Following a pair of demoralizing defeats sandwiched around the trade deadline, the Flyers desperately needed to build some positives Thursday night.
They did so by picking up a 2-1 shootout win over the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.
Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier made nasty moves to deliver in the skills competition. Jakub Voracek scored the game-tying goal 1:24 minutes into the third period.
With 13 games left, the Flyers (20-17-6) remain six points behind the Bruins, who hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the East Division.
The Penguins (27-13-3) suffered only their second loss when leading after the second period. They are 17-1-1 in those situations and both losses have come to the Flyers.
• In his NHL debut, Wade Allison played on the fourth line with Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick.
With the Flyers down 1-0 in the second period, the 23-year-old winger made an athletic and skilled play in front to nearly score his first career goal. Allison found a way to corral a bouncing pass and put it on net but Tristan Jarry denied him with a pad save.
Allison was good and undoubtedly earned himself another game Saturday. The four-year Western Michigan product is a power forward with craftiness and skill around the net.
The Flyers should and will continue to give their younger players a good look the rest of this season. Get ahead of the evaluation and roster construction for 2021-22.
Allison battled injuries during his time with the Broncos, including a torn ACL his sophomore year.
"It's been a long road," Allison said postgame. "There have been a lot of ups, a lot of downs, but I did it. It's pretty cool, something I'll remember forever, something that nobody can ever take from me. It's pretty special.
"I called my parents, just told them I was in the lineup. They told me they were proud of me. It's something I've worked my entire life for, never taking days off. It's incredibly special; this is the coolest thing ever."
• Sidney Crosby opened the game's scoring in the second period when Carter Hart failed to connect on a loose puck in front and Pittsburgh's captain pounced on it.
Penguins associate head equipment manager Jon Taglianetti tallied an unofficial assist on Crosby's goal.
• Other than that goal, Hart was sharp with 31 saves — 13 of them over the third period and bonus session.
The 22-year-old made glove stops on Crosby and Kris Letang in the shootout.
Aside from the team's collapse last weekend to the Sabres, Hart has played well since his reset.
"In overtime, we were not the better team," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "Carter kept us in, gave us a chance."
Jarry, Hart's offseason training buddy, made 26 saves.
• A scary moment occurred in the third period when Patrick took a puck to the head area. The shot was completely inadvertent from teammate Philippe Myers, who was trying to keep the puck in the offensive zone and didn't see Patrick.
The officials quickly whistled the action to a halt. Patrick was assisted up the tunnel and did not return to the game.
The 22-year-old has been healthy this season after missing the 2019-20 campaign as he recovered from a migraine disorder.
Vigneault said he saw Patrick after the game and the young center told the head coach everything was fine.
• In lineup matters:
Nicolas Aube-Kubel was a healthy scratch for Allison. Aube-Kubel has committed a team-high 16 penalties, seven more than any other Flyer coming into Thursday. That should not be the case with a fourth-liner.
"With the amount of penalties that Ku has taken lately, far too many, I decided to make that change," Vigneault said before the game.
Myers entered the lineup on the back end for Samuel Morin. Vigneault said the decision to sit Morin was not performance-based.
"It's not because Sam has played poorly," Vigneault said. "It's more of a number of games and Sam coming back from his injuries; he has played a lot of hockey. I talked to him briefly this morning, I'm going to save him for the weekend where we play teams that are a little bit more physical."
Myers assisted Voracek's game-tying goal in the third period.
• The Flyers have a back-to-back set over the weekend at the Wells Fargo Center. They host the Capitals on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Islanders on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN).
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