Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers

Our Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers last night 5 – 4 in OT. Pyrrhic may not be quite the right adjective to describe the victory, since the term implies that the victory was tantamount to a defeat, but it certainly was a costly victory; Matt Murray had to leave the game with a lower body injury. Tristan Jarry came in to replace him.

When you are down on your luck it seems nothing goes right for you and when two teams down on their luck face each other, fates collide. Fortunately for our hometown favorites, Philadelphia was the more unlucky of the two teams. Although, overall the Penguins have had their share of problems this season, they do boast some of the best scoring talent in the league and it was on full display last night, despite one of our best, Evgeni Malkin, being on the shelf. Brian Elliot, the Flyers goalie was assaulted by Penguin skaters, facing 82 shots attempts, 52 of them on goal. Mr Elliot surely was a busy man and did his best to hold the fort under our Penguins onslaught. Only Jake Guentzel’s opening tally was a clean goal; a laser beam of a shot to the top far corner as he cruised in on his off wing. The 4 other Penguin goals were lunch-pail goals borne of good old fashion hard work and some puck luck.

What is the old saying put the puck on net and good things happen? Down 3 – 1 at the start of the third period but on the power play, Patric Hornqvist seemed determined to change the game single handed. Driving down the right wing wall, then dropping the puck back to Sidney Crosby, Hornqvist started the play that would result in his 8th goal of the season. Crosby quickly found Guentzel in the slot (finally a Penguin in a high percentage scoring area taking a shot) who wasted no time ripping a shot on goal as Hornqvist crashed the net to complete the play he started. Elliot couldn’t handle the shot cleanly and Hornqvist, in true Hornqvist style batted the rebound passed Elliot.

Less than 40 seconds later, Bryan Rust, decided he would not be out done by Hornqvist and in an attempt to one up the Short Handed Goal he scored in the previous game blocked a play at his defensive blue line and then turned on the after burners to blow past another set of defensemen who looked like they were standing still compared to the fleet-footed Rust, for another break away. To his credit, Elliot tried to hold back the fates, but Luck was no Lady for the Flyers this night as another determined Penguin kept barging toward the net and the rebound bounced right up off of Elliot onto the shaft of Rust’s stick, over Elliot, and into the net.

However, the Penguins hapless defense was bound and determined to abet Philadelphia. All night Penguins defensemen had been contributing to the Flyers offense with bad passes just within the blue line, allowing odd man breaks, including the breakaway by Jakub Voracek that would eventually lead to the injury to Murray as well as very ill-timed penalties by Brian Dumoulin and Olli Maatta that gave the Flyers a two man advantage in the second period. Not to be out done by Kris Letang’s bad plays or Dumoulin and Maatta’s Penalties, around the 16 minute mark, Matt Hunwick, who, going into last night’s game was ceding over 70 shot attempts to Penguins opponents for every 60 minutes of even strength ice-time he played, decided to give the puck away to Flyers Michael Raffl just inside the Flyers Blue-Line. Phil Kessel did try and cover for Hunwick, but when a forward is forced to cover for a defensemen bad things happen and Raffl powered his way in on Jarry to stake the Flyers to another lead.

But as I said, Luck was no Lady to the Flyers last night, despite the efforts of the Penguins defense to help out their opponents at every turn, the Penguins “O” and Puck-Luck prevailed. Guentzel evened the game up when Mike Sullivan pulled his goalie and put the extra attacker on. More bouncing pucks off Penguins forwards and the Penguins were back in business.

Then Sidney Crosby, in a show of what a Captain is supposed to do, led the charge with still over a minute to play, the Penguins Captain went back on the offensive leading his line in attack to end the game in regulation time forcing Voracek to take a delay of game penalty, when he threw the puck over the glass to take the heat out of the hot kitchen. Then just after the Penalty expired, in over-time he redirected a shot from Kris Letang to send Philadelphia home losers of 8 straight games and three straight OT losses.

Loose Notes;

Phil “the Thrill” Kessel quietly added to his team leading point total, picking up an assist on the game winner. It was the 6th time this year he assisted on what would be the winning goal.

Matt Murray will be revaluated today. Let’s hope for the best.

Ian Cole was once again a healthy scratch. Why? I have no idea. No, Cole has not been playing like he did two seasons ago but if any Penguins “D” needs to be a healthy scratch it is Matt Hunwick. He is a CRORSI nightmare. When a Defenseman is giving up over 70 shot attempts per 60 minutes of even strength ice time he has no business getting any ice-time. I understand that trading a UFA is a good idea and sitting a player who is on the trading block prevents him from getting hurt but Hunwick is seriously hurting the team.

In another head-scratcher Ryan Reaves only played 5:33 last night.

Greg McKegg only played 7 shifts last night; none after the second period, pretty much the same as Reaves.

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  1. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    November 28, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Hey Other Rick,

    Terrific game summary…clever, witty and insightful.

    Yes, we won. And we certainly showed a lot of moxie coming back from 3-1 down, not to mention 4-3 with only a few minutes to play. But man, oh man, do I wish we could play a 60-minute game. I’m sure Mike Sullivan does, too.

    Switching gears, I hope and pray Murray’s not seriously hurt. I’ve got no issues with Jarry…I think he’ll prove to be a pleasant surprise. But a Jarry-DeSmith tandem, especially behind our less-than-air-tight defense? Yikes.

    Speaking of the ‘d’, I’m truly sick about the Ian Cole trade rumors. Maybe he was having his struggles. But this guy’s a warrior. He played with broken ribs and a broken hand through pretty much the entire postseason last spring and never backed off an inch from his shot-blocking, in-your-face style. He’s the kind of guy you win Cups with.

    We’ve already lost enough heart-and-soul guys. We don’t need to lose another, especially by choice.


    PS–I’m trying to give Hunwick the benefit of the doubt. But I’d much rather have Cole back there.

    PSS–Giving credit where credit is due, I thought Letang played really well. His shot/pass on the game-winner was a thing of beauty.

    PSSS–I thought Rowney played a good game last night…aggressive and forceful. And I thought Kuhnhackl skated faster than I’ve seen for a while.

    • November 28, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      This Ian Cole thing is crazy, everyone was talking about it at the game last night. I thought they were kidding.

      He is by far the Pens best penalty killer and defensive denseman. All I can figure is that perhaps they tried to negotiate a contract extension and Cole wants way more than the Pens are willing to pay. I wouldn’t blame him for going for the big payday, he’s earned it.

      It is too bad that Malkin and now Murray may be out but it does seem that the adversity has lit at least a little bit of a fire under the Penguins collective arses.

      The Penguins have a new “all speed” line and it is playing havoc with the other teams and has really been tiring down the other teams defenses. I love it!

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        November 28, 2017 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Hey Phil,

        When 55 on Point first mentioned the Cole trade thing, I thought he was kidding too. I agree with you, I wouldn’t begrudge Cole going for the big money either, if he does, he has sacrificed his body over and over again. I am going to hate to see him go though. However, from the Pens side of things, I really don’t understand the logic of trading him though, unless they are about to write the season off. Rather than shop for a solid defensemen rent-a-player at the trade deadline it would make more sense just to play out the string with Cole.

        Well that is not true, if someone came to me and was offering me the bank for him, then I would trade him, but I wouldn’t be shopping him. Every player is trade able in my book, for the right price.

        I agree with you, about the speed line, in fact most of the forwards were playing hard. I was just surprised to see that McKegg and Reaves played less than 6 minutes each and had no ice time in the 3rd period.

        In the pre-Sullivan era, the Pens would fold like a house of Cards with the slightest bit of adversity, but since Sullivan has gotten here, they thrive on adversity. I am hoping that both Jarry and DeSmith use this time to make a statement, if both show they can play at the NHL level then that gives the Pens a bargaining chip at the trade dead line and competition always does bring out the most in a position, I doubt Murray would mind at all being pushed by one of them.

  2. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    November 28, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Hey Coach,
    A very well written article sir. Your humor and command of the English language is to be commended. Plus your hockey analysis is not to shabby either buddy. 🙂 …. Great job OTR.

    FYI Hockey Writers Association posted NHL Power Team rankings today and we are ranked 18th, as of right now, today, to win the cup.
    Vegas is like 4th or 5 th ???
    To be fair they also said when Malkin comes back they could be talking about a three peat before seasons end. That might be stretching it a bit in my opinion unless we add some man power from some where.


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