In an encounter not very reminiscent of many of the recent
battles in their rivalry, the Penguins defeated the Flyers in overtime on
Sunday night, a measured 2-1 contest that truly could have fallen either way.
Unfortunately, it didn’t fall quite the way it needed to.
The two teams fought to a 0-0 draw in the first period – the
first scoreless frame the two teams had played against each other since Game 5
of last year’s playoffs – then Claude Giroux put Philly ahead with a power-play
goal in the second. Meanwhile, Ilya Bryzgalov was able to keep the Penguins’
offense at bay for nearly 54 minutes, but finally lost the shutout during a (albeit
The Flyers had some quality opportunities in OT, but just
couldn’t get the puck to go to its home. Tyler Kennedy eventually did, firing a
laser by Bryz to steal a victory, Pittsburgh’s 12th straight.
The action on the ice lacked the high-scoring play, and to
some extent the back-and-forth intensity the series has become known for in
recent years, not to mention much of the brawling and chirping. If you didn’t
sense a Pens comeback coming from a mile away though, you obviously haven’t
been paying close enough attention to this rivalry.
That and the Orange & Black have hardly given 60 minutes
of their best hockey all season. The effort was there this time, but
consistency and finishing continue to be an issue.
The good news is the Flyers salvaged one point at least, but
the time for half-measures is past for this group. If they are to have any
chance of reaching the tournament, however remote it may be, they need wins to
start coming in bunches, and immediately.
Here’s some food for thought though. The Pens escape the regular
season series with a 3-1 victory, but on the off-chance the Bullies do make the
playoffs, there’s a solid chance it will be as a seven or eight seed – and thus
would likely be seeing much more black and gold. It’s anybody’s guess whether
that’s a good or a bad thing.
Seeing as Pittsburgh is cruising, plus just acquired Brenden Morrow from the Dallas Stars before the puck dropped on Sunday, it doesn’t sound like a positive scenario right this moment.
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