Flyers beat Pens 3-2 in thrilling OT finish
Looks can be deceiving.
As the final seconds ticked away in the overtime period, it looked as though the Philadelphia Flyers were on their way to their second shootout appearance in as many days.
With the clock quickly approaching double zeros, Daniel Briere skated up the left side of the ice for one final rush. As he moved the puck into the slot, Scott Hartnell picked up where Briere left off and let a shot go.
It found the back of the net with less than a second remaining.
With that amazing display of persistence, the Flyers managed to overcome a two-goal deficit for the second time in as many days, as they pulled out a gutsy 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After being seemingly outplayed by the Penguins for the first two periods, the Flyers put together an impressive showing in the final frame to earn themselves an important two points.
In what was a playoff like atmosphere at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the Flyers defense continued to shine brightest just as it has for the majority of March.
Led by goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, the team had to battle off an aggressive attack by the red-hot Penguins.
Winners of 11-straight, the team had outscored their opponents 15-6 over their last three games.
Pittsburgh brought those same qualities into Sunday’s nationally televised contest.
The team opened the scoring in the second half of the first period off of a deflection by Craig Adams.
In the second, MVP shoe-in Evgeni Malkin increased the lead to two with less than a minute remaining in the second.
Had it not been for Bryzgalov, the lead likely could have been greater. In total, Pittsburgh outshot Philadelphia 27-10 in the first two periods.
It wasn’t just the Penguins offense that was buzzing.
The team’s defense eliminated any thought the Flyers had of attacking the goal.
This was made evident by the fact that the team only attempted two shots in the second period, both of which came during the final five minutes of the frame.
While circumstances appeared bleak for the Flyers, the third period proved to be the turning point.
Thirty seconds into the third, Kimmo Timonen brought the team within one with a power play goal from the point.
Four minutes later, Scott Hartnell tied the game when he buried a shot into the upper portion of the goal off of a beautiful slap pass from Claude Giroux.
Despite continued pressure from the Penguins, the Flyers held the team scoreless thanks to some key saves from Bryzgalov.
Once the game went to overtime, Hartnell added his second in the waning seconds.
While the first two periods may have been less than what the Flyers could have hoped for, the team’s ability to pull out the win is something that needs to be appreciated.
Pittsburgh came into Philadelphia hotter than any other team in the NHL.
Despite this, and the fact that they had a two-goal lead entering the third (with a record of 25-0-2 when entering the third period with a two-goal lead), the Flyers shutdown one of the most offensively potent teams in the NHL and came away with two points.
Sunday was another example of how dangerous the Philadelphia Flyers potentially can be.
With no deficit ever too great, the team has proven that it takes a complete 60-minute (and then some) effort to defeat them.
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