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Alex Kovalev and Chris Kunitz Strike in the Shootout: Pens Beat Flyers 2-1

Flyers Blog: Broad Street Hockey

I hate to sound cliche, but every time these two teams play it's a playoff atmosphere.  Both the Flyers and Pens had intense scoring chances throughout the night, fueled by an up-tempo rhythm that ultimately ended with a shootout.  You couldn't have asked for a better game.

Between Alex Kovalev and James Neal, it's hard to say who Sergei Bobrovsky had pinned more.  Each of those guys made strong moves to the net all night long but just couldn't tally a point in regulation.  At times Kovalev looked like he time warped back to his earlier playing days in Pittsburgh.  But despite some slick passing in front of the net and unreal chances, Kovy just couldn't bury it within the 65 minutes.

That's not to say his work in overtime should go unappreciated.  You could almost sense that Kovalev had "goal" on his mind from the second he took to the center circle.  He charged in on net, pulled a nifty deke and slipped one right past Bob for the Pens' chance to win it in the shootout.  Even though it took one more attempt from Chris Kunitz to officially seal the deal, if it wasn't for Kovy he may not have had that chance.  Especially when you consider Danny Briere scored on his opportunity.

Tyler Kennedy once again came up big, scoring his 18th of the year ON THE POWER PLAY in the second period.  While he no doubt had time to situate the puck and place it right where he wanted to, a later second period opportunity from the top of the slot could have produced another goal if only he could get that shot off sooner.  While I do enjoy a nice Kennedy-like slapper from the side boards and of course a slick wrister similar to the one he scored against the Flyers, I can't help but imagine good things if only he could get that shot off quicker at times.

Another prime scoring chance that stands out to be was Max Talbot's shorthanded attempt in the third period.  Granted it was what many would dub a "broken play," but he had way more time to situate himself for a better shot than the one he ultimately wound up taking.  Steigy and Errey suggested he may have tried to beat Bobrovsky with a surprise shot, but I tend to think he felt like he had way less time than he actually did.  Give him that chance again with him knowing what he knows now, and odds are he's taking that one in on Bob and doing his best Sid impression.

Good to see Kris Letang on the board as well, picking up his 40th assist and second straight point on Kennedy's goal.  He was even sporting a strong defensive game and really skated like a beast in the overtime period.  Props as well to Zbynek Michalek for his improvisational diving play that may have very well saved the game for the Pens. 

Now for the downside: Dustin Jeffrey went down with an apparent knee injury in the second period.  For all the talk of Ray Shero being high on Jeffrey this season, he may now be faced with the challenge of replacing DJ.  Obviously any sort of official word on the injury is still pending, but the fact he required two trainers to more or less lift him back to the dressing room was not the greatest of sights.  With Brooks Orpik, Mike Comrie and Eric Tangradi slowly but surely on the mend, it's at least reassuring to know that reinforcements are on the way.

More on that tomorrow I'm sure, but if I had to guess we can expect Jeffrey out of the lineup for Friday's game against the Devils.