PITTSBURGH — The Flyers’ season and story seems to rewrite itself on a nightly basis.
Flyers killer Sidney Crosby scored the game-winner just after Pittsburgh’s power play had expired to give the Penguins a 5-4 overtime victory Monday and extend the orange and black’s losing streak to eight games.
Prior to Michael Raffl’s go-ahead goal with 3:41 remaining, Pittsburgh erased the Flyers’ 3-1 lead with two quick goals in the first 1:46 of the third period.
Jake Guentzel scored his second goal of the game with 1:04 left that tied the contest at 4-4 to force overtime.
It was the fourth time in the Flyers’ last six games they had squandered a two-goal lead.
Travis Konecny scored his first goal in 14 games, which gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead in the second period. Sean Couturier added his 14th goal of the season in the final minute of the second period.
Brian Elliott made a career-high 47 saves.
• Here’s a matchup Dave Hakstol wants to avoid: Crosby in the corner against Shayne Gostisbehere. Twice the two players battled along the boards in the first period and twice Crosby found a way to get the puck to a teammate. Overall, the Flyers did a nice job during that frame on Crosby, who was held without a shot and won just 3 of his 9 faceoffs. That included losing one to Wayne Simmonds.
• The Flyers' second line continues to generate opportunities and offensive zone time. The unit's first shift resulted in three shots on net from each player on the line. The second shift resulted in a power-play opportunity as it worked the puck deep in the Penguins’ zone before Konecny drew a slashing penalty at the 7:57 mark of the first period.
• Couturier wasted that opportunity to gain an early lead when he swung his stick and was eventually whistled for slashing, which essentially negated the Flyers’ power play after just 23 seconds on the ice. Those are the opportunities you can’t let go to waste playing against Pittsburgh.
• Robert Hagg turned in a solid defensive shift against the Penguins’ top line. He stayed in front of Crosby and then peeled off to take Conor Sheary, who swung around to the left of the net and was able to only get off a sharp-angle shot. One of Hagg’s best strengths is how he utilizes his stick low to the ice to take away potential passing lanes.
• Unless Guentzel’s shot deflected off Brandon Manning’s stick, Elliott should have made a blocker save on that shot. It appeared Elliott was on his angle and the puck simply slipped past his blocker.
• For the most part, the first period was played evenly until the final six minutes when the Pens gained the territorial edge and wound up outshooting the Flyers by a 17-10 margin.
• The Flyers were given a generous 5-on-3 opportunity for 1:21 when Olli Maatta was whistled for a cheap hooking penalty. Regardless, the Flyers capitalized with their first two-man advantage goal as Gostisbehere cranked a slapper that Matt Murray could not handle. For Gostisbehere, that’s two goals in two straight games.
• Fourth-line tough guy Ryan Reaves took a run at Flyers captain Claude Giroux and knocked him into the short boards between the two benches. You can’t have one of your skilled players take that sort of punishment.
• There was a very good recovery from Travis Sanheim on Carl Hagelin’s potential breakaway. Both Manning and Sanheim converged on Hagelin.
• The Flyers hit the crossbar twice in the span of less than two minutes. Nolan Patrick from the right side and then Ivan Provorov on a perfect cross-ice feed from Jori Lehtera. Provorov had chances to jump into the play and make something happen. That was his closest chance of the game. About four minutes later, Danick Martel hit the post from about the same angle that Guentzel scored on Elliott in the first period.
• That’s two posts and two crossbars for the Flyers or this could have been a 5-1 lead.
• Couturier with a deadly snap shot that beat backup goalie Tristan Jarry. Credit Provorov with a nifty-looking kick pass right to Couturier, whether he intended to or not. Couturier has scored the bulk of his goals from right around the crease, but this time he displayed some touch on a goal that beat Jarry high glove.
• Andrew MacDonald had an early third-period trip on Patric Hornqvist that gave the Penguins life. Hornqvist converted with a power-play goal by batting the puck in just above the crossbar and right in front of Elliott’s mask. Elliott looked as if he was preparing to grab it with his glove before Hornqvist got his stick on it. Dave Hakstol unsuccessfully challenged the call for goaltender interference.
• The Flyers took a two-goal lead into the third period, which lasted all of 1:46 after Bryan Rust broke in all alone on Elliott. Gostisbehere’s shot was blocked by Rust and “Ghost” simply didn’t have the foot speed to keep up with him. Elliott stopped the initial shot and the rebound appeared to kick in off Rust’s stick.
Lines, pairings and scratches
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Danick Martel-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Valtteri Filppula-Travis Konecny
Dale Weise-Scott Laughton-Jori Lehtera
Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim-Brandon Manning
Scratches: Forwards Jordan Weal (healthy) and Taylor Leier (healthy), and defenseman Radko Gudas (suspended).