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POSTGAME 5 Penguins Pound Flyers, 6-2

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-2, at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer / philadelphiaflyers.com

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-2, at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night. The Penguins seized control early, built a multi-goal lead and then turned the game into a blowout in the third.

The Penguins have won 10 games in a row. The Flyers are winless in their last four games (0-3-1). 

A three-goal blitz by the Penguins in the latter half of the second period put Pittsburgh in the driver's seat. Bryan Rust notched power play and 4-on-4 goals (8th and 9th goals of the season) before a 5-on-5 tally by Jake Guentzel (17th) made it a 3-0 game. 

In the second period, Cam Atkinson (14th) narrowed the Flyers' deficit to 3-1. Philly had subsequent chances to get back within a goal but the two-goal margin for the Penguins held for the rest of the frame.

The Penguins broke the game wide open in the third period on breakaway goals by Evan Rodrigues (15th) and Guentzel (2nd of the game) spaced 90 seconds apart. Brian Boyle (4th) added insult to injury with a shorthanded goal. Oskar Lindblom (4th) offset it with a goal right after play went back to 5-on-5.

Carter Hart wasn't given much of a chance by the team in front of him, and ended up with ugly numbers on the night. He stopped 26 of 32 shots.

Tristan Jarry saw only 20 shots for the game. The Pens' netminder made 18 saves. Jarry came up with a few clutch saves but generally wasn't tested much.

The Flyers went 0-for-3 on the power play with a shorthanded goal yielded. They were 0-for-1 on the penalty kill.

The Flyers played this game with an exceptionally depleted roster: six players in COVID-19 protocol (Claude Giroux, Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Travis Sanheim, Nick Seeler and Jackson Cates) and three others on Injured Reserve (Sean Couturier, Ryan Ellis and Nate Thompson).

The Flyers recalled Connor Bunnaman and Egor Zamula from the AHL's Lehigh Valley Phantoms in order to be able to dress 12 forwards and six defensemen for the game. Additionally, Derick Brassard returned to the Flyers lineup after stints on IR (hip) and in COVID protocol.

TURNING POINT

Rust's first period goals put the Flyers behind the 8-ball and Philly never really recovered. The game stayed at 3-0 and then 3-1 until the middle stages of the third period. Philly never made headway beyond that and the Penguins pulled away to make the rest of the game academic.

MELTZER'S TAKE

1) Morgan Frost did some good work beneath the goal line on his second shift of the game, setting up a chance on the short-side for Brassard.

The Flyers got the game's first power play as Teddy Blueger was called for cross-checking Kevin Hayes behind the Philadelphia net at 4:43. The Flyers were held to one shot on goal, and did not score.

At 11:25, Frost was called for holding the stick of Bryan Rust in the Flyers' zone. Rust was wide open below the circle, taking a tape-to-tap pass from Kris Letang and ramming the puck in the net.

At 13:59, Heinen hit the post with the Flyers outnumbered on the Pittsburgh attack. Play moved the other way. The Penguins then turned over the puck in the neutral zone setting up a Flyers counter. A would-be Scott Laughton goal was waived off at 14:13 after the near-side referee lost sight of the puck as it slid under Jarry's pad and was then jammed free. Offsetting minors after the whistle were called on Jarry (slashing) and Laughton (roughing). 

With 1:18 left in the 4-on-4, Rust jumped into the play as the puck went back to Evan Rodrigues after an initial shot attempt was blocked by Egor Zamula. Rust released a quick shot from inside the left hash mark and scored at 14:56.

At 16:16, Guentzel had three straight uncontested cracks at the net from the doorstep. Hart saved the first. The second went off the post. The third went into Hart's glove, but the goalie's glove moved back over the goal line. Letang and Brian Dumoulin got the assists.

2) First period shots were 15-9 in Pittsburgh's favor. The Penguins had a 58.1 percent all-situations team Corsi in the period

3) The Flyers went back on the power play after Kasper Björkqvist was called for interference. The Flyers had rough 1:40 of attack zone time but were unable to put any of their shot attempts on net.

Philly narrowed the gap to 3-1 at 8:10. Joel Farabee gained the puck in the neutral zone and went in with Atkinson. Receiving a pass above the circles, Atkinson blasted home a one-timer. Laughton earned the secondary assist.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: 💥 Tee'd up. 💥#PITvsPHI | #BringItToBroad pic.twitter.com/foOIq7A4Xc

MIdway through the period, the Flyers got hemmed in their own zone for a lengthy shift. James van Riemsdyk ended up taking an icing before he was able to get the puck to the red line. Frost then beat Crosby on the ensuing faceoff and JVR chipped the puck successfully past Letang to relieve the pressure.

Kevin Hayes set up a Grade-A scoring chance for Brassard, which was followed by another Flyers chance on the next shift. In the waning seconds of the frame, Rust rang a shot off the crosssbar.

4) All in all, the second period was a significant improvement over the first for the Flyers. They defended better, taking away the middle of the ice for most of the frame. Philly was outshot, 8-6, but had 51.2 percent of the shot attempts overall. The Flyers had a 9-8 scoring chance edge and 4-2 high-danger chance advantage. Putting the shots on net was a different issue, but it was at least some progress.

5) In the opening minute of the third period, Guentzel had a scoring chance at the net. A scrum ensued after the whistle and offsetting minors were called (Guentzel for slashing, Laughton for roughing). Play moved to 4-on-4 at 2:12.

Atkinson had a similar-looking shot to his goal but Jarry had this one all the way at 4:38.

At 8:50, the Penguins opened a 4-1 lead. Rodrigues got behind the Flyers defense (going back Kevin Connauton) to take a pass from Kasperi Kapanen. Rodrigues moved in a breakaway and, in tight quarters, tucked the puck home on the backhand. Another breakaway goal at 10:20 -- this one by Guentzel after getting behind Rasmus Ristolainen and taking a pass from Crosby -- opened a 5-1 edge.

Mattias Pettersson was called for cross-checking at 10:46. The Flyers coughed up an odd-man rush on a Kevin Hayes turnover and Boyle scored shorthanded at 11:51 from distance off a pass from John Marino. The laboring Hayes went up the tunnel after the goal.

Just after the Flyers power play expired, Lindblom got open in the slot, took a centering pass from Frost and scored at 13:00. Zack MacEwen got the secondary assist.

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