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Game 6 Recap: Burn tomorrow. Pens eliminate Flyers, 4 goal game by Jake Guentzel

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Jake Guentzel scores 1-2-3-4 goals and the Pens score 5 straight after falling in a 4-2 hole to eliminate the Flyers in the 6th game of the playoff series.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Lineups

Bad news for Pittsburgh in that Evgeni Malkin is out for this game after being injured in Game 5. Patric Hornqvist is back after missing the last two games as expected. Carter Rowney makes his 2018 NHL playoff debut and Dominik Simon is back to healthy scratch territory.

Better news for Philadelphia, the health status of defenseman Ivan Provorov was unknown but he is playing this game.

1st period

2:15 in the Flyers strike, Chad Ruhwedel overskates the puck, and Wayne Simmonds shoots that beats Murray but doesn’t score. Ruhwedel scrambles to try and clear the puck but he hits Sean Couturier who has an open net to shoot at. 1-0.

On the offensive zone faceoff after the first TV timeout, Sidney Crosby wins a faceoff back to the point, Brian Dumoulin bumps it over to Kris Letang who shoots. Michal Neuvirth makes the saves but leaves a juicy rebound for Crosby to deposit in the net. 1-1.

47 seconds later, the Pens score again. Riley Sheahan takes advantage of a Claude Giroux turnover and skates into the zone. The Flyers collapse behind the net and don’t notice that Carl Hagelin is all in front alone. Phil Kessel gets him the puck and he taps it in. 2-1 Pens.

The Flyers get that goal back, catching most of the Pens 4th line and 3rd pair still on the ice after a long shift. Couturier wins the puck behind the net and passes to the point where Andrew MacDonald lets one rip that Murray can’t track due to a nice screen by Simmonds. 2-2.

Pittsburgh keeps battling, Conor Sheary hits the post and a Flyer interferes in a scramble, can’t do that so there’s a delay of game to give the Pens the first power play of the game late in the 1st.

Shots after 1 are 11-10 in favor of Pittsburgh.

2nd period

Things don’t start well, the power play is just ending as Hornqvist tries to center the puck, which hits Matt Read and then bounces for Couturier to take off. Hornqvist tries to defend him from behind but Couturier is able to go backhand-forehand on Murray and smack the puck in for his second goal of the game. 3-2 Philly.

Hagelin passes the puck and Giroux levels him with a hard, heavy and late hit up high that dazes and bloodies Hagelin. There’s a penalty on the play....to Phil Kessel for objecting weakly to the hit. The Pens kill that penalty but Murray can’t make a save on a far shot from Scott Laughton from the left side and now it’s 4-2.

The Pens muster a response when Radko Gudas tries to clear the puck but Olli Maatta holds the zone. Crosby gets the puck and passes down to Jake Guentzel who makes another great pass over for Hornqvist who has an empty net to slam the puck into. Flyer lead down to 4-3 with 6 minutes in the period.

Sheary and Travis Konecny get tangled up together and battle away from the play, they skate away and Konecny gets one last cross-check in and....both end up going to the penalty box on matching minors.

The Pens tie it up in the last minute, Gudas again fumbles the puck this time behind his own net and the Pittsburgh top line is out there. The forwards work hard and the puck eventually gets to Maatta on the point. He launches it to net and Guentzel tips it in the net. 4-4.

Shots in the period were 10-9 Pens, 21-19 Pittsburgh overall.

3rd period

30 seconds in the Pens take the lead, Phil Kessel gets the puck off of Provorov and skates in on a 2-on-1. Phil freezes the goalie and lays a perfect pass for Guentzel to smash in. 5-4.

Brian Dumoulin gets a penalty for clearing the puck over the glass but the Pens kill it off.

With 9:55 left, Guentzel and Jakub Voracek both go to the box after getting tangled up. 32 seconds into the 4v4 Letang cross-checks Couturier into the net and well, you can’t do that.

Philly can’t score on the 4v3 nor the 5v4. then the Jake Guentzel show carries on. 6-4 on a back-breaker.

Guentzel then makes it 7-4 before anyone even knows what happens.

Philly scores to give themselves half a chance with just less than 3 minutes left in the game. Then they pull their goalie and Bryan Rust salts it away for good 8-5 with an empty net goal.

Some Thoughts

  • Hagelin didn’t return to the game after taking the high hit from Giroux.
  • Great game for Maatta, didn’t get an assist on the Honrqvist goal, but his play on the puck was crucial. Same with the primary assist on the game-tying goal for Guentzel.
  • Same can’t be said for the Oleksiak-Ruhwedel pair, very rough game for them.
  • Riley Sheahan was a tower of power though on the PK and without Malkin getting a bigger role at even strength.
  • Great bounce-back down 4-2 to power back, Jake Guentzel with 4 goals in a row, really amazing stuff. This would be a “star making” type of day for Guentzel except the youngster already led the playoffs in goals last year, so...just more of the same really. But incredible performance anytime there’s 4 goals in a game. An assist too.
  • After all the talk for how bad the Pens were on the road, they go 3-0 in the first round. Because, of course.
  • The Pens scored 8 goals without Evgeni Malkin! Sky is the limit.
  • Demons of 2012 are officially exorcised. The trash is taken out. The Pens are moving on.

Now, we wait. The Pens get the winner of the Washington/Columbus series, which the Capitals will have the chance to win tomorrow night.