The Penguins knew the odds were stacked against them to catch Philadelphia in the race for the Atlantic Division/Eastern Conference title. With all the injuries the Penguins have suffered over the second half of the season and adversity that the team has faced, the fact that Pittsburgh is still contending speaks a lot about the will and spirit of the Penguins.
But unfortunately, the team’s climb got a little bit steeper after dropping a 5-2 decision to the Flyers at CONSOL Energy Center Tuesday night.
Pittsburgh put forth a strong effort in the early part of the game and even netted 1-0 and 2-1 leads. Despite falling behind 3-2, the Penguins opened the third period with an assault on the Flyers goal.
However, after Philadelphia’s fourth goal the game began to slip away from the Penguins.
Pittsburgh is now four points behind Philadelphia in the standings. Although the chances of catching the Flyers got a lot tougher, it’s too soon to count the Penguins out. Pittsburgh’s moxy has surprised many before.
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang played one of his most spirited games of the season.
Letang made a beautiful breakout pass from his own zone to spring Alex Kovalev for a two-on-one opportunity. Kovalev buried a shot for the game’s first goal.
Letang finished the game tying a season high with seven shots on goal, while recording a plus-1 and three hits. Letang actually threw 14 pucks toward the net. He logged 21:47 minutes of ice time.
The Penguins had a 2-1 lead with seven minutes left in the second period as the Flyers were working on a power play.
Scott Hartnell received a pass down low along the goal line. He carried to the net and ripped a shot through Marc-Andre Fleury to tie the game. The score shifted the momentum in Philadelphia’s favor.
Less than one minute later (47 seconds to be exact), Claude Giroux sniped a shot to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead. The Penguins were never able to recover from that one-minute sequence.
(AP) - Ville Leino scored twice in the third period, and the Philadelphia Flyers rallied to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Tuesday night and stay atop the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia has led the conference and the Atlantic Division since Jan. 8, but the Penguins had won eight of 10 and had a chance to tie their cross-state rivals at 100 points with a regulation victory.
Goals by Jeff Carter, Scott Hartnell, and Claude Giroux and 25 saves by Sergei Bobrovsky prevented that for the Flyers, who won in regulation for the second time in seven games.
- The Penguins are now four points behind the Flyers in the race for the Atlantic Division/Eastern Conference title, but Philadelphia has one game in hand on Pittsburgh. The Penguins have five games remaining this season, while the Flyers have six contests left.
- The Penguins finished their season series against division rival Philadelphia, ending up 2-4 against the Flyers. Pittsburgh was 0-3 at home and 2-1 at Wells Fargo Center.
- Alex Kovalev scored his first goal in Pittsburgh as a Penguin since netting two against Vancouver Feb. 4, 2003.
- Tyler Kennedy scored his third goal in the past five games. He’s posted four goals in the last seven contests. Over the past eight games, Kennedy has produced eight points (4G-4A).
- Pittsburgh is 9-3-2 in its past 14 games.
#1. Ville Leino
Left Wing - 22
#2. Scott Hartnell
Left Wing - 19
#3. Danny Briere
Center - 48
5-of-7 on faceoffs (71 percent)
Author: Sam Kasan