Despite no Crosby, Flyers fall hard in front of Penguins fans


The Flyers experienced fans in the building for the first time in nearly a year.

They heard more cheering than they would have liked.

Sans Sidney Crosby, the Penguins still sounded the PPG Paints Arena goal horn plenty Tuesday night as the Flyers were rolled by Pittsburgh, 5-2, in front of a listed attendance of 2,800 fans.

Crosby was out because of COVID protocol but the Penguins (12-8-1) broke down the sloppy Flyers (11-5-3), who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Travis Konecny returned to the lineup after recovering from a bout with the coronavirus. In his first game since Feb. 7, Konecny went scoreless through 15:46 minutes.

Pittsburgh scored five goals over its winless season-opening two-game set in Philadelphia. The Penguins emphatically took Game 1 of this three-game series on their home ice.

• The Flyers had no momentum-sustaining plays.

After they took a 1-0 lead, the Penguins scored 1:07 later.

After the Flyers' second goal, which trimmed their deficit to 3-2 in the final stanza, Pittsburgh scored 1:08 later to balloon its lead back to two.

Tough to win that way.

• Two and a half minutes into the middle frame, the Flyers held that 1-0 lead and then the period became a disaster.

Pittsburgh erased the advantage when Kasperi Kapanen picked off a Shayne Gostisbehere pass and took it to the house to beat Carter Hart. Gostisbehere started his backcheck the moment he unleashed the ill-advised pass.

Gostisbehere had a long night, particularly in the second period. After Kapanen made it 2-1 on Pittsburgh's power play, Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov allowed two Penguins to get behind them unimpeded. One of them was Bryan Rust, who slammed home a rebound to extend Pittsburgh's advantage to 3-1.

Gostisbehere, who has never lacked accountability or honesty, was hard on himself postgame.

"Maybe if I didn't pass them the puck when they scored and tied the game, that would have helped, too," Gostisbehere said when asked about the Flyers' 0 for 5 power play.

Gostisbehere came in riding an impressive three-game stretch of two goals and 13 shots, while Provorov is the team's minutes-eating No. 1 blueliner. The top pair, however, struggled mightily Tuesday. Provorov finished as a minus-4 and Gostisbehere was a minus-3.

The Penguins had only five shots in the first period and then ambushed the Flyers with 14 in the second.

"At the end of the day, this is a team game and a team effort," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "We lost tonight as a team and we're going to find a way to rebound here and get ready for the next game."

• Hart made 22 saves. The fifth goal allowed was recorded against him as he was being pulled for an extra skater but the Flyers lost the puck on their zone entry.

Hart was far from the problem Tuesday night.

Pittsburgh goalie Tristan Jarry converted 40 saves on 42 shots. He had to be pretty hungry for this one after allowing nine goals to the Flyers over the season-opening two-game set in Philadelphia.

• The Flyers' two goals were courtesy of 21-year-old Joel Farabee. The markers were Nos. 9 and 10 for Farabee in his breakout sophomore campaign. As a rookie last season, Farabee had eight goals in 52 games.

The top line was once again the team's best in a game with not many positives for the Flyers.

On Farabee's first goal, Sean Couturier extended his point streak to seven games (five goals, six assists).

• Former Flyer Mark Friedman made his Penguins debut and recorded an assist on Pittsburgh's fourth goal.

Last week, the 25-year-old defenseman was placed on waivers by the Flyers. Ron Hextall, the Flyers' former general manager who is now running the show in Pittsburgh, did not let Friedman clear waivers. Hextall scooped up his 2014 draft pick and Friedman ended up playing 10:25 minutes Tuesday night. He showed the agitator in his game by drawing a penalty on Michael Raffl late in the third period.

• Nicolas Aube-Kubel was the odd man out of the lineup as Konecny slid into his right wing spot on the fourth line.

Natural center Nolan Patrick stayed at right winger on the Flyers' second line. He entered with no points and four shots in the last 11 games. He had a solid start to Tuesday's game with three shots in the first period. He finished the game with four shots but no points in 16:46 minutes.

It would not be surprising to see Aube-Kubel reenter the lineup Thursday. Connor Bunnaman, Oskar Lindblom and Patrick appear to be candidates to sit for a game.

• In a classy gesture by Pittsburgh, Lindblom was saluted with a welcome back message on the PPG Paints Arena scoreboard, eliciting a standing ovation from Penguins fans during a first-period stoppage.

The game marked Lindblom's first in front of fans since he beat cancer last July.

• The Flyers and Penguins are back at it Thursday for Game 2 of the three-game set in Pittsburgh (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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