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POSTGAME 5: Penguins Pull Away

In the final game of the 2020-21 season series between the teams, the Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 7-3, at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night.

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer / philadelphiaflyers.com

In the final game of the 2020-21 season series between the teams, the Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 7-3, at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night. The Flyers finished the season series at 5-3-0 against the Penguins.

Pittsburgh's Marcus Pettersson (2nd goal of the season) notched the only goal of the first period. Jake Guentzel (PPG, 23rd) and Sidney Crosby (22nd) extended the lead to 3-0 in the second period before Justin Braun (1st) got one back for the Flyers and Sean Couturier (16th) cut the deficit to 3-2 late in the frame.  

In the third period, Jason Zucker (9th) and Travis Konecny (11th) traded off goals before Crosby (23rd, second of the game) restored a two-goal lead. Mark Friedman (2nd) added an empty netter and then Crosby set up a Marino power play goal (3rd).

Playing the 500th game of his NHL career, Brian Elliott got the start in goal for the Flyers. "Moose" stopped 24 of 30 shots in a losing cause. Penguins starter Tristan Jarry earned the win. He denied 30 of 33 shots.

The Flyers went 0-for-1 on the power play and 1-for-3 on the penalty kill.

TURNING POINT

The Flyers had the momentum early in the third period. Jarry's breakaway save on Claude Giroux and Zucker's goal that put the Penguins ahead by two again dug another two-goal deficit after Philly had gotten two-thirds of the way back.

MELTZER'S TAKE

1) Just 1:46 into the game, pinching defenseman defenseman Marcus Pettersson beat Elliott for a quick 1-0 Penguins lead after quick passes from Frederick Gaudreau to Jared McCann to the goal scorer. The Penguins had each of the game's first four shots before Flyers got their first at the about 6:33 mark when Philly generated a flurry around the net with two cracks in close for Joel Farabee. 

2) The Penguins outshot the Flyers, 11-7, in the first period although the Flyers had a slight edge in 5-on-5 shot attempts (51.6 percent team Corsi). The Penguins blocked five Flyers shot attempts and Philly missed on four others including Nolan Patrick firing over the net from just above the right dot with 1:15 left in the period. James van Riemsdyk made a tape-to-tape pass to Patrick to set up the chance. The Penguins generated strong puck movement on the game's first power play but the Flyers worked through the kill. 

3) Elliott made a tough early save on Kasperi Kapanen in the opening 90 seconds of the second period. Ex-Flyer Mark Friedman drew Philadelphia's ire with an opportunistic hit on Farabee. Jakub Voracek delivered a retaliatory cross-check and then, standing up for himself, Farabee dropped the gloves with Friedman. Jarry made an excellent save to prevent a shorthanded goal bid by Sean Couturier on a re-direct of a Claude Giroux pass.

At 3:10, the Penguins turned their power play into a goal for a 2-0 lead; Kris Letang broke his stick on a shot but the puck rattled around in front and Guentzel got it over the goal line. Evgeni Malkin got the secondary assist. The Penguins then built a 3-0 lead at 5:44 as Crosby, who had a couple earlier near-misses, beat Elliott through the pads. Pettersson got the only assist.

4) Justin Braun recently lost a would-be goal to a goaltender interference ruling on the other side of the ice. There was no disallowing this one as he claimed the rebound in a scramble around the net and fired the puck home from a severe angle to the left of the post. Wade Allison earned his first career NHL assist (and third NHL point) on the play. Ivan Provorov collected the other apple.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: Brauner don't need no stinkin' angle. #AnytimeAnywhere | #PITvsPHI pic.twitter.com/qy49e5aEBc

At 11:03 of the second period, Travis Konecny and Crosby had a grappling match behind the Pittsburgh net; going off for matching roughing minors. With 6:04 left in the second period, Jared McCann was called for a retaliatory trip of Nicolas Aube-Kubel. The best scoring chance of the two minutes was a shorthanded breakaway for Jeff Carter. Elliott stoned the ex-Flyer on a five-hole attempt. 

The Flyers had some self-made puck luck at 18:40 on a give-and-go play between Travis Sanheim and Couturier. With Sanheim continuing to go to the net, Couturier's put the puck toward the net and it took a friendly bounce off Carter's skate to re-direct past Jarry. 

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: Right through the wickets. #AnytimeAnywhere | #PITvsPHI pic.twitter.com/0wnyu8QUCH

Hayes had the puck taken away by Guentzel with 3 seconds left in the period and then Hayes blocked Guentzel's shot from in close. If that had been a buzzer beating goal, it'd have been a backbreaker for Philadelphia. Second period shorts were 13-12 in the Flyers' favor (23-20 Penguins through 40 minutes). Of the Flyers 20 shots on goal, nine came from defensemen.

5) Couturier fed GIroux for a breakaway opportunity in the opening five minutes of the third period but the Flyers' captain was unable to tie the game. Moments later, Giroux had a crack at the left side of the net. The Flyers had all five of the shots on goal in the period through the first 6:53.

The Penguins scored on their first shot of the period as the Flyers paid for a turnover (a Malkin takeaway) and a defenseman (Phil Myers) who got caught up on the wrong side of the puck with Zucker behind him. Assists went to Malkin and Kapanen at 7:49.

At 10:23, the Flyers got the deficit back down to one. Konecny carried the puck along the right boards and put the puck cross-ice at the net. The puck bounced in off Couturier's skate as the center crashed the net. The goal was credited to Konecny from Giroux and Gostisbehere by the official scorers.

Tweet from @NHLonNBCSports: Back to ONE!The @NHLFlyers are right back in it. 🚨 pic.twitter.com/m4AYGdlwrB

At 12:33, on Pittsburgh's fifth shot of the period, Crosby took a pass out from Bryan Rust. From just outside the left faceoff dot, Crosby drilled a shot that beat Elliott over the glove to the far side. Guentzel got the secondary assist.

Defenseman Friedman was hellbent on scoring an empty net goal and got it at 15:53. He took a cross-check from Gostisbehere after he scored and the Penguins went on the power play. Crosby made a cross-seam pass to defenseman Marino and he fired the puck into the cage for a 7-3 final score.

Third period shots were 13-8 Flyers (33-31 Flyers for the game). The Penguins scored on four of their eight shots.

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