Couturier Caps Flyers Heroics in Pittsburgh

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers were less than a minute from the end. Less than 30 seconds in fact. Then their splash of a free-agent signing from last July came through.

James van Riemsdyk scored with 18.8 seconds left in the third period to tie the game and force overtime.

Carter Hart was back in goal and continued to give the Flyers a chance, turning away seven Pittsburgh shots in overtime. On a last-second two-on-one, Sean Couturier finished off the incredible rally for a 2-1 win over the Penguins, keeping the Flyers dimming playoff hopes alive for another day.

For two periods, it was a defensive affair that shined the spotlight on the goalies. The first period featured limited shooting and a lot of tight checking. Pittsburgh held the 8-6 edge in shots through 20 minutes.

In the second, the Penguins ramped up the action, firing 18 shots on goal. The Flyers rookie netminder turned all of them aside. Matt Murray did his part as well, stopping seven shots in the period.

In the third, the Flyers turned back to the strategy that worked in the previous two meetings: get pucks on net. In the third, they took 19 shots to Pittsburgh's nine.

Pittsburgh finally broke the ice first though just 2:07 into the period. Phil Kessel put a turnaround shot on goal that left a rebound and Teddy Blueger jumped all over it for his fourth goal of the season.

The lone goal held up for over 59 minutes. With the net empty and one final attempt to enter the zone and make something happen, Travis Konecny cut up the wing and centered for James van Riemsdyk. With a quick release, JVR scored his 25th goal of the season, snapping the shutout bid for Murray with 18.8 seconds remaining.

In the overtime, both teams managed chances in a near five-minute session that featured 13 shots. The Penguins controlled the possession game for most of the five minutes, but Hart stopped all seven bids by the Penguins. With under 25 seconds to play, Jake Guentzel cut in with a chance and hit the post.

On the transition the other way, Sean Couturier took a pass from Shayne Gostisbehere, cut around an aggressive Sidney Crosby looking for the steal and the quick transition the other way, and started on a two-on-one with Claude Giroux. Couturier took the shot himself and beat Murray under the arm on the blocker side for the game-winning goal, his 29th of the season.

Hart made 41 saves in the win, tying a career high. Murray was excellent in his own right, stopped 36 of 38 shots in a loss.

The win for the Flyers within three points of the Montreal Canadiens, who they face next on Tuesday night, for the first spot outside the playoffs. They are six points back of Columbus and seven points back of Carolina with 10 games remaining on the schedule.

The Flyers host the Canadiens on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

Box Score

  1 2 3 OT T
Flyers 0 0 1 1 2
Penguins 0 0 1 0 1

Scoring Summary

1st Period

  • No Scoring

2nd Period

  • No Scoring

3rd Period

  • PIT Teddy Blueger (4) (Phil Kessel, Markus Pettersson) 2:07
  • PHI James van Riemsdyk (25) (Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier) 19:41


  • PHI Couturier (29) (Shayne Gostisbehere) 4:56

Game Statistics

  Flyers Penguins
Shots 38 42
Power Plays 0/3 0/4
Hits 32 24
Faceoff % 47.1% 52.9%
Giveaways 5 10
Takeaways 3 11
Blocked Shots 13 12
Penalty Minutes 8 6


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