Flyers take over first place with 3-2 win over Penguins
Over the past week, the Flyers had grown accustomed to battling back from early 3-0 deficits.
On Thursday night, they were the ones who had the three-goal lead. Unlike their previous opponents though, they managed to hold onto it on way to defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2.
Not only was the win against their bitter in-state rivals but it also gave the Flyers sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers opened the scoring on a goal by Daniel Briere. The play was an instance of being lucky rather than good.
Briere entered the Pittsburgh defensive zone with James Van Riemsdyk. He attempted a drop pass to the trailing forward but miscalculated his position on the ice. In an attempt to keep the play alive, Briere spun and attempted to throw the puck into the corner.
Instead, the puck deflected off two Pittsburgh defenders and ended up in the back of the net.
The rest of the first was riddled with special teams play as both teams combined for a total of five penalties in the period.
The penalties caught up to both clubs as special teams played a huge role in the second.
During the Flyers first power play of the period, Wayne Simmonds gave the team a two-goal lead following a display of beautiful passing by Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
Seventeen seconds after the team’s second power play of the period, Scott Hartnell supplied the third unanswered Flyers goal of the game.
However, Pittsburgh would not go down without a fight.
Less than a minute after Hartnell’s goal, the Penguins added a power play goal of their own when James Neal buried a pass from Evgeni Malkin.
In the third, Malkin added a tally of his own that brought Pittsburgh within one with plenty of time remaining.
It proved to be too little too late as the Flyers successfully held off several late pushes by the Penguins offense.
Following the game, the team was aware of how important it was to hold onto their lead.
“It was a great win all around,” Max Talbot said. “We had a comeback win [last night] and showed a lot of character. Tonight, we showed a lot of character by just holding on to the lead.”
Head coach Peter Laviolette was happy with his team’s ability to gain the lead and hold onto it.
“I think the jump tonight was terrific when we came out,” he said. “I really like the way we attacked the game. And the resiliency at the end, it wasn’t our best last 10-12 minutes but the guys really fought for it.”
At different points in the season, the Flyers have proven that they are able to stay in games regardless of what the score is.
The team is confident that they can win no matter the circumstance.
“I think we had the game under control,” Jaromir Jagr said. “I don’t know. That’s our team. We either have a 2-0 lead or we are losing 2-0 and we figure it out... It doesn’t matter if you have the lead or you are losing, you have to find a way to win. We did it again tonight.”
With the win, the Flyers were able to gain sole possession of first place in the division as well as the conference.
The team understands they still have plenty of work left to do.
“It is nice to get first place,” Talbot said. “But we will need to keep it and there is a lot of hockey left to play.”