It wasn’t easy or pretty, but it sure was entertaining.
Coming off the heels of a huge 7-0 victory over the New York Islanders, the Philadelphia Flyers traveled to Pittsburgh Wednesday night to face the Atlantic Division leading Penguins.
The Flyers found themselves in a familiar position to start the game. Pittsburgh jumped to a 2-0 lead before the halfway point of the first period and looked to put the Flyers away early.
But the Flyers wouldn’t go down so easily. Nicklas Grossmann put the Flyers on the board with his first goal of the season 11:49 into the first period. Wayne Simmonds followed with a goal just a minute later to tie the game at two.
Jakub Voracek would score the only goal of the second period to give the Flyers their first lead of the game, 3-2. Voracek would score again in the opening seconds of the third period to put the Flyers up by two.
Center Tyler Kennedy beat Ilya Bryzgalov five minutes later to bring the Penguins within two, but a Wayne Simmonds pass that was tipped off a Pittsburgh stick went past goaltender Tomas Vokoun to bring the Flyers’ lead back to two with just over 12 minutes left in regulation.
But a series of Philadelphia penalties would give Pittsburgh some life. Mike Knuble took a costly double minor for a high stick, followed shortly by a Ruslan Fedotenko high stick call.
With a 5-on-3 power play Penguins forward James Neal found the back of the net to bring the Penguins within one just 29 seconds into the two man advantage. When Maxime Talbot was sent to the box for closing his hand on the puck – a new rule this season which prohibits players from gloving the puck following a faceoff – the Penguins once again found themselves on a 5-on-3 power play with just over six minutes left in regulation.
After what seemed like a goal for Pittsburgh was called back for being kicked in the net, the Flyers managed to kill the remaining penalty time still clinging to their one goal lead.
But with just 3:03 left in regulation, Penguins center Brandon Sutter beat Bryzgalov with a quick wrist shot to tie the game at five.
Remember when just a few days ago Claude Giroux questioned the Flyers’ level of “compete?”
The Flyers showed just how competitive they were when just 32 seconds later Voracek beat Vokoun to score his third goal of the night. The game winning goal capped the first hat trick of his career and couldn’t have come at a more crucial time.
After going 3-3 during their six game road trip, the Flyers head back to Philadelphia looking to win their third straight when they host the Florida Panthers to start a five game home stand.