER'S TAKE

1) The Flyers had two power plays back-to-back early in the first period. They generated a lot of pressure on the first, including a scramble around the Pittsburgh net, and a late chance on the second. A couple of non-costly turnovers on weak passes led to lost possession but no damage the other way. In the Philadelphia end of the ice, Hart tracked the puck well and made big stops on a 4-on-2, a dangerous deflection by Sam Lafferty and a Kris Letang shot through traffic. 

2) The Flyers threw pucks at the net from a variety of angles at Jarry in the first period, played well in the neutral zone to deny entries and broke out effectively until the latter portion of the frame. Overall, the Flyers had an all-situations 76.9% Corsi but not much in the way of truly dangerous scoring chances. The Penguins actually had more scoring chances despite the shot differential to their disadvantage. 

3) Turnovers played a big part in the first two goals of the second period. At 2:32, the Penguins paid for a neutral zone turnover by Teddy Blueger under pressure from Sean Couturier and Joel Farabee. JVR took a defenseman with him to the net, then a perfect pass from Couturier to Farabee led to slam dunk for a 1-0 lead. Just 67 seconds later, though, an ill-advised cross ice pass by Shayne Gostisbehere led to a Kapanen breakaway and goal after Hart bit on a fake slap shot. Kapanen scored through the five-hole. Shortly thereafter, Hart erased a second Gostisbehere turnover.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: poetic. #AnytimeAnywhere | #PHIvsPIT pic.twitter.com/RZBGDUYtMd

4) Loose or non-existent coverage led to the next two Pittsburgh goals in the second period. The Flyers were lucky not to get scored on in a scramble around their net, but had so such luck on an ensuing penalty kill as the Penguins got Philly to chasing and reacting rather than pressuring and Kapanen had a slam dunk off a nice feed from Jake Guentzel at 8:41. Hart denied Kapanen point blank on a hat trick bid but then the Flyers defense hung their goalie out to dry as two different attackers set up shop at the net behind fronting defensemen Ivan Prorovov and Gostisbehere. Rust tipped a puck and then, on the rebound, beat Hart from the doorstep at 10:45, assisted by Kris Letang and Malkin. The Flyers made a late-period push but remained down by two goals.

5) The Flyers were sloppy on two early third period power plays. As play continued, Voracek wasn't able finish a good chance off the rush and Gostisbehere missed the net off a feed from Couturier. Jared McCann had a chance to build a 4-1 lead but Hart stayed with him on a breakaway. Near the nine-minute mark, Jarry stopped Claude Giroux in close on a Kevin Hayes rebound. Immediately thereafter, a Provorov giveaway to Malkin was erased by Hart's glove.

With nine minutes left, the Flyers top line drew back within a goal (3-2) as the puck rattled around in front from Travis Sanheim to JVR then off Jarry and right to Farabee for his second goal of the game. Hart then erased yet another Flyers turnover but the Penguins subsequently scored a transition goal as Ceci tapped in a McCann pass at 12:08. Friedman earned an assist on the play.

To cap off a very frustrating night, Hart was going to the bench for an extra attacker but the Flyers didn't get the puck in all the way. Hart was caught in no mans land and Matheson scored long distance at 16:06.

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