Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins' 5-4 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers…
* The other day, Mike Sullivan spoke about it was important for his team to react and respond the right way. This game was the definition of that. It started with how they responded to a sloppy second period that had them down 3-1 after 40 minutes. Sidney Crosby's line set the tone on the first shift of the frame when Patric Hornqvist drew a penalty, then proceeded to score on the ensuing power play to start the comeback. Bryan Rust followed that up with a breakaway goal, and from there the Pens completely took over the game. "We played our best period of the year so far and we just have to do that more often," Hornqvist said.
It continued with how they responded to momentum swings as the period progressed, particularly when the Flyers capitalized on a turnover to take a 4-3 lead with 3:41 left to play. It could have been a back-breaking goal with how the Pens had dominated play, but they didn't let it rattle them. They had been playing phenomenal hockey up to that point and continued to skate with a confidence and a swagger and a belief that they were going to get back in it. They did just that, with Jake Guentzel tipping a shot from Justin Schultz with just 1:04 left to play to force overtime.
* Tonight the Pens went as their captain did. Crosby was one of the few players that had his legs under him all game and he took it to another level in the third period. He was absolutely dominant in the final minutes when his team needed it most. He was holding onto the puck in the offensive zone to the point where nobody could knock him off of it, and then made plays from there. He won the faceoff that led to the tying goal late in regulation, and ended up scoring the game-winner. When Crosby is playing like this, he's unstoppable.
* Not only did the Pens get a lot of pucks to the net - 52 total - they got bodies there as well. They were rewarded for going to those tough areas, with three of their goals coming from in or around the blue paint. "We've got to continue to go there," Crosby said. "It was nice the last couple of games, we've generated some goals and see them go into the back of the net. It's reassuring to continue to go to those same spots, and hopefully we can continue to put up the amount we are and with that hopefully keep them out of our net a little more."
* If the third period was the Pens' best of the year, the second period was arguably their worst. The Pens were lucky to finish the frame having allowed just three goals, as the Flyers hit four posts as well. The Pens spent barely any time in the offensive zone and allowed the Flyers to move around the defensive zone with ease. They seemed lost and scrambly in coverage, and the Flyers made them pay.
* It didn't help that the Pens lost Matt Murray late in the second period (full update here). Tristan Jarry came in to replace him and came up with a few big saves as his teammates failed to provide any pushback. He kept them in the game and helped give them the confidence they needed to stay in it with a number of timely saves. "I think he stepped in there and was a rock for us the rest of the game," Rust said. "I think the confidence kind of went from our defense out, and I think we responded."