This game followed the same formula as most of the playoff games between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, last season.
The Penguins got up by two goals; the Flyers came back. There were double digit goal totals, as well as 48 penalty minutes and a few scraps along the way.
But in the end, the beat went on for the Flyers, regardless of where each team was in the standings heading into the contest. Jakub Voracek scored a hat trick, including the game-winner with 1:31 left in the game to pull the Flyers over the Penguins 6-5 at Consol Energy Center, Wednesday night.
Matt Niskanen scored five minutes into the first period on a shot from the point. Peter Laviolette used his timeout after Pittsburgh’s 1-0 lead to gather his team, who had been dominated for an early portion of the game. Anyone watching last year’s Pens/Flyers games knew this usually spelled trouble for Pittsburgh.
But the Flyers’ Harry Zolneirczyk took a boarding penalty 13 seconds after the break, giving the second best power play in the league a chance to extend the lead.
The Penguins cashed in on Evgeni Malkin’s fourth goal of season. After having a goal called back earlier on the power play, Malkin roofed the puck over Ilya Bryzgalov after it caromed off the boards from a slapshot by Paul Martin.
But the Penguins didn’t get the next goal to bury the Flyers, and Philadelphia came back scoring four unanswered goals.
Nicklas Grossman scored his first goal of the season on one of the more bizarre plays ever witnessed in hockey. After Tomas Vokoun was caught out of his net, the Flyers attempted to jam the puck in behind Kris Letang who was sprawled, post to post, at the goal line. The puck fluttered out to Grossman who finally scored and ended the mass chaos that saw at least eight players in the crease.
Exactly one minute later, Wayne Simmonds scored tucking a puck around Vokoun’s left pad. The goal prompted Dan Bylsma to burn his timeout, but the Flyers were already off and running.
The Penguins became unglued after a couple of big hits by Zac Rinaldo and Brayden Schenn. Tanner Glass and Wayne Simmonds went off for fighting while Kris Letang and Zac Rinaldo took matching penalties.
The second period was a lot calmer and it looked as though both teams would take an even score heading into the second intermission. But Voracek capitalized on a questionable penalty on Craig Adams, burying a rebound from Wayne Simmonds past a diving Vokoun.
Voracek would score 18 seconds into the third period after Tomas Vokoun misplayed the puck behind his own net. After Braden Coburn’s shot went wide, Voracek found the puck on the goal line, left of the net and fire it into a wide open cage.
Tyler Kennedy scored his first goal in fifteen games to cut into the Flyers’ lead. After Paul Martin’s shot was stopped in front, Kennedy corralled the rebound and squeezed the puck past Bryzgalov on the short side.
Wayne Simmonds would extend the lead back to two, tipping the puck over Vokoun’s shoulder just two minutes after Kennedy cut the deficit in half.
With the score 5-3, Tanner Glass took a double minor for high-sticking. The penalty came just 20 seconds after Simmonds’s goal. It also deflated 18000 fans at Consol Energy Center.
But the Penguins were able to kill off Glass’s penalty and when it seemed the game was out of reach, the Flyers had a penalty meltdown of their own.
Mike Knuble and Ruslan Fedotenko each took high-sticking penalties, with Mike Knuble’s being a double minor for drawing blood on Deryk Engelland’s face.
With the Penguins on a long power play, Max Talbot’s stick broke, essentially creating a 5 on 2.5. Evgeni Malkin setup James Neal for a one-timer that Bryzgalov had no chance of stopping. With the Penguins still on a 5 on 3 power play, Talbot took a penalty for delay of game, closing his hand on the puck. The Penguins initially tied the game, but a review showed the puck was kicked in by Chris Kunitz.
The Penguins failed to score another power play goal but Brandon Sutter tied the game with 2:03 remaining. Sutter took the puck behind the net, walked out in front and slid the puck five hole on Bryzgalov as he was attempting to poke check.
Unfortunately, the Penguins were unable to force an over time as Voracek scored with 1:31 remaining on a bank shot from behind the net. Vokoun did not hug the post as Voracek’s shot came from behind the left side of the cage and the Flyers skated away with the win.
- Evgeni Malkin and James Neal have a combined 16 goals on the season, 11 coming on the power play.
- Tomas Vokoun has given up 12 goals in his last three games since his shutout against the New York Rangers on January 31st.
- The Flyers have scored 13 goals in their last two games.
- Jakub Voracek
- Wayne Simmonds
- Paul Martin
Photo courtesy of NHL.com