The Pittsburgh Penguins (0-2-0) began the first period exactly as they ended the third period on Wednesday — by giving up three consecutive goals. The Philadelphia Flyers (2-0-0) again scored the first two goals while uncovered just feet from the goal, in one case literally. Despite the Penguins’ puck dominance for a solid 30 minutes in the middle of the game, they could not beat Carter Hart, could not stay out of the penalty box, and could not limit mistakes.
Travis Konecny completed the hat trick late in the third period, and Philadelphia beat the Penguins 5-2 at Wells Fargo Center on Friday night. The Penguins lost both of the two-game set in Philadelphia, and judgment of their play is a matter of perspective.
In the first period, the Penguins successfully killed off the first 111 seconds of their second too-many-men penalty in two games. However, in the waning seconds of the penalty kill, defenseman Chad Ruhwedel took a tripping penalty, and the Penguins PK wasn’t so good on the second kill. Travis Konecny (1) was the last stick of the quick three-pass strike seven minutes into the game. Konecny quickly buried the chance.
Ruhwedel was in the lineup after Penguins coaches broke up the Mike Matheson-John Marino pairing and dropped Matheson to the third pair. Cody Ceci became the healthy scratch.
Remember the crack about “feet from the goal?” Just over two minutes later, Philadelphia outnumbered the Penguins in the crease, and Konecny (2) was able to guide the puck into the net by turning his skate blade sideways. Since he didn’t make a kicking motion, the goal stood.
Then two minutes after that, Philadelphia defenseman was uncovered by the Penguins wingers Colton Sceviour or Sam Lafferty. Provorov was wide open as he stepped forward into the LW circle at full speed and snapped a wrister over Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry’s stick side.
The Penguins’ top defensive pairing with Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang was on the ice both 5v5 goals against.
Television replays also showed Jarry also had a broken paddle on the third goal, but that enough. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan made the first goalie swap of the season and called upon backup Casey DeSmith.
However, the Pittsburgh Penguins had a rally. Just 59 seconds after Philadelphia staked its 3-0 lead, Sidney Crosby scored his second goal of the season, which was also his second power-play goal, too.
With better movement and coordination, Crosby cut across the slot. Jake Guentzel’s pass was deflected, but Crosby (2) quickly backhanded the loose puck over Carter Hart’s glove hand.
The Penguins scored again just 32 seconds later. The third line scored its third goal of the season on a textbook zone entry and net drive. Center Mark Jankowski sprung Jared McCann into the offensive zone while Brandon Tanev raced to the net. McCann’s hard wrister created a quick rebound that Tanev (2) finished.
The second period had the unfortunate distinction of resembling a structured hockey game. Neither team lit the lamp, but the Penguins had a trio of two-on-ones and a Jason Zucker breakaway. However, Hart flashed his future-Vezina-winner pedigree, and the 3-2 Philadelphia lead stood.
In the second, the Penguins also gave away a pair of power plays. During the carryover power play from the first period, Kris Letang took a hooking penalty. Later in the second period, McCann ceded back the man advantage when he took a silly elbowing penalty.
The Pittsburgh Penguins outshot Philadelphia 10-4 in the second period and 24-13 after two periods. DeSmith was not often challenged after replacing Jarry.
However, the Penguins turned the puck over on a three-on-two, and Philadelphia ended the Penguins’; hopes. Philadelphia quickly transitioned, and Konecny (3) was uncovered on the backdoor, and he again deflected the puck into the net with his foot or leg.
Oskar Lindblom (2) scored the empty netter.
DeSmith stopped 12 of 13 shots.