The Flyers threw everything they had Monday at Penguins goaltender Matt Murray, but it just wasn’t enough.
Rookie goaltender Carter Hart saw his eight-game winning streak come to an end as the Penguins stopped the Flyers, 4-1, on South Broad.
The loss dropped the Flyers eight points back in their pursuit of the second wild-card position.
Here are my observations from the Wells Fargo Center:
• Clearly, Sidney Crosby’s goal was very fluky and No. 87 happened to be in the right place at the right time, but why was Crosby, the ultimate Flyers killer, left completely unattended just to the left of the crease? I would think interim head coach Scott Gordon would want someone shadowing Crosby when he’s on the ice, and especially with the puck down low behind the net.
Sean Couturier was hanging between the circles above the dots and Ivan Provorov seemed to abandon his side of the ice. Not ideal positioning if you’re looking to play defense against the Crosby line.
• If you heard very little booing in this game, it’s because the Flyers did a solid job of containing Crosby. From the moment he scored Pittsburgh’s first goal with 11:41 remaining in the first period, he didn’t have another shot attempt until 9:44 remaining in the third period — a span of almost 42 minutes.
• A monumental gaffe came with 7:07 remaining in the second period when referee Kyle Rehman, who was standing behind the goal line and away from the play, blew the whistle prematurely as Pens goaltender Matt Murray never gloved the puck, leaving an easy rebound goal for Nolan Patrick. That would have cut the Penguins' lead to 2-1. The only reasonably logical explanation is that Rehman never saw the puck.
Personally, I think a play like that should be capable of being overturned since that fraction of a second wouldn’t have mattered in how the Penguins defended.
Somehow, this wasn't a goal. pic.twitter.com/T9XHaLWE43— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 12, 2019
• I agree with Gordon's decision to hold defenseman Philippe Myers back until he has a little more practice under his belt, but I would have rather seen newly acquired Justin Bailey over Mikhail Vorobyev. Bailey is the 6-foot-4, 215-pound right winger acquired in the Taylor Leier trade. Bailey would have added some muscle and physicality you would like out of a fourth-liner. Gordon could have moved Phil Varone back to center in the process.
I haven’t liked Vorobyev’s game over the past couple of contests. He’s stopped skating again and has become more of an observer.
• Mark this down: the Flyers ripped off a franchise-record 28 shots on net in the second period and outshot the Penguins 28-8, yet were outscored in that period. It broke the previous record of 25 shots on goal set twice, most recently in February 1988.
Murray’s 28 saves were the difference for a Pittsburgh team that is now 24-0-1 when leading after two periods.
• Evgeni Malkin returned after missing the previous five games. It was Malkin’s violent high-sticking penalty against Michael Raffl that gave the Flyers a five-minute power play for the remainder of regulation. Jakub Voracek scored in the first 15 seconds, but the Flyers were unable to capitalize after that.
• Gordon switches up his lines so often you don’t exactly know what to make of it or know if it’s a knock against any one player. With his team down 2-0 in the third period, Gordon gave Raffl some ice time with Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk, while moving Travis Konecny down to the fourth line. Raffl was also on a line with Scott Laughton and JVR as he was playing hard on the forecheck, but wasn’t afforded much support from Varone or Vorobyev.
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