The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers met for the second time this season, which saw the Flyers take advantage of defensive woes and an absence in composure to avenge their opening night loss, 6-5.
Common in many of their games, the Penguins jumped out to a first period lead when Matt Niskanen blasted a slap shot past Ilya Bryzgalov. A little over two minutes later, the Penguins were on the power play after the Flyers’ Harry Zolnierczyk was charged with boarding Robert Bortuzzo. Said power play saw Evgeni Malkin wrist a shot behind Bryzgalov, following a Paul Martin shot pass off the boards, to give Pittsburgh the early 2-0 lead. As quick as the Penguins grabbed the lead, the Flyers stormed back to tie it after goals from Nicklas Grossmann and Wayne Simmonds. The Grossmann goal, in particular, saw everyone in the arena except Tomas Vokoun in the crease trying to defend the goal, but no dice. The period ended with the two rivals tied at two.
The second period wasn’t as action packed as the first, but it did see the Flyers take the lead for the first time in the game when Jakub Voracek beat Vokoun on the power play. Simmonds’ assist on the Voracek goal gave him the “Gordie Howe hat trick,” after fighting Tanner Glass in the first period. Philadelphia took a 3-2 lead into the break.
Then along came the third period and its roller coaster of emotions. Might as well start right off the bat, eighteen seconds into the period saw Voracek strike again when he put the puck into a net that was vacated by an out of position Vokoun, who thought he had the puck covered long enough for a whistle. The Penguins showed signs of life when Tyler Kennedy brought Pittsburgh within a goal, however, that was immediately squashed by Simmonds to put Philadelphia back up by two, 5-3. Following a Flyers parade to the penalty box involving Mike Knuble, Ruslan Fedotenko, and Max Talbot, James Neal brought Pittsburgh back within a goal when took a pass from Malkin and fired it past Bryzgalov for his twelfth of the season at 12:46. After Neal’s goal, it looked as if the Chris Kunitz had tied the game for the Penguins, but a distinct kicking motion took the goal away and kept Pittsburgh a goal down. At 17:57, Brandon Sutter took the roof off of the Consol Energy Center when he tied the game at five on a wrap-around goal. As jubilant as the arena felt when Sutter tied the game, is exactly how distraught the environment was when Voracek ended the game at 18:29 with the hat-trick goal to put the Flyers up for good 6-5.
The Penguins and Flyers don’t meet again until March 7 in Philadelphia. Pittsburgh continues their three-game home stand Friday, February 22 when the Florida Panthers make their first visit of the season.
-Matt Read left the game with an upper-body injury, and did not return.
-At some point, the scoreboard decided it had seen enough and left. Don’t worry, it later returned.
-Sean Couturier got under Malkin’s skin, which resulted in a minor for Couturier and a double-minor for Malkin.
1. Jakub Voracek (3 goals)
2. Wayne Simmonds (2 goals, 1 assist)
3. Paul Martin (3 assists)