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RECAP: Two outta three ain’t bad. Pens outlast Flyers 4-3

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Pittsburgh takes the edge today and wins the rubber match of this week’s Pens/Flyers game, courtesy a Jared McCann game winning goal

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

Pregame

A warm welcome back to Brian Dumoulin, playing in just his 16th regular season game in the last 15 months as he comes back from his latest injury. As a result, the Penguins top six defensemen are all healthy at the same glorious time. Tristan Jarry again gets the nod in net and Evan Rodrigues is also able to return from the IR.

The Flyers get a fortunate development with Joel Farabee removed from COVID protocol list and only missing one day, in a very similar situation to Sidney Crosby earlier in the week.

First period

The start is...not great. Evgeni Malkin takes an offensive zone interference penalty on his first shift in the first minute of the game, but the Pens kill it off. Sam Lafferty on his first shift of the game doesn’t get the puck deep and has some miscommunication as Cody Ceci cuts into the zone but Lafferty lays it backwards for Marcus Pettersson. Problem is, Pettersson isn’t able to get there and the Flyers go on a 2-on-0 the other way. Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny play catch three times to pull Jarry out of position and Konecny finishes it off. 1-0 Flyers

The Pens get it back though, and more, when they get two power play chances in the first period — and get this — score on them both!

Evgeni Malkin gets the party started, taking a nice pass from Crosby and then Malkin shoulder jukes like he’s driving to the net, but instead dips around the back of the net and scores on a backhand wraparound. 1-1 game on Malkin’s fifth of the season.

Then it’s Bryan Rust’s turn. A nice passing play goes quickly from Malkin to Crosby to Jake Guentzel to Rust who is alone in front and has an easy chip in goal. 2-1 Pens late in the first period on Rust’s eighth goal of the year.

Pettersson takes his second penalty of the game late in the period.

Shots are 7-6 Pens through one period.

Second period

With Pettersson still in the box, the Flyers’ power play scores 1:20 into the period to tie the game. Kevin Hayes shoots from the left circle, and with the screen of Nolan Patrick, Jarry can’t find the puck and it beats him short side over the shoulder without him ever picking up on it. 2-2 game.

Philly pulls ahead during some 4v4 play with Shayne Gotisbehere shooting from just inside the blueline, that again eludes Jarry short side. He looks thrown off with a player popping out and trying to provide a screen, but oof, tough to give up this goal in this situation. 3-2 PHI.

The Pens send the game tied to the second intermission though, when Zach Aston-Reese scores with 1:50 from a sharp angle. Brian Elliott bails out Jarry by giving up an even weaker goal and it’s 3-3 on Aston-Reese’s fourth of the campaign.

Shots in the second are 11-8 Pens.

Third period

Mid-way through the third, Pittsburgh reclaims a lead. Brandon Tanev, fresh from the bench, is not picked up by a defender and Jared McCann passes it to him. Tanev shoots, Elliott saves but leaves a rebound for McCann to follow up and smack home to extend it to two games with a goal for him, and more importantly give the Pens a 4-3 edge.

And that’s the end of the scoring, Pittsburgh takes two out of three from Philly this week!

Some thoughts

  • Tough game for Pettersson who took three penalties. The first for a hold didn’t really even need to happen since Pettersson had knocked the puck off his player anyways, but just one of those games for him where for a while it seemed like nothing was going right.
  • Brandon Tanev recorded the primary assist on the last two goals. He only had three primary 5v5 assists in 90 games as Penguin coming into today.
  • Since coming back from injury a few games ago there haven’t been too many better Penguins than Jared McCann. His speed is noticeable and his hands are working well right now too. Goal scorers can be very streaky so it’s nice that McCann is hot right now.
  • Speaking of hot, the Pens power play with two goals in a game! Crosby and Guentzel with two points on it, Malkin with two points overall. The big guns were going well, and that’s only natural when the power play is good. More of that, plz.
  • The Pens have leaned on Jarry so much lately, and he’s probably been the most consistent player in the last 3-4 weeks now. It was a little unsettling on the second and third goals with not being able to fight through traffic or allowing long range goals. It stands out when Jarry is allowing any sort of weak goals at this point, today it stood out.
  • Luckily, the Pens remembered that more than one goalie can give up bad goals. Elliott wasn’t very good either, especially that Aston-Reese goal which really helped let them the Pens get back into the game at that point before intermission, and possibly changed the whole mood and course of the game.
  • Taking two out of three is a nice development. No OT either! Next step will be eventually getting a result in Philly for the Pens, and then they’ll really be cookin’ with gas.