Here’s the lineup the Penguins suited up for their showdown with the Flyers:
Ready for the boys from Eastern PA. pic.twitter.com/EFFhvdAOAv— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 17, 2019
A few surprises for the Penguins. No Evgeni Malkin who was a late scratch and Bryan Rust returns to game action after missing nine games due to injury. Matt Murray looks to bounce back after being pulled on Saturday.
As for the visitors, here’s how they lined up on Sunday night in Pittsburgh:
Claude Giroux did play despite being listed as 50/50 with an illness. Carter Hart makes his second career start against the Penguins.
A choppy start in the opening minutes gave way to up-and-down play from both teams but neither side created a threatening chance in the first five minutes of play. Sidney Crosby had a good look on net but put his shot over the head of Carter Hart.
After the slow start to the game, the teams battled through a whistle-less five minute stretch of play before the Flyers became sloppy and were whistled for a too many men on the ice penalty, sending the Penguins to the power play for the first time.
Without Malkin in the lineup, Jake Guentzel took his spot on the top power play unit but their rough weekend with the man advantage continued as the Flyers easily killed the penalty with no damage done.
Clock dipped under five minutes to play in the first period and the fast paced action continued at both ends of the ice. The teams battled through a second five minute whistle-less stretch of the evening but scoring chances were few and far between for both sides.
As the horn sounded to end the first period of play, the scoreboard read the same as it did when the puck dropped 20 minutes prior, 0-0.
Less than a minute into the second period and the Flyers went to the power play for the first time on the evening. Nick Bjugstad appeared to take a high stick to the face, but instead, it was Bjugstad heading to the box for holding.
Early in the man advantage, the Flyers appeared to score but it was immediately waived off on the ice. Claude Giroux released a shot that found its way through Murray but Jakub Voracek made contact with Murray, negating the goal.
The Flyers challenged the call on the ice and the review awarded them with a goal after it was determined there was no goaltender interference on the play. With the goal now ruled good, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan used his own challenge, claiming the play was offsides entering the zone. Following this second review, the goal was once again wiped off the board after reviews showed a clear offsides play on the Flyers.
After all was said and done, the score remained 0-0 and the Penguins successfully killed off the remaining time on the Bjugstad minor. All of this took place in the opening three minutes of the second period.
Call on the ice: No goal.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 18, 2019
Call after Flyers challenge: Goal.
Call after Penguins challenge: No goal.
So in recap, no goal for Philadelphia.
Still 0-0. pic.twitter.com/AXk2fMWfbL
Little over five minutes gone in the second period and the Penguins had their first real scoring chance of the game. An errant pass slipped behind the Flyers defense and helped spring Nick Bjugstad on a breakaway. Bjugstad went forehand-backhand but Hart was able to get over and make the stop.
After the breakaway, the Penguins began to swarm inside the Flyers’ zone. Patric Hornqvist was set up with a one timer but Hart once again closed the door with an incredible pad save to keep the puck out.
Hart answered the bell a few more times before he was able to freeze the puck for a stoppage in play.
Ten minutes of hockey in the second period featured more action that the entire first period but scoreboard still read 0-0 as the game passed the midway point.
Under five minutes to play in the second period and the Flyers were able to slightly tip the ice back in their favor, but only created one prime scoring chance off a Penguins turnover. Scott Laughton was the beneficiary of a ill advised pass from the Penguins but his shot was easily gloved by Murray.
Despite a flurry of action on the Penguins part in the second period they were unable to solve Carter Hart and the teams ended the second period of action exactly how they started, with 0-0 on the scoreboard.
Just over two minutes into the third period the Penguins are finally rewarded for all of their hard work. Phil Kessel collects a pass from Marcus Pettersson and rips a hard, low shot on goal that is kicked away by Hart but Teddy Blueger is in perfect position to bang the rebound into an open net for a 1-0 Penguins lead.
THE LUCK OF THE LATVIAN!— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 18, 2019
Blueger gets the first tally of the night. Kessel and Pettersson pick up the helpers. pic.twitter.com/wDIyFe676q
Moments after taking the lead, the Penguins head back to the power play when Radko Gudas is nailed for a cross-check on Hornqvist. That man advantage lasted less than a minute when Phil Kessel was sent to the penalty box for a slash.
Following a 4-on-4 sequence for 61 seconds, the Flyers took their turn on the power play looking to find an equalizer. Up a man, the Flyers were able to create some pressure in the offensive zone but nothing dangerous enough to threaten the Penguins lead.
Back to even strength, the Flyers were able to create some more havoc in the Penguins zone and came close to drawing even. Nolan Patrick beat Murray over the shoulder but his shot rang off the iron and stayed out. Moments later, Murray came up with a pair of big time stops to keep the puck out.
All this activity was brought to a sudden fault beneath the Penguins red line when Phil Varone hauled down Brian Dumoulin behind the net, resulting in another Penguins power play opportunity.
The best chance on the Penguins power play came from the Flyers playing shorthanded. Skating in on a 3-on-2, the Flyers moved the puck and set up Sean Couturier with a tip in front of goal but Murray was up to the task. In the end, the Flyers easily killed the Gudas minor as the Penguins power play continues to sputter.
Another push by the Flyers resulted in Murray standing tall and the Flyers coming out on the other end shorthanded once again. A bad change as the Penguins were rushing up ice with numbers resulted in a second too many men call on the visitors.
Another lifeless power play for the Penguins ended early when the Penguins were caught with a sloppy changed a whistled for too many men on the ice, giving the Flyers another chance to tie the game with the man advantage.
Clinging to their 1-0 lead, the Penguins penalty kill answered the bell once again and killed off the bench minor but not before Sean Couturier came within inches of a tying goal that somehow stayed out.
Carter Hart was having a night but as the clock continued to wind, the Flyers were forced to pull him for the extra attacker as they continued to fight for a tying marker. Nick Bjugstad had a chance at the yawning cage but a diving play by Ivan Provorov saved a goal.
With the Penguins hanging on for dear life, the Flyers kept pushing and broke through Murray just in the nick of time. With just 18.8 seconds left on the clock, Travis Konecny floated a pass to the stick of James van Riemsdyk in the slot and he pushed a shot past a moving Murray to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Two skilled teams playing 3-on-3 was exactly as exciting as you would expect. Chances were going both ways but both goalies were up to the task. First, Murray stopped Voracek on an early 2-on-1 then kept a Claude Giroux rebound attempt out. Then, Hart answered with a blocker save on Brian Dumoulin to extend the contest.
Just as it was looking like the game was headed for a shootout, the Flyers created one last look in the overtime frame when Sean Couturier came down the right side and beat Murray under the arm to give the Flyers a 2-1 victory with 3.4 seconds remaining on the clock.
- This will be a weekend to forget for the Penguins power play. The unit was a combined 0-for-8 over the course of two games.
- On the other end, the penalty kill was a solid 4-for-5 over the weekend, including a crucial pair of kills in the third period against the Flyers.
- Just go ahead and burn these jerseys.
- Carter Hart is going to be a real problem in the near future.
- Regardless of the situation, the Penguins really need to find a way to close these games out when leading late. They still claimed a point but were less than 20 seconds away from a clean two.
- If you’re looking for a point total to feel comfortable with for the Penguins to make the playoffs, it’s somewhere around 94-96 points.
- Another terrific bounce back effort from Matt Murray after a subpar showing on Saturday.
- Crucial road trip coming up, but none may be bigger than Tuesday night’s showdown with the Hurricanes.