Flyers fall in overtime against Penguins as Sidney Crosby scores 500th career goal
PITTSBURGH — Despite being first on the board and scoring more goals in regulation than they scored in two months, the Flyers failed to beat the No. 1 team in the division, the Pittsburgh Penguins, on Tuesday night.
Fueled by Sidney Crosby’s 500th career goal, the Penguins overcame a two-goal deficit to win, 5-4, in overtime and extend the Flyers’ losing streak to three games. Kris Letang scored the game-winning goal for Pittsburgh 31 seconds into overtime.
“This one stings, to be honest with you, because the game is there, and…it felt like we were giving them opportunities,” said Flyers interim coach Mike Yeo, who worked with the Penguins for 11 years.
For the first time in three games, the Flyers went first, thanks to Claude Giroux’s goal after 13 minutes and 47 seconds of play in the first period. But the momentum didn’t last long and the Penguins responded 22 seconds later when Dominik Simon deflected Marcus Petersson’s shot. They took the lead later in the period on Crosby’s power play goal.
In a three-goal second period for the Flyers, Scott Laughton’s unassisted wrist shot from the right faceoff circle tied the game in less than a minute. Defender Nick Seeler, who replaced the injured Rasmus Ristolainen, scored the goal with a shot from the point. It was his first goal this season and his third point in three games.
Justin Braun, whose penalty was the source of the Penguins’ second goal, made up for it by scoring the Flyers’ fourth goal of the evening. It was the first time the Flyers had scored four goals in regulation since Dec. 14, when they scored six against the New Jersey Devils.
“I think we took the right attitude,” Yeo said. “We came out with the mindset that we want to take the fight to them.”
But after withstanding an avalanche of shots, Carter Hart allowed two goals in 18 seconds in the third. The Penguins tied the game with 7:06 to go.
While his team has racked up losing streaks, Laughton has been quietly on a roll. With his second-period goal, Laughton now has seven points in six games and is on a six-game streak. He has 10 points in his last 12 games.
With injuries up and down the Flyers roster, Laughton has seen an increased role this season. He started as a winger on the third line, but now centers the second line. He rose to the occasion and said it boosted his confidence. Laughton, who served as alternate captain in Sean Couturier’s absence, is now on pace with 18 goals and 40 points. His points per game (0.49) represent the second best average of his career.
Laughton’s line with Travis Konecny and James van Riemsdyk has been productive as a whole recently. In the last six games, he has scored four goals. Laughton scored two and assisted the third. Tuesday night, they had eight shots on goal. Van Riemsdyk made an assist on the fourth goal.
“TK and Reemer are two very good players to play with,” Laughton said. “We fed each other. But at the end of the day, if you don’t win games, the points don’t matter. »
Prior to Isaac Ratcliffe’s NHL debut, he said he hoped he could give the struggling Flyers a spark. Since Ratcliffe entered the locker room, the Flyers are 2-2-1.
Like all players called up, Ratcliffe was also hoping to prove he belongs at NHL level. For his first four games, he spent time on the fourth line where his size added to that of Connor Bunnaman and Zack MacEwen to make the line a physical force. Ratcliffe scored his first NHL goal on this line.
However, with injuries increasing, Ratcliffe had the chance to move up a line to play with Morgan Frost and Max Willman in third. He took it. Early in the first period, he made a big splash when he created a chance for Frost, who didn’t quite take the chance.
Ratcliffe came close again in the second period as the Flyers trailed 2-1 and went for the power play. Ratcliffe still showed his youth with an unforced turnover and four minutes spent in the penalty box. But despite playing on the third line for the first time, Ratcliffe seemed the most comfortable and productive.
“We will get to it [the penalties] with him, and if he can show that he can improve, then, for me, he’s just a young player learning to play at that level at that time,” Yeo said. “But I think he was a bit more aggressive and assertive than some of the other guys there. So a bit of good and a bit of stuff to work on.
Pittsburgh fans showed up in full force to see Crosby score his 500th goal and see him do it against the state rivals. Braun’s penalty set up the No. 500 goal perfectly.
With 4:09 to go in the first period, the NHL’s No. 11 power play unit took to the ice. Evgeni Malkin was on point and found Crosby just left of the net. Crosby took the wrist shot and scored the scoring goal.
Crosby has scored more goals against the Flyers than any other team, and Tuesday’s was his 50th. Crosby said during intermission that he didn’t know it was his 50th against the Flyers, but he’s still having fun playing them.
It was Crosby’s first goal against the Flyers in three games this season. It was the 118th career point against them.
“Obviously we didn’t want him to score,” Hart said. “But kudos to him. He is one of the best, if not the best player of this generation. So, I mean, the guy is a really talented player. And playing against him is a lot of fun, and you want to play against the best. He’s one of the best players and you have to play hard against him every time.
The Flyers return home to host the Washington Capitals at 7 p.m. Thursday.