Welcome to the Pod Street Postgame as the Battle of Pennsylvania continues. Game 2 kicks off once again in Pittsburgh. After getting through a brutal and defenseless game, the Flyers prepared for another physical battle against their cross-state rivals. This Pod Street Postgame is much sweeter to write than the last one.
One of the two biggest stories for this game was the news of Joel Farabee going into the COVID-19 protocol. Farabee, the Flyer’s leading goal scorer, was announced an hour before game time. Hopefully his stint on the protocol list is short. The second story for this game was just as Farabee was put on the COVID-19 protocol list, Sidney Crosby came off. After missing Tuesday’s game, Crosby adds even more firepower to an already dominant Penguins team.
The Penguins got off to a hot start as Kris Letang got the scoring started less than three minutes into the first frame. Shortly thereafter, ex-Flyer Mark Friedman scored and then Jared McCann, to take an early 3-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. Alain Vigneault elected to take a timeout to settle down the squad and keep Brian Elliott in net.
Nolan Patrick was served a boarding minor minutes later after the onslaught of goals by Pittsburgh, but the initial kill for the Flyers helped give them a little bit of a boost to get back into the game. After being blanked on the powerplay five times on Tuesday night, your Philadelphia Flyers finally connected for a powerplay goal by Sean Couturier to close in on the Penguins 3-1 lead.
The second period continued to be physical between both clubs as Mark Friedman took the brutal end of his own hit on Nolan Patrick. Would it be a Penguins/Flyers game without some big hits?
The Flyers got the scoring started in the second period as the new look third line of Claude Giroux, Oskar Lindblom and Nic Aube-Kubel combined for a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal for Giroux’s second of the season. This would conclude the scoring for the period with the Flyers continuing to keep the pressure on the Penguins trailing 3-2 heading into the third period.
Late in the third period, the Flyers kept their composure and pressure as Claude Giroux threw a puck at net that was redirected off of Scott Laughton to erase the one goal deficit. Claude Giroux decided to take this game into his own hands as he buried the game winning goal to take the late lead in the third period.
An entire team effort to hold the Penguins to three goals and fight back is exactly what this team needed. Claude Giroux came away with two goals and an assist in tonight’s win. Sean Couturier continues to stay hot as he is now riding a eight game point streak as he picked up a goal.
TK was reunited with Kevin Hayes and Scott Laughton on the second line during last night’s game after playing on the fourth line on Tuesday night after coming off of the COVID-19 protocol list. Coming back from protocol and not having the chance to be able to skate with the team for a practice showed when it came to game time on Tuesday. Obviously Vigneault playing him for limited minutes was smart, but not having a morning skate or practice under your feet will effect your game.
Konecny noted during the post game press conference that “he would get back to normal after playing more games.” In last night’s game, TK was definitely getting back to normal as he rang two pucks off of the crossbar in the first period alone. He was able to pick up an assist on Couturier’s goal on the powerplay, which would be his first point since January 26th.
The Bash Brothers line got right back to where they left off last year with their physical play and offensive mindset. By the end of the second period, this line alone should have combined for at least two goals. If this line is to remain together, it will be a matter of time until their chemistry begins to rekindle.
When Alain Vigneault called that timeout in the first period after the complete breakdown, he must have reminded the Flyers to get back to playing their game, to be composed, and to start forechecking the hell out of the Penguins. Once the Flyers scored their first goal, the momentum swung and it seemed like the Penguins couldn’t transition out of the zone. The hard work and nitty gritty play of all the lines forced the Penguins to cough up the puck on multiple occasions.
Vigneault’s system of the 2-1-2 formation for forechecking works well for this team. Sending two players in on the forecheck instead of one, forces the defenseman to send the puck one way while being pressured by one player and allowing the second player to read the play. This forechecking is physical and allows the forwards to pick up the loose pucks and find the late forward. This system has worked well for the Alain Vigneault and the Flyers this season and they successfully pulled it off tonight.
If it weren’t for the hard work of the third line and NAK reading the failed clear attempt by the Penguins defense, Giroux wouldn’t have scored that goal. Nic Aube-Kubel is the type of player that benefits and thrives off of an active forechecking system.
Early Key To Next Game
If the Flyers get another crack at Tristan Jarry during Saturday’s game, the major key to that game is just to throw pucks at him. Jarry’s puck and rebound control has been terrible throughout this mini-series.
“Throwing” the puck on net is different than shooting the puck. To throw the puck at the net is to get it there in hopes of a rebound or redirection. A perfect example of this is the tying goal from Scott Laughton.
The entire play is exactly how you score goals against Tristan Jarry. The goals that take every itty bitty bone in your body to get to the net to create a play. In that instance, Giroux took a shot to score, but the help from Laughton’s screen helped dig this team out of a 3-0 deficit.
Scoring four unanswered goals to erase the Penguins lead was a bittersweet end to this incredible win. The turning point of last night’s win was the Alain Vigneault timeout call after the Penguins three goals early on in the first period. Last night’s game was the first game the Flyers have won while trailing through the first two periods.
The big tilt for this series will be Saturday’s matinee game, once again, against our dearly beloved rivals. Just as we had all imagined, this series will continue to get rough as it goes on. The Battle of Pennsylvania always consists of highlight reel goals and highlight reel big hits. Make sure to check out the Three Storylines before Saturday’s game!
Thanks for checking out the latest Pod Street Postgame. Be sure to check back after the game on Saturday for another Pod Street Postgame, covering everything you might have missed during the action!
Photo Credit – Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire