Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Philadelphia Flyers had a two-goal lead and had to settle for a loser point in a 4-3 overtime defeat at the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Flyers second line of Danick Martel, Nolan Patrick and Wayne Simmonds were buzzing early with a fantastic shift that provided three quality scoring chances, but the inability to elevate the puck kept the game scoreless.
Jake Guentzel gave the Penguins a 1-0 with just under four minutes remaining the first period with his sixth goal in the last eight games. Guentzel received a stretch pass from Justin Schultz and then seemed to surprise Brian Elliott with a quick release from the right dot that beat him to the blocker side.
Early in the second period, the Flyers got a 5-on-3 power play for 1:21, but only needed 10 seconds of it in order to tie the game. Shayne Gostisbehere blasted a slap shot from left circle, between the legs of Tom Kuhnhackl and through a screen by Wayne Simmonds to tie the game. Nolan Patrick and Claude Giroux picked up the assists on Gostisbehere’s third goal of the season.
The Flyers could have turned this game into a laugher during the middle frame, but Robert Hagg, Ivan Provorov, Patrick and Danick Martel all hit iron. They finally got some puck luck at the 15:05 as Brandon Manning’s shot from the point bounced off of Travis Konency and over the goal line. Michael Raffl was credited with the secondary assist on Konecny’s third goal on the year.
About 30 seconds after Konecny’s goal, Jakub Voracek lost and edge while on a breakaway and made heavy contact with goaltender Matt Murray. Tristian Jarry was called into duty after Murray needed help off the ice with a right leg injury.
Sean Couturier extend the Flyers lead to 3-1 in the final minute of the second period with his team-high 14th goal of the season. Provorov kicked a pass from Giroux over to Couturier in the right circle where he blasted a one-timer past Jarry.
The Flyers just cannot get out of their own ways these days as they blew a two-goal lead for the fourth time in the last six games early in the third period. Patric Hornqvist scored on a power play just 1:07 into the final frame to cut the lead to 3-2. Hornqvist got to the front of the net and battled a puck out of the air and into the net. Dave Hakstol challenged the play for goaltender interference, but the goal was upheld after a review.
Bryan Rust tied the game just 39 seconds later as he blocked Gostisbehere’s shot at the blue and got in all alone into the Flyers zone. Elliott made the save on the initial shot, but the rebound hit off of Rust’s stick and found its way over the goal line.
Michael Raffl gave the Flyers a short-lived 4-3 lead at 16:19 of the third period with a tremendous individual effort. Raffl outworked Phil Kessel to get to the front of the net and tucked a backhand shot past Jarry for his second goal of the year.
Guentzel struck for a second goal with just 1:04 remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime as he got to the front of the net after a faceoff and redirected a Justin Schultz point from the shot past Elliott.
The Flyers spent the first 1:45 of overtime shorthanded because of a late third period delay of game penalty by Jakub Voracek. Three seconds after Voracek escaped the confines of the penalty box, Sidney Crosby deflected a Kris Letang shot into the Flyers net to complete the comeback.
How many gut punching losses can the Flyers take before a serious change is made? Recalling Danick Martel is not the change this team needs. The Flyers are inventing ways to lose games on a nightly basis so either a big name player needs to go or Dave Hakstol does. It is usually the head coach who is scapegoated in these situations.