Playoff hockey. Old-school hockey. Two-goal lead is hardest to hold. Net presence equals goals. Have to give 110%. The list goes on.
You can throw just about any hockey cliché out there and it will describe the Flyers 6-5 thrilling win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It’s hard to argue that there is a greater rivalry in the NHL than Flyers and Penguins and both teams proved it yet again with another nail biter.
Through the first ten minutes, it looked like the Flyers left their game back on the Island with the Penguins jumping out to 2-0 lead. Peter Laviolette was forced to take his infamous timeout early in the first period to get a jump out of his players.
Lavy certainly has a way with words.
In perhaps one of the craziest goal sequences you will ever see, Nicklas Grossmann cut the Penguins lead in half. Every Penguin, except Tomas Vokoun, and a few Flyers were in the crease and the puck probably crossed the line several times until Grossmann finally batted it in.
Exactly a minute later, Wayne Simmonds tied the game off a nice pass from Danny Briere. Simmonds wasn’t done. He dropped the gloves with Tanner Glass to secure 2/3 of his eventual Gordie Howe Trick.
It appeared as the game was beginning to settle down in the second but Jakub Voracek changed that with one shot less than ten seconds before the period expired to give the Flyers the lead. He then made it 4-2 just 18 seconds into the final frame.
After a shutdown performance Monday against the New York Islanders, Ilya Bryzgalov was less than stellar. Tyler Kennedy got one back on a rebound and Bryzgalov showed displeasure with either himself or the slow defense in front of him.
Simmonds scored his second of the game on a deflection off a Penguin’s stick.
This is where the real fun starts.
The Flyers went on a four-minute power play after Glass was sent to the box for high-sticking. With just 20 seconds left on the man-advantage, Mike Knuble was called for high-sticking. About 40 seconds later Ruslan Fedotenko joined Knuble.
Wait, they weren’t finished.
Max Talbot felt left out so he decided to close his hand over the puck and earn himself two-minutes.
Miraculously, the Flyers escaped that mess still holding onto a 5-4 lead but that wasn’t without a scare. The Penguins were swarming the net when Chris Kunitz kicked the puck into the net. The play went under review and was rightfully called no-goal.
Just when you thought the Flyers were out of the woods, Brandon Sutter tied the game at five with a little over two minutes to play.
There wasn’t a fan sitting in the CONSOL Energy Center but it didn’t take long for the Flyers to put a pin in their excitement.
Voracek did something that a Flyer hasn’t done in over 30 years. He scored the game-winner to get his first NHL hat trick; the first hat trick against Pittsburgh since Bobby Clarke in 1980.
The Flyers couldn’t have asked for a better game coming off a huge win on Monday. They salvaged the six-game road trip and proved they are up to the task of beating one of the best teams in the league.
They have a quick turnaround as they take on the Florida Panthers Thursday night for the first of a five-game homestand. If there was ever a chance for a let-down game, it’s tomorrow.
The Flyers just have to keep their foot on the gas if they want to get back to .500.