Even Strength – Same Opponent, Same Result

The Philadelphia Flyers won their second game of the season to improve to a 2-0 record thus far.

Welcome+to+Even+Strength%2C+Ethan+Mack%27s+column+all+about+hockey.

Ethan Mack/Canva.com

Welcome to Even Strength, Ethan Mack’s column all about hockey.

After an impressive 6-3 win to open the 2020-21 NHL season, the Philadelphia Flyers looked to make it back-to-back wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

  When all said and done, the Flyers defeated the Penguins 5-2—albeit with a less all-around great performance. The game started out great for Philadelphia, as they scored 3 goals within the first 12 minutes of the first period.

  Travis Konecny opened the scoring on the power play on a pass from Jakub Voracek. Two minutes later, Konecny scored again—as he shoveled home a rebound off of Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. As if things couldn’t get worse for Pittsburgh, Ivan Provorov lasered a shot from the face-off circle past Jarry—which resulted in Jarry getting pulled from the game for backup Casey DeSmith.

  Just when it looked like the Flyers would dominate the Penguins throughout the game, Pittsburgh scored two quick goals to bring them within one.

  For a majority of the rest of the game, it was a defensive struggle and both goaltenders shined brightly.

  With about seven minutes to go, Konecny broke the scoreless drought on a tip-in from Kevin Hayes’ feed. The goal earned Konecny his first career hat-trick—though the only hat thrown on the ice was a large one from Gritty.

  Oskar Lindlom finished off Pittsburgh with an empty-net goal, giving Philadelphia a much-needed win against their Keystone State rivals.

  Though it’s great for Philadelphia to start the season off strong, the Flyers didn’t play a perfect game of hockey.

  The Flyers got out-shot by the Penguins 33-20, so Philadelphia’s offense looked a bit slow overall. Pittsburgh out-shot Philadelphia the last game—34 shots to 27 shots—but the Flyers played good on both sides of the ice enough to excuse it.

  Another thing that was apparent were odd-man rushes for Pittsburgh. There were many instances throughout the game where the Penguins would have two players skating into Philadelphia’s zone with the puck, while there was only one Flyers defenseman.

  Fortunately for Philadelphia, Carter Hart did a great job in net, as he was perfect after giving up two quick goals by Sidney Crosby and Brandon Tanev. 

  Some praise should also be given to Pittsburgh’s net minder Casey DeSmith. Though DeSmith only faced 13 shots, he was stout in net and showed Pittsburgh his potential. Although, there should be some concern for Tristan Jarry—as he’s allowed 9 goals in two games.

  Unfortunately for the Flyers, the worst thing to happen to them was Sean Couturier’s injury.

  Only two minutes into the game, Couturier took a hit into the boards from Penguins forward Jared McCann. Though the hit looked harmless, Couturier left the game and didn’t return. After the game ended, it was announced that Couturier would be out two weeks with a Costochondral separation—which involves the rib tearing away from the cartilage that connects it to the breastbone.

  This is a huge hit to the Flyers, as Couturier has been the heart and soul of the team for a couple of years now. In addition, Couturier has been playing the best hockey of his career the past three years—scoring 30 goals in two of the three seasons. Also, Couturier won the Frank J. Selke Trophy last year, which is awarded to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.

  That being said, the Flyers won’t play their cross-state rivals until early March. By the time they match up, Philadelphia will already have played every other team in their division.

  The Flyers will continue to play at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, as they face-off against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 PM.