The Philadelphia Flyers clashed with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center.
Hoping to head into their All-Star break on a positive note with a win over their in-state rival, the Philadelphia Flyers played host to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers were also aiming to avenge a 7-1 loss to the Pens in their first meeting earlier this year while splitting the season series at one apiece in the process. Brian Elliott got the nod from Head Coach Alain Vigneault and opposed Tristian Jarry on the other end of the rink.
The Flyers had the better jump early on, creating a bulk of the game’s opportunities because of it as they carried a 3-1 Scoring Chances For advantage over Pittsburgh through the initial seven minutes of the first. That two-chance edge stayed consistent until period’s end and helped give Philly a 12-8 shots on goal supremacy after 20 minutes of work, showing how well they played in this frame. Unfortunately, the Orange and Black couldn’t find a goal to reward their efforts and were still tied with Pittsburgh at zero heading into the second.
After killing off 46 seconds of a Penguins power play to begin the middle frame, Philadelphia finally put one past Jarry to take a 1-0 lead. Jakub Voracek started and ended the scoring play, picking off a pass in the neutral zone to shift the action in the opposing direction. Joel Farabee, then, sprung Sean Couturier into the attacking zone where the front-toothless centerman found Jake skating through a seam, allowing the winger to score a beautiful back-handed goal for his tenth tally of the season.
James van Riemsdyk would produce a goal of his own later on in the stanza, cashing in on a nice pass from Travis Konecny to put the Flyers up 2-0 through 40 minutes. This kick-started a two-game point streak for TK while giving JvR goals in back-to-back contests, showing how well the two have played together as of late, whether it be on the man advantage or at even strength.
Though Pittsburgh did possess the shots advantage when all was said and done in the third, the Flyers did a tremendous job of not letting the opposition create too many of them, surrendering just four during the entire period. Those defensive efforts eventually paid off as Justin Braun scored an empty-netter late to seal a 3-0 victory for the Fly Guys.
I can’t stress enough how great of a win this was for Philly. Not only did the Flyers flat-out dominate their biggest and most hated rival on nearly every level, but they now enter their ten-day break riding a two-game winning streak as well. Getting two points tonight was huge in keeping them in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff race, tying for the second Wild Card spot while sitting two points out of the first spots and within an arms reach of third in the Metro, too.
While most will look to the Flyers D for holding the Pens to just 19 shots tonight, nobody should overlook what Elliott did between the pipes. Almost every save he made was of the difficult variety, including one on Bryan Rust that should end up on the veteran netminder’s career highlight reel. There’s no doubt Moose fully earned his 39th shutout at the NHL level this evening and has been huge for the team since Carter Hart went down with an injury.
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The Flyers are now 27-17-6 on the year! Next game is January 31st against the Penguins on the road.