Tonight’s game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Wells Fargo Center set up to be a key game for the Flyers. After a rough start to the season, the team had managed to get back to .500 before a loss to the New York Rangers earlier in the week.
And with the New Jersey Devils having lost six games in a row, the Flyers found themselves just two points out of the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Fortunately, Nicklas Grossman was able to return to the lineup, which is a key issue in trying to defend against the Penguins firepower, including Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
After a scoreless first ten minutes, the Flyers’ leading scorer, Jakub Voracek, scored on a power play. But Chris Kunitz quickly tied it up for the Penguins, also on a power play. Goals by Zac Rinaldo and Kimmo Timonen gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead as the clock wound down in the first period. Then with 15 seconds left on the clock, the chief Pen-goon, James Neal slashed his way into the penalty box for the third time in the period. Voracek quickly scored on the power play to close it out at 4 – 1.
The Flyers fans were in a festive mood with memories of last year’s playoff victory over the Penguins dancing in their heads. Marc-Andre Fleury got the hook during intermission, so Tomas Vokoun was in goal for the Penguins in the second period. But there wasn’t a lot for him to do as the Penguins turned the table on the Flyers and dominated the second period by outshooting them 12-3. Goals by Neal, Tyler Kennedy , and Pascal Dupuis tied it after two periods. Brian Boucher replaced Ilya Bryzgalov in goal after the tying goal and the party atmosphere at the first intermission was gone during the second.
Before the fans could get settled into their seats to start the third period, Boucher gave up the game winner to Kunitz, which was the final goal of the game. So a key game that started out so well for the Flyers quickly turned sour. With the loss, the Flyers’ road to making the playoffs takes another serious detour. Maybe it’s time to think about who the Philadelphia Eagles will take with their first two draft picks.