By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
There wasn't much different about the start to this game for the Flyers against the Penguins as the last one. The Flyers played a solid first period defensively and scored the first goal of the game. Just as it was 10 days ago, Jake Voracek had the opening tally, this time giving the Flyers the lead in the first period instead of the second.
But in the second period, the Flyers were issued a quick reminder that this was not going to be the same as last time. The Penguins flipped the switch, got the game tied, then added two more power-play goals quick to put the Flyers on the ropes.
The Flyers got a late goal in the second and tied the game early in the third, but after a dominant third period, needed overtime to settle this one. Everything was shaping up for the Flyers to continue to apply that pressure, when an early turnover in overtime gave the Penguins control and the old familiar Flyers nemesis struck again.
Sidney Crosby fired home the game-winning goal just 55 seconds into overtime to hand the Flyers a 4-3 loss in Pittsburgh on Friday night.
The first period featured a lot of physical play and very few shots. Through 20 minutes, shots were just 4-3 in favor of the Flyers.
One of those shots found the net. On the power play in the final minute of the period, Joel Farabee poked the puck free from a scramble in front. Matt Niskanen got to it and put a perfect pass to Voracek with a wide open net to finish off the opening tally with 29 seconds remaining in the period.
Early in the second, the Penguins were able to bring the pressure and start to capitalize on tired Flyers players.
It started at 3:55 when Evgeni Malkin scored to put the Penguins on the board and tie the game, getting his own rebound at the side of the net after an excellent shift.
The Penguins got another dangerous chance seconds later, drawing a penalty in the process. On that power play, the Flyers failed to clear the puck twice, allowing the Penguins to execute a quick passing play finished off by Bryan Rust for his 22nd goal of the season.
On another power play midway through the period, the Penguins struck again with Kris Letang firing a shot from a sharp angle to beat Brian Elliott and make it 3-1.
The Flyers did get some pressure following the third Pittsburgh goal and were able to cut into the lead late in the period. With 3:31 remaining in the period, Tyler Pitlick cashed in off a quick pass from Nicolas Aube-Kubel to cut the lead back to one.
The Flyers failed to score on a power play that started late in the second and concluded early in the third, but they got the equalizer shortly after. At 2:20 of the third period, a chance by Kevin Hayes rattled around and was eventually tipped in by Scott Laughton to tie the game at three.
That started a dominant period by the Flyers. They outshot the Penguins, 17-4, in the final 20 minutes, including a few very dangerous scoring chances that were stopped by Tristan Jarry. Ultimately, the game required overtime after neither team could get on the board for the remainder of regulation.
At the start of overtime, the Flyers gained control off the opening face-off, but Sean Couturier turned it over as the Flyers tried to exit the zone, leading to a chance for the Penguins that saw Rust hit the crossbar. Pittsburgh was able to execute a change in that time, all while keeping possession, and it eventually allowed Crosby to get the puck on his stick with time and space. Crosby let go a wrist shot that beat Elliott clean, giving the Penguins the win.
Elliott finished the game with 16 saves on 20 shots. Jarry stopped 27 of 30 shots.
Both Crosby and Malkin finished with a goal and two assists in three-point nights. Letang also had a goal and an assist. For the Flyers, Pitlick had a goal and an assist and Niskanen had a pair of assists.
The Flyers get right back on the ice on Saturday night, returning home to host the Colorado Avalanche at 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Center.