Tough game to swallow if you are a Pens fan. They started out playing some great hockey but one penalty and a quick goal can really give the momentum to one team and propel them to victory. That is exactly what happened today. The Flyers came back from being down 2-0 to end the Penguins 11 game win streak with a 3-2 victory in overtime.
I was on the road for much of the day but I was able to watch the game at a friend's house so here are a few thoughts:
-The Penguins played some pretty good hockey for the first 40 minutes. The Flyers couldn't do anything. They could barely even get a shot off. They held a 27-10 shot advantage through two periods and held the Flyers to only two shots in the second period. They had a two goal lead and with the way they were playing there was no way I thought the Flyers were going to come back. They did. Zbynek Michalek took a penalty with just 30 seconds left in the second period and Kimmo Timonen scored in the first 30 seconds of the third period. Scott Hartnell scored four minutes later and it was a new game. One penalty and the game flipped 100% in Philadelphia's favor. It happens.
-The Penguins let the Flyers get into their heads after they tied it up. Late in the game there were a few scrums and while the Flyers didn't always get a power play they sort of did in a way. What do I mean? Well early in overtime Braydon Coburn baited Kris Letang into getting into a scrum and both went to the box for two minutes. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Flyers will take the trade of having Coburn go off the ice for two minutes if it means Kris Letang goes off the ice for that two minutes. Huge advantage Flyers. That is just one instance but it happened a few times during the game.
-I do not like Scott Hartnell at all but the dude is playing some great hockey this year. He scored a pair of goals which means he has 35 goals on the season. 35. Just to compare that Evgeni Malkin has 41 goals. You can hate the guy all you want but you have to give him props. He scored the game winner with just over a second left in the game and scored the game tying goal. It sucks and he is a troll but he has been getting it done this year.
-Crosby has still been on a sort of pitch count. He only skated for about 17 minutes but he looked a lot better and confident today than the past two games. You can tell he is starting to get into the groove. One thing that needs to happen is that Crosby needs to play with some new line mates. I love Matt Cooke and what he has done this year but Tyler Kennedy has just been struggling in a big way all season. It just really isn't working. I am sure Crosby will be stating with maybe Dupuis and Stall or Dupuis and Sullivan soon so I am not really worried but I would like to see it sooner rather than later.
-Marc Andre Fleury made another start today. He has been playing a ton of hockey lately and I am really surprised that he played in all three games against the Rangers, Devils and Flyers. I thought Brad Thiessen might get a start but they are going to ride MAF as far as they can. I wouldn't be surprised to see Thissen on Tuesday but who knows. The Penguins are only one point back of New York with games even so I guess it depends on how badly they want that top seed.
-Losing sucks. Losing to the Flyers sucks even worse. That being said this wasn't a "terrible loss" or however you want to look at it. These past three games against the Rangers, Devils and Flyers in less that four full days was a daunting task and to come out of that with five points is a really great road trip. I would have been more than happy with just four points out of that but getting that fifth point today was huge. The Penguins will be fine. Teams lose games. Teams blow leads sometimes. Shit happens. The Penguins have been easily the best team in the league probably for the entire 2012 calender year so I don't think you can really complain about only getting one point in a game, even if it is to the Flyers.
Much needed day off for the Penguins tomorrow.