Penguins 5, Flyers 4 (OT): Late push earns Flyers a point

Updated: March 25, 2018 at 3:55 pm by Wes Herrmann

Slow starts in the second, third and overtime periods ultimately cost the Philadelphia Flyers a win against the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday afternoon. However, a late goal from Sean Couturier earned a much-needed point in the team’s 5-4 loss.

FIRST PERIOD

Although the Flyers finished the first stanza with a 2-1 lead, the team was probably disappointed it didn’t skate away with a better lead. Philly had a 14-6 shot advantage and a number of odd-man opportunities.

Travis Sanheim got the scoring started just over five minutes into the game. Jordan Weal entered the zone, curled and hit Sanheim with a pass at the blue line. The rookie snapped a wrist shot over Matt Murray’s glove.

The Flyers had momentum after the goal, but the Penguins ended up tying the game four minutes later. Connor Sheary flipped a puck over the Flyers blueliners, while Derick Brassard flew by, picked up the puck and beat Alex Lyon over his blocker shoulder on a breakaway.

However, that didn’t deter Philadelphia too much and Brandon Manning re-gained the one-goal lead after Weal dropped a puck to him at nearly the identical spot he did for Sanheim. Manning, though, took a slap shot, blowing past Murray low glove side.

SECOND PERIOD

The Penguins ended the first period with one powerplay at 2:35 and one that continued into the second, so maybe it isn’t too surprising that the Pens had momentum at the start of the second. They turned that into two goals before the 17:00 mark.

Patric Hornqvist scored just 37 seconds in on the continued man advantage when he received the puck down low to the left side of Lyon and quickly turned and shot far side. A couple minutes later, Evgeni Malkin gave his team the lead.

Pinned in their own zone for close to 20 seconds, Weal took a holding penalty, but Pittsburgh had the puck. They held onto it for about 30 seconds after that, finishing with Malkin shooting a quick wrister through Lyon’s five hole.

After that, Lyon was yanked from the net and Petr Mrazek replaced him.

The Flyers slowly got things going again, as the defense and Mrazek tried to keep the team in the game. There were a couple chances for both teams, including a wide-open net chance for Travis Konecny, but Weal was the next on the board.

The former King earned his third point of the afternoon on the power play. Gostisbehere took a point shot that Murray saved, but played right to Weal. The 25 year old tied the game with the empty net chance.

THIRD PERIOD

It was another bad start to a period as Sidney Crosby put the Pens up 4-3, 17 seconds into the stanza. The Pittsburgh captain fought off Sean Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere to get a wrist shot off that Mrazek anticipated badly.

The Flyers had chances from there, but couldn’t get much mounted. The second line had a solid 30 seconds in the offensive zone at the five-minute mark but came away with nothing to show for it.

But Couturier wouldn’t let the game end in a Flyers loss. With the goalie pulled and 42 seconds left in the game, the 25 year old stuffed in a rebound off of a Gostisbehere point shot to send it to overtime

OVERTIME

The Flyers maybe spent all of 10 seconds in the Penguins’ offensive zone before Bryan Rust won the game for the Penguins off of a tip from Crosby about 2:25 in.

QUICK HITTERS

Although Lyon made just eight saves on 11 shots through the first period and three minutes of the second, I don’t believe coach Dave Hakstol made the goalie change because of performance. The Penguins were flying, while the Flyers looked like they were still in their locker room. Something needed to happen to get the team going and Hakstol pulled the goalie — a move that has worked well for his team before. It worked out well again. The Flyers responded and Mrazek had a strong game, except for the Crosby goal.

It was nice to see Weal be rewarded for his strong play since his most recent scratch. His two assists may have been simple plays and even his goal was right place, right time, but he deserved the production. Hopefully this regains some of his confidence and he can carry it over in the last stretch.

While Crosby still devoured the Flyers — especially in the third period — Philly’s matchups against the Penguins were much better than the last outing. Instead of Valtteri Filppula’s line against Crosby, the first and second lines saw more ice time against his trio. Obviously, things didn’t work out perfectly, but it’s a work in progress that did get better this time. Considering Philadelphia is likely to play Pittsburgh in the first round if they make the postseason, getting matchups figured out is crucial.

NEXT GAME

Flyers at Dallas Stars, Tuesday, 8:30 PM

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