A sellout crowd at a rain-soaked Lincoln Financial Field saw a whole lot of Gritty and one remarkable comeback.
Claude Giroux's goal with 3:01 to go in overtime gave the Flyers their first-ever win outdoors, 4-3, over the Penguins.
Here’s Giroux’s open-ice move that won the game, completing an incredible comeback Saturday.
Jakub Voracek scored the game-tying goal with 20 seconds remaining in regulation as the Flyers rallied from two goals down to send the Stadium Series game into overtime.
It was the fifth-largest crowd in the history of the NHL’s outdoor games, and the biggest crowd ever for a hockey game in the state of Pennsylvania.
Here are my observations from Lincoln Financial Field:
• Penguins star Sidney Crosby has scored more points against the Flyers than any other team, and with his first-period goal, Crosby has now scored in five different venues throughout this rivalry: Civic Arena, PPG Paints Arena, Heinz Field, Wells Fargo Center and Lincoln Financial Field. Voracek made a poor decision to push the puck up the middle as opposed to banking it off the boards and out of the zone.
• The Flyers were truly fortunate to be tied after the opening 20 minutes despite giving up 18 first-period shots and playing most of the opening period in their own end of the ice, losing most of the little battles along the boards. However, Oskar Lindblom out-battled a few Penguins, which led to a rush and Sean Couturier’s goal from the slot. I thought Matt Murray looked a little shaky when tested, but he wasn't tested often early by the Flyers.
• A good no-call on the Wayne Simmonds hit on Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin — it was a clean, shoulder-to-shoulder hit, and as Simmonds drove through him to complete his check he appeared to graze him under the chin. However, the principle point of contact was not the head and, as a result, only Simmonds and Pens defenseman Kris Letang were levied unsportsmanlike conduct minors. It was good to see the raw emotion from the cross-state rivals.
• With that said, I believe Simmonds played his final game in Philadelphia. General manager Chuck Fletcher has to proceed with a long-term plan, and it seems rather clear that Simmonds isn’t part of that. Word is the two sides made little progress on a long-term deal. The Flyers started the night trailing Carolina by nine points for the final wild-card spot in the East, and Fletcher needs to take the position of a seller with the mindset of trying to add players who can contribute next season.
• The Flyers missed a major opportunity and failed to capitalize on the Penguins playing without their top two defensemen — Letang and Dumoulin — who didn’t see the ice after the 3:30 mark of the first period. As a result, the second pairing of Jack Johnson and Justin Schultz each logged over 11 minutes in the second period and around 30 minutes for the game.
• I thought there would be retribution toward Evgeni Malkin for his stick swing toward the head of Michael Raffl, but it was Malkin who got the final word with his 3-1 goal. Brian Elliott made the initial save but the shot bounced over his shoulder and off his leg for a fortuitous goal for Pittsburgh.
• So, where do the Flyers go with their goaltending moving forward? I think we’ll see much more of Cam Talbot. If I’m Scott Gordon, I give Talbot the start Tuesday against the Sabres and one of the back-to-back games next week.
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