Penguins Pass The Test, Flyers Don't
Philadelphia - - Pittsburgh forward Chris Kunitz got the shootout winner and once again the Flyers and Penguins played a tight game. The Flyers were on the short end of the 2-1 loss but they did get a point and there was a more important point for the opposition.
“This was as close of a game as we expected,” said Penguins center Jordan Staal. “There will definitely be games like that in the playoffs, tight games, one-goal games.”
The Penguins had the first great scoring chance with 16:52 to go in the first when Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy had a breakaway on Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and the backstop was in the splits making a brilliant save.
“Every time the coach expects me to play it is very important for me,” Bobrovsky said.
The Flyers got on the board first when JVR turned the corner and made a nice backhand pass to captain Mike Richards who muscled the puck into the net with a skate to stick deflection to make it a 1-0 game at 15:18 of the opening period.
Andreas Nodl ran into Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (stopped 19 of 20 shots, a season low for the Flyers) for an interference call at 19:38 which gave the Penguins some jump to head into the second period with.
Early in the second Kunitz made a nice cross-ice pass to Kennedy, who wristed it past Bobrovsky who was out a little too far. It was a 1-1 game at 1:01, a power-play goal.
Both teams were hitting the third but it was a pretty sloppy game. BOB made a big glove save with 2:39 left off a good shot by James Neal.
“There is no excuse for it. We were not sharp tonight. We got beat in most areas and if it weren’t for our goaltender, we wouldn’t have gotten any points tonight,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette.
Kris Letang made some strong moves late in OT and BOB was able to make a few strong saves. The Flyers didn’t register a shot in overtime. They lost in the shootout because they took quick or low percentage shots. The Flyers are 3-6 this season in the shootout, and 19-33 all time. As far as the power play goes, it was 0-3 which has been a problem all season. There is plenty of time left but some worry is in the air.
“Yeah it certainly wasn’t our best game. You know, these guys worked hard. They wanted it really bad especially in the first two periods. I think we lost too many of the one on one battles. We were going the other way. That’s certainly not the game that we wanted to play,” said Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen.
Bobrovsky (stopped 30 of 31 shots) may have finally exerted himself as the team’s top goalie after this game. We’ll see. The Penguins continue to play hard without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Flyers are clinging to a four-point lead over Pittsburgh in the Atlantic and Washington is just two points behind the Flyers in the conference.
One Penguins player, Alex Kovalev, scored in the shootout in very impressive fashion, he’s been there before and when I joked around with him asking about the thousands of times he’s done this he answered back with.
“I don’t know about thousands,” he chuckled. “I like when they count for points for the team but I would like them to count for points in the statistics too.
“You do what you see and what the goalie gives you and you react to the goalie.”
Interesting points from an NHL veteran and he could really help the Penguins down the road.