Jeff Carter makes his Pittsburgh debut and the Penguins elect to dress Mark Jankowski over Radim Zohorna up front.
Uneventful first, to put it kindly. Pittsburgh doesn’t record a shot on goal until 15 minutes in when Brian Dumoulin, of all people, gets behind the defense and gets a crack at it.
The Pens have two power plays in the period, without doing much, the Flyers get a power play of their own and similarly don’t create a lot.
Overall, it looks like the Pens have been off since Sunday and Philadelphia doesn’t look very sharp themselves. Shots are only 5-3 PHI through 20.
Early in the second, Sidney Crosby gives a needless reminder why you have to tune in every game, even the stinkers. You just might see a new flash of greatness that you’ve never quite seen before. Crosby passed his stick back to the defenseman Dumoulin while the the Pens were pinned in their zone. Dumoulin springs Kris Letang for a rush and Crosby bolts to the bench. A quick replacement is offered by associate head equipment manager Jon Taglianetti and Crosby follows up on Letang’s shot and finds a rebound to shoot past Carter Hart. 1-0 Pens on another classic Crosby goal.
Just crazy stuff.
After a dull first period, the second is a ton of action. Somehow the Flyers don’t score on this sequence, with Guentzel blocking a shot from point blank with a lot of open net behind him.
Shots in the second are 16-13 in favor of Pittsburgh as the game comes to life. Incredibly, there was only the one goal scored.
Just 1:24 in the Flyers get on the board with their first goal. Carter blocks a shot but it bounces for Jakub Voracek to skate into open space. Jared McCann and Mike Matheson can’t stop him from shooting in time and Voracek snaps a five hole shot by Jarry. 1-1 game.
Voracek walks in and beats Jarry! pic.twitter.com/4cydtLmsy5— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) April 16, 2021
Carter Hart, who has been about the worst goalie in the league this season per metrics like GSAA is playing very strong in this game. Robs Evan Rodrigues from right in front here.
With 2:52 left in the game the Crosby line draws Pittsburgh’s third power play and a chance to break the tie. They take a timeout to talk it over and get everyone ready. The Penguins do not score. Shortly after the power play ends, Rodrigues gets hit by a stick on his helmet but the refs aren’t about to call another penalty on the Flyers in the game’s last minute.
Shots are 8 a piece in the third period, and 27-26 Pittsburgh overall through 60 minutes.
Crosby-Guentzel-Letang starts. Each team gets an odd man rush, Guentzel rips his shot off the post and the game goes on.
McCann-Rust-Matheson the next group. Matheson gets a crack at one but can’t put it in.
Carter-Zucker-Marino are the third shift for the Pens. Zucker ripped a shot off Hart’s mask.
The Crosby trio back out there, Guentzel nearly scores again. Pens getting the best of OT by far but Crosby trips a Flyer and the refs don’t ignore that (it was a trip, to be fair).
Philly with a 4v3 power play with 1:57 left, they take their timeout to group up. It doesn’t work as the Pens’ PK holds.
Guentzel goes first in round one, he uses his patended deke to the backhand with the kick thrown in and slips a changeup in five hole past Hart.
Claude Giroux next for Philly and he responds. Power deke to his forehand after selling the other way. 1-1 after one.
Crosby goes next, tries to freeze Hart and shoots for the glove quickly, but Hart stops him. Sean Couturier in next and he dekes in tight and spins and lifts the puck top shelf.
Kris Letang with the last ditch effort, Hart stops him.
- Somebody should put a little something in Jon Taglianetti’s next paycheck, eh? Great move by him to quickly have the right stick ready and make the pass off. Just another reason why hockey is the ultimate team game, and so many members of the team on and off the ice have to be dialed in and ready for anything at any time.
- And, man, Crosby is just a maestro. Who starts a 2-on-1 rush without a stick and ends up scoring a goal with a stick? The things he is capable of on a hockey rink just sometimes defy the laws of the imagination and is such a treat to enjoy over the years getting to witness stuff like that. It’s nice to just remember and bask in how special this player and era is.
- Jeff Carter was pretty much as advertised, a big body who is pretty good on faceoffs (won 9 out of 13), gets to the front of the net and gets puck on target (2 SOG, 4 attempts). A nice debut, he created a few nice scoring chances for himself, also had a hit, a blocked shot and a takeaway. He’ll be a good addition and got some work with the PP and PK as well, should be able to do a bit of everything for the Pens.
- Former Pens coach Michel Therrien was barking instructions in OT for the Flyer PP. I always forget he’s an assistant in Philly. Weird to see him in charge of a power play, of all things.
- Rare off night for Crosby in the faceoff circle, he only won 40% of his 30 faceoffs on the eve.
- Pens move up to 3-1 on shootouts on the season, dropping their first of the season. Can’t live forever walking that knife edge.
- Shame too, Pittsburgh dominated the first three minutes of OT.
- Gotta give Hart credit, his best game in ages. The Pens were flat and looked rusty early and that seemed to wake the Flyers up and keep them in the game.
- The Pens are now 17-1-1 when leading after two periods this season. Both of the losses (including tonight) are to the Flyers. Luckily Philly is so far behind this will only be a minor annoyance and not determine any sort of making the playoff outcome between the two teams.
Not all was lost with a point in the standings for Pittsburgh. Not the greatest result, but for only scoring one goal, you can’t ask for too much more. The Pens move onto a weekend set with the Sabres as they look to get back to their winning ways.