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Penguins/Flyers Recap: Deja vu, and not the good kind. Pens fall in OT to Philadelphia again

For the second time in three days, the Penguins lose a tight game to the Flyers

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


The Penguins give Tristan Jarry the rare night off so it’s Alex Nedeljkovic time. And there’s one more lineup change involving an Alex - Alex Nylander is back in the NHL and playing at the expense of Vinnie Hinostroza’s lineup spot from last game with a couple of changes in the bottom six.

First period

Another fairly quiet start for Pens/Flyers, if the rivalry isn’t dead it’s at least in a deep state of being dormant.

The Nylander-Radim Zohorna combo has trouble leading the zone, gets pinned but Nedeljkovic bails them out with a big save on Owen Tippett.

Cam York sends the puck off the rink and the Flyers take the first penalty. Good news for them, since Pittsburgh can’t even muster a shot on goal and Travis Konecny gets sprung on a breakaway that Nedeljkovic turns away.

That poor play doesn’t simmer, Pittsburgh scores anyways back at even strength. Some masterful work by Bryan Rust to send Jake Guentzel off on an odd-man rush with Sidney Crosby. Guentzel abuses York with a through pass that makes it to Crosby and he’s got a fairly easy finish for his 15th goal of the season.

Shots in the first are 14-8 Pens. Good period, aside from the awful time on the power play.

Second period

Philadelphia takes a bench minor for too many players (possibly on purpose??? Kidding. Maybe.) The nightmare of the Penguin power play strikes again. In deja vu, Konecny gets ANOTHER clean breakaway that once again Pittsburgh needs Nedeljkovic to make a huge save. Then Sean Couturier works a 2-on-1 for another quality shorthanded chance. Didn’t really see the Pens control the puck in the Philadelphia zone at all, even for a short bit of time. Disgusting stuff.

The Flyers tie the game with more deja vu in a callback to last game with Tyson Foerester ripping a shot from the left circle off a cross-ice pass and going short-side into the net. That was exactly the same manner that he scored on Saturday. Nedeljkovic was flawless on the first 17 shots he saw, but this was a tricky one.

The Pens’ third line has a good shift, Zohorna is stopped on a breakaway and Lars Eller hits the crossbar but they help get the game back on track for the visitors. The team builds on it with the first line having another great shift, then the second line follows that up with one.

Suddenly play goes the other way and Nedeljkovic has to stretch to the limits to make a beauty of a stop on Joel Farabee to keep it even.

Shots in the second period are 14-11 Flyers. Really fun action going in both directions, aside from the nightmare known as the Pittsburgh power play.

Third period

The start of the third doesn’t go well for Pittsburgh, it takes almost 11 minutes for Marcus Pettersson to get their first shot on goal of the period. The Flyers nearly score before that, getting the puck behind Nedeljkovic, but it trickles wide through the entire crease and harmlessly out the other side.

Zohorna heads to the penalty box with 5:17 to go on an offensive-zone tripping call that hand the Flyers their first power play of the game. Lars Eller makes a monster play to force a Flyer to hold him to negate the advantage.

The Pens get the carryover power play for almost a minute, but naturally can’t capitalize.

For a second straight game, the PA rivals can’t get a result against each other in regulation so it’s another overtime.


Wheels fall apart for the Penguins, Crosby makes a few wildly bad turnovers in his own end that he almost never does, but Nedeljkovic is able to save the day several times on high-quality chances against.

Pittsburgh takes their timeout with 1:14 left to settle things down and give their big boys a rest prior to an offensive zone faceoff. It doesn’t pay off, Crosby loses the faceoff and the play goes the other way on a 2-on-1. Konecny feeds Sean Couturier and he unleashes a quick shot that ends this one. 2-1 Flyers win, but the Pens get a point in the standings for their effort.

Some thoughts

  • The first goal of the game is why the Penguins are very hesitant to break apart the Guentzel-Crosby-Rust line, and why they are that way. Rust made a totally blind, long area pass across the ice that was right on the money for Guentzel. Jake made a perfect setup for Sid. All the shared time together has grown a very real chemistry where these guys just perfectly know where and when the others are going to be at all times.
  • Words fail when talking about the Pens’ power play, it’s completely broken right now. The issue isn’t the fifth player on it but more the way the whole group thinks and acts. Totally in shambles.
  • Interesting the Pens started OT with Malkin-Rust-Karlsson. Crosby wasn’t on the ice for the end of regulation, it isn’t too often where he doesn’t start periods.
  • And for the above note, not sure if Crosby was just dog tired after playing 22 minutes in this one, but that OT might have been one of the worst sequences of his NHL career with low energy, losing faceoffs, totally losing the player he should have been marked against that scored the game winner. It was very unlike himself in all areas, to a shocking degree. (Then again, the Pens don’t get to OT without Sid scoring, which has to be remembered as well).
  • It wasn’t a high scoring game, but it wasn’t for a lack of excitement or chances. Credit to both goalies who played really well. It could also be considered a frustrating game for both teams with a bevy of turnovers and poor decisions to bounce the puck back and forth too each other.

In all, it was a game highly reminiscent of Saturday, which wasn’t a good thing for Pittsburgh. They get a point to show for it but in an unfulfilling manner. And for a team that is looking like it’s running low on gas, they set out for Florida to meet two pretty good teams on the road in the next few days without much of a break.