After knotting the series at one apiece, on Friday night in Pittsburgh, the Flyers seemingly had all the momentum heading into Game 3, but undiscipline play again was the team’s undoing. The Flyers began the game engaged physically, and spent most of the first period in the Penguins zone by peppering goaltender Matt Murray. All it took though was one egregious turnover by Michael Raffl at 9:35, of the first frame, to change the complexion of the game. Here’s the period-by-period synopsis for game 3.
First period: Flyers dominate early, Crosby capitalizes
Philadelphia had the ice tilted in their favor during the first period and turned in one of their best single-stanza efforts of all season. The Flyers would go on to outshoot the Penguins 11 to 4 and led their opponent in just about every metric except where it mattered most, the scoreboard.
After a Penguins dump-in, with 9:39 left in the first period, Shayne Gostisbehere was back to play the puck to Ivan Provorov behind the Flyers net. Provorov, looking to exit the zone, sent the puck back along the wall with a quick one-touch pass for Michael Raffl. The Flyers forward then failed to clear the zone on his cross-ice pass attempt and trouble ensued. The puck would bounce its way to Patric Hornqvist just before he spotted Sidney Crosby with a one-touch pass for the wraparound tally. The goal was Crosby’s fourth of the series and things would get a whole lot uglier for Philadelphia after that.
Second period: Penguins Special Teams take over the game
The Crosby goal unfortunately took the wind out of the Flyers’ sails. The Flyers had quite the trouble staying out of the penalty box as they racked up four of their eventual seven minor penalties in the middle period. The Penguins power play made them pay, as they tallied back-to-back man-advantage goals before adding one more in the period. The last two were in rapid fire succession and clocked at just five seconds apart, tying the playoff record for the fastest two goals scored by one team, according to the broadcast.
The Flyers, however, would get one back on a Travis Sanheim wrist shot that was assisted by fellow rookie Nolan Patrick and Jake Voracek.
Third period: Undisciplined play continues
Any potential comeback bid was thwarted by Philly’s inability to stay out of the penalty box in the final period. Three minor stick infractions were called on the Flyers as they stopped moving their feet likely due to frustration. The Penguins would again burn Philadelphia’s penalty kill, with a Justin Schultz slap shot on their last man-advantage of the game. The Flyers, in response, had six powerplays of their own and failed to execute on any of them to cap off a rough night for the team.
Final Thought: It’s time to respond
Nearly left for dead after Game 1, the Flyers responded in a big way the following game. They’ll need to do that again as we know one thing about this Flyers team; they are not short on resiliency. They have proven that all year long. Now it is time to respond.
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