Unfortunately for the Philadelphia Flyers they couldn’t continue their annual tradition of ending a lengthy Pittsburgh Penguins’ winning streak, as the Pens squeaked out a 2-1 overtime win at the CONSOL Energy Center tonight. Tyler Kennedy’s fifth goal of this shortened season beat Ilya Bryzgalov 2:33 into overtime, as Pittsburgh extended their winning streak to 12 games.
Claude Giroux was the lone Flyer to beat Marc-Andre Fleury in the loss, while Sidney Crosby took advantage off a 5-on-3 power play late in the contest to send it past regulation. Fleury had 27 saves to Bryzgalov’s 33 to earn the win this evening.
After Wayne Simmonds started an odd-man rush that nearly resulted in the game-winning goal in the extra frame, Kennedy showed patience in the circle to Bryzgalov’s right before he ripped a shot high by the goalie’s blocker to give Pittsburgh the additional point.
Although they only earned a point, something can be said about how the Flyers played in the defeat. They were two costly penalties away from ending the Penguins’ winning streak and returning to the win column.
“Three-on-Five, it kind of killed us with that goal,” Max Talbot said after the one-goal loss in his 500th NHL game. “It’s disappointing. It was right in our reach with 6 minutes to play there. We played a good road game. We kept it simple.”
The Flyers may have spent large periods of time in their own zone trying to stop the Pens from cycling, but there was urgency when it came to blocking shots, breaking up passes, and general effort overall.
“I thought we came in here and played a good road game,” Peter Laviolette said after the game. “It’s unfortunate.”
Neither team scored in a defensive and physical first period, but Giroux received a little bit of deserved good fortune in the second period to help hand the visitors a 1-0 lead.
On a puck dumped behind Fleury’s net, Harry Zolnierczyk came in to hit Paul Martin, who eventually slashed Zolnierczyk to put the Flyers on the power play.
With the man advantage, the Flyers put little pressure on the Pens and actually found themselves trapped in their own zone late in the man advantage before a rush led by Giroux resulted in his 10th tally of 2013. After the captain carried the disc over the Penguins’ blue line he attempted to dish it to Simon Gagne, but Tanner Glass interrupted the pass. However, Glass pushed the puck back to Giroux, who ripped a shot by Fleury’s right leg pad, as the goaltender was caught moving to his left in anticipation of Giroux’s pass attempt.
After the tally, Pittsburgh provided an extreme amount of offensive pressure, but couldn’t muster an equalizer before the start of the third period. Despite it looking as though the Pens were on a man advantage for the final minutes of the period, the Flyers escaped and held a one-goal lead with 20 minutes left.
Although a good chunk of time was spent in their own zone during the third period, the Orange and Black were able to hold on to the lead until a pair of undisciplined penalties gave Pittsburgh a golden opportunity to even the tilt.
While pursuing Brooks Orpik just inside the Penguins’ blue line, Simmonds chopped the defenseman’s stick out of his hands to earn himself a slashing minor. On the man advantage, Chris Kunitz was able to split Philly’s d-men for what looked to be a breakaway before Kimmo Timonen stopped the attempt with a hook to earn himself a penalty as well.
With the two infractions taking place just 23 seconds apart, Pittsburgh had a two-man advantage for 1:37. Crosby saw his opportunity and tied the game with 6:14 left.
Crosby stood near the top of the faceoff circle to Bryzgalov’s left when he received a feed from Martin, who was near the opposite faceoff circle. With a one-timer, Pittsburgh’s captain slammed one five-hole on Bryz for his 14th of the season.
Although Philly killed off the rest of Timonen’s minor, the Penguins had some momentum. However, the Flyers did provide one last effort that nearly beat Fleury, as well as nearly prevent the hosts from earning any points at all tonight.
With just under 1:20 left in regulation, Matt Read almost placed a shot through Fleury’s five-hole to put Philly up by one. Luke Schenn attempted a slap shot from the point, but his stick broke in the process, which resulted in the puck gliding to Read at the side of the net. Fleury fell to the ice in anticipation of Read’s action and managed to stop the forward’s bid from the bottom of the circle, as well as cover the puck to prevent any rebound opportunities.
The Orange and Black look to rebound from the difficult loss on Tuesday when they host the New York Rangers, who lost 3-2 in a shootout tonight to the Washington Capitals.
Notes: The Flyers are 0-4-1 in their last five road games. Their last win away from the Wells Fargo Center was in Pittsburgh in a 6-5 win on February 20th…The Orange and Black dropped to 2-2 in games that have needed more than 60 minutes this season. They are 1-1 in overtime games and 1-1 in shootouts…Philly dropped to 6-1-1 in their eight regular season games at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pens’ lone win in regulation was the finale of last year’s regular season…Both Danny Briere and Nicklas Grossmann missed tonight’s game due to upper-body injuries. Zolnierczyk and Kurtis Foster played in their places. Zolnierczyk saw 7:58 TOI and Foster had one shot on net along with one blocked shot in 9:29 TOI tonight…Evgeni Malkin missed his eighth straight game with a shoulder injury, while Kris Letang missed his third straight game due to a groin injury…The Flyers dropped to 11-0-2 when leading after two periods. They were up 1-0 with 20 minutes left…Tonight was Talbot’s 500th NHL game. He had one hit, three blocked shot, and one giveaway in 16:39 TOI. It was his 112th game as a Flyer…The Flyers will finish 1-2-1 against the Pens for the 2013 regular season. It marks the first time they finished below .500 against the Penguins since 2009-2010, when they went 1-4-1…Philly also dropped to 4-7-1 against the rest of the Atlantic Division (PIT 1-2-1, NJD 1-3-0, NYR 1-2-0, NYI 1-0-0). The Penguins improved to 10-4-0 against the rest of the Atlantic Division (NJD 1-2-0, NYR 3-0-0, NYI 3-1-0, PHI 3-1-0)…The Flyers are currently 13-16-2. They were 20-8-3 after 31 games last season.