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Pens/Flyers Recap: Same formula, same result. Pens roll Flyers for 10th straight win

Stop us if you’ve heard this before — Bryan Rust, Jake Guentzel and Evan Rodrigues pop off in major ways, and the Pens win. This time 6-2 over the Flyers

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Pregame

The Penguins are using the same lines and lineup from last night, with Jeff Carter needing a few more practices before getting back in the game. Tristan Jarry in net.

First period

The Flyers get the game’s first power play when Teddy Blueger cross-checks a dude behind the Philly net, but even down a key PK’er, the Pens kill off the penalty.

Pittsburgh gets their first power play a little later, and the floodgates start to open. Bryan Rust opens the scoring, but all the work was done by Kris Letang to freeze the defenders in the middle of the ice before laying off a pass down to the open Rust for an easy wide open goal. 1-0 Pens.

Pittsburgh gets a bit fortunate with a quick whistle, but hey, refs blow the whistle when the goalie has the puck. Scott Laughton was poking at the covered puck and loosened it from under Jarry’s pad, and the Flyers scored, but clearly after a whistle. Typical Pens/Flyers post-whistle hijinks ensue with Jarry taking offense to being harassed and the Pens’ goalie and Laughton take matching minors.

On the 4v4 play, the Pens extend the score. It’s Rust again, this time jumping on the ice and getting lost in the shuffle. Evan Rodrigues takes a shot, it gets blocked but ends up right on Rust’s stick in front of the net. Easy money for him these days to pop it into the net on a bit of a broken play. 2-0 Pens.

Still on that 4v4, the Pens are just showing off and having fun now. Letang is basically dancing on his skates behind the net, holding the puck forever and fires a cross-ice pass for Jake Guentzel. Guentzel jams the puck in, Carter Hart recovers enough to get his glove on it and pull the puck out. A video review confirms that the puck clearly crosses the line completely so now it’s 3-0.

Shots are 15-9 Pittsburgh, who explode for three goals in a span of 3:54 towards the end of the period to put their stamp on this game and put the under-manned Flyers in a very deep hole.

Second period

Kasper Bjorkqvist takes an interference penalty early, but a pair of comical misplays by Joel Farabee help the Pens to kill the second Flyer power play of the night.

The Flyers stick with it and get on the board. John Marino can’t glove down a Flyer clearing attempt and it turns into a Philly 2-on-1 rush. Cam Atkinson unloads a slapper past Jarry to make it a 3-1 game with 11:50 remaining in the period.

The Pens already have the foot off the gas, taking only three SOG in the first 14 minutes of the period.

Pittsburgh’s lax play continues but Jarry makes two tremendous saves to hold the Flyers at bay.

That seems to get the Pens in gear a little bit and they generate a few looks before the end of the period, including Rust ringing a shot off the cross-bar.

All in all, the Pens are lucky to escape with a two goal lead. Shots in the second are 8-6 Pens, which is oddly misleading for the amount of chances and looks Philadelphia had and the general malaise of the Penguins for the first 15 minutes of the frame.

Third period

Rust sets Guentzel up in front for a chance, Hart stops him then Guentzel and Laughton take themselves off the ice on matching minors. This time, nothing comes of the 4v4 play.

Kasperi Kapanen makes a great play to forward the pass up the ice and then it’s Evan Rodrigues time, baby! Rodrigues dips his shoulder, dekes to his forehand and slides the puck past Hart’s leg to make it a 4-1 game.

90 seconds later the game opens up with the Flyers pushing up the ice. Jarry makes a big save at one end and Pittsburgh pounces on the counter-attack with Crosby sending in Guentzel all alone on a breakaway. Guentzel just lifts an off-speed shot over Hart’s glove to really give some breathing room at 5-1.

Marcus Pettersson is off to the box for cross-checking to create the third Flyer power play of the game, but it’s the Pens’ PK that scores. Marino just pushes Kevin Hayes off the puck and Pittsburgh races up the ice. Brian Boyle surveys his options and just rips a shot high short-side on Hart. 6-1.

The power play is killed off but the Pens don’t find their footing before Oskar Lindbolm finds a loose puck, pulls it around and fires it past Jarry. 6-2 with 7:00 minutes left.

That’s as close as they’ll get. Jarry makes a diving sprawling save for fun late, and time runs out for another emphatic Pittsburgh win.

Some thoughts

  • By the end of the first period, Bryan Rust had scored his seventh goal in seven periods since returning from injury. My goodness, it’s about indescribable how productive and effective he’s been since coming back.
  • Whether it’s been Rodrigues or Rust deservedly taking a lot of attention for their incredible offensive outbursts as of late, it almost seems lost in a shuffle a bit more than it should be that Jake Guentzel now has 15G+10A in his last 16 games played.
  • 14 total road goals in 13 road games for Guentzel too this season.
  • Letang with three assists on the three first period goals, which came in 5v4, 4v4 and 4v4 situations. With more space and time out there, he was able to totally control the pace of play and rack up the passes. His decision making in the offensive zone has been impeccable and as a result he is just piling up the points and making it look easy.
  • Interestingly with Blueger in the box, it was the rookie Bjorkqvist who got tapped for a PK shift, in a sequence where the Pens only used four forwards (Boyle, Aston-Reese, McGinn) to kill those two minutes. Hard to imagine any player in NHL game #3 getting a PK shift (in then a 0-0 game) under Mike Sullivan. Speaks pretty highly about how they feel about the youngster’s game.
  • After three straight games of giving up a goal while on the PK, the group cleans up to go 3/3 and nab a goal of their own.
  • Pittsburgh improves to 18-0-1 after two periods when holding a lead. This one was never in doubt by that point.
  • Great way to start the season-long six game road trip, which now will track west with a day game (2PM start) in Dallas on Saturday next.

10 wins in a row for the Pens, for the first time since 2013. The boys are definitely buzzing and you almost don’t even need to watch the games to know what is going to happen: Rust, Guentzel and Rodrigues are going to score. Letang and Crosby will have a bunch of assists. Jarry will play amazing. Pittsburgh will win. That’s been a great formula for a while now, and is seemingly happen on a nightly basis.