PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 18: Nicklas Grossman #8 of the Philadelphia Flyers checks Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins along the boards at the Wells Fargo Center on February 18, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Flyers 6-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
That was not to be. In the third, the Flyers came out strong and took the momentum back. Philly came out and scored just 31 seconds in when Kimmo Timonen scored from the point on the power play (drawn when Claude Giroux, while sitting on the bench, got tapped with Zbynek Michalek 's stick and reacted as if he was shot by a sniper). Philly would tie it about four minutes later when Scott Hartnell would take a nice shot/pass from Giroux and beat Marc-Andre Fleury high.
In OT, after chances were exchanged, Daniel Briere found Scott Hartnell for a one-time shot that went in the net with about a second remaining before the shootout.
Winning streak, over.
As disappointing as that is, all is not lost. The Pens earned a point today, and 5 points out of 6 on a tough road swing through three intense rivals. Looking at it in the macro-version, you'd take that anytime.
But some more thoughts on this game
-Ilya Bryzgalov didn't get a star of the game, but he probably should have. With 38 saves on 40 shots, especially a bunch early in the game, Bryz held the Flyers in the game and enabled the 3rd period comeback.
-It would have to be considered an uneven game for Evgeni Malkin. He scored a goal, beasting out of the corner and giving the Pens a 2-0 win. But he did take two penalties out of frustration and was knocked around a little too. It's wasn't for a lack of trying, but the Pens will need a more focused effort out of Geno in the playoffs.
-The Pens get ahead 2-0 and then the Flyers get the final four power plays. Not complaining, just noting.
-The two most active Pens would probable be Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz. Letang tallied two assists and was a whirl of fury, backchecking to break up odd man rushes, not backing down from confrontations. Kunitz was much the same with 8 shots on goal and 3 hits credited.
-Pens were just 43% in the faceoff circle, and though Crosby was 52% on his 21 draws, Malkin and Jordan Staal were a combined 13 for 34. Not great.
-Hard to blame Fleury for any of the goals that beat him. First of all, the Pens controlled the play for most of the game, not allowing any shots for 18 minutes during one stretch. Tough for a goalie to stay sharp, but Fleury largely was. The goals that beat him came off passes of great length from skilled playmakers and then some nice shots. Sometimes you gotta tip your hat to the other team, and Philly definitely deserves it here.
-Tyler Kennedy had 4 shots on goal with 4 more missing target and 1 blocked. Good to get rubber towards the net, right? Well, maybe. But a lot of times out there, especially with Crosby, Kennedy kills the flow of the play with bad angle shots the goalie can swallow up, or easily deflectable shots that a defender can put into the netting above. And TK's shot/pass ratio rarely advances towards playing it to an open teammate. Frustrating.
-Crosby's re-introduction into gameplay remains a work in progress. His conditioning and will to play is high, his hands and his timing remains a little off, as to be expected for the amount of time he's missed in the past 14+ months. It'll come, just a matter of time.
And with that, the league's longest winning streak this season is in the books for now. Pittsburgh falls to Philly after a hectic and all in all impressive four day stretch. The Pens fly back this afternoon and get a day off before the Winnipeg Jets come to town on Tuesday for another intense game as they look to get back in the playoff picture.