Last night’s rivalry matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins had the feeling of a classic trap game.
The Pens had lost their three prior games, with a brutal goal differential of 13-3. No Sidney Crosby, no Evgeni Malkin, or Head Coach Mike Sullivan. Last place in the Metropolitan Division. All of those factors equal either a sound Flyers victory, or a frustrating loss to a shorthanded team.
It ended up being the second result, losing in OT 3-2.
Pittsburgh came out flying, and Brock McGinn managed to score a deflection goal 16 seconds into the contest. In a game where Carter Hart played very well overall, there was nothing he could do on this one. That fact makes the end score even harder to stomach.
There were no other goals scored until close to midway through the second period. Going up against the top-ranked penalty kill in the NHL (PIT entered the game around 95%), the Flyers managed to score a PP goal courtesy of Travis Konecny.
A skillful move down low, the defender (former Flyer Mark Friedman) assumes he is going for a cross-crease pass. Instead, TK adjusts his body and just roofs it over Tristan Jarry’s shoulder. Also, a beautiful setup with the slap-pass by Claude Giroux.
Winger Jake Guentzel scored a few minutes later to reclaim the lead for the Penguins on a strange goal. I’ve watched this highlight about 10 times now, and the only thing I can take way is that Hart must have been screened.
Hart did not “react” per say to Guentzel’s first shot attempt that he whiffed on. However, Hart moves slightly to his right before the second shot. Of course, the shot ended up just inside the post to Hart’s left.
After those two goals, there was another gap in scoring.
It took the Flyers until just under three minutes left in the third to tie it back up. Scott Laughton stepped into a slap shot and blew it right by Jarry. The man known as “Sarge” has now scored in back-to-back contests.
Now we arrive at overtime. Talk about a bummer of a way to lose a hockey game.
Kris Letang, who just returned from dealing with COVID symptoms ends up winning it for Pittsburgh on a wrap around attempt.
Hart talked about the ending in the postgame press conference and mentioned that in his desperation to slide across, he missed his post. It did appear that way when the officials were reviewing if the puck had crossed the line or not. Of course, the puck seemed too barely cross as well. I would really like to see Hart make that stop there.
To only grab a point against the bottom of the division is worrying, but only slightly worrying. The Flyers currently sit at 5-2-2, fourth place in a very stacked Metro. This is without Kevin Hayes, and with Ryan Ellis missing multiple games early.
This Saturday, the Flyers take on the third-place team in the Metro, the Washington Capitals (5-1-4). It will be a team effort to contain Alex Ovechkin, who has 10 goals in 10 games.