The Flyers and Penguins opened with a two-game set and Game 2 found more of the classic snarl from the two teams.
Things picked up physically, and the Flyers faced their first major injury of the year as Sean Couturier was knocked out of the game in the first period. He took a healthy hit and did not return.
While business picked up early, so did the goal scoring. After giving one away in the 1st game, Travis Konecny went and grabbed the first two goals of the game for himself. The first came on the power play, with Claude Giroux finding Jake Voracek cross-ice, and Voracek coming back across to find TK for the easy jam in.
The 2nd came on some zone time with JVR and Nolan Patrick. JVR got the puck from below the goal line to Patrick who made a strong net-front move and got the puck on net and left a rebound with enough space for TK to create chaos and finish the job.
The Flyers continued to pour it on in the 1st period, creating zone time and forcing the Penguins to scramble defensively. JVR poked a puck free for Voracek who was able to hold and find Ivan Provorov who was moving down in the zone. He rifled a shot that chased Tristian Jarry and had the Flyers sitting up 3-0 with just over half the period played.
That margin would not be held long. Sidney Crosby was able to grab a powerplay goal off the assist of Rust and Guentzel and less than a minute later Brandon Tanev scored with helpers from McCann and Jankowski.
The scoring dried up in the 2nd period, but it was not for lack of trying from the Penguins. They traded chances with the Flyers, but they piled up much more in favor of the Pens. Carter Hart played very well during this stretch of the game, which was critical. The Flyers defense seems lost without its veteran man in Matt Niskanen and their fluidity as a unit has yet to materialize after a very short training camp.
The Flyers were outhit and outshot by the Penguins again in this game. It seemed as though this was the Penguin’s plan, to get on the Flyers and try to rattle them. Carter Hart helped see the Flyers through their defensive lapses, but the physicality of the Flyers remains a question. Against a team better suited for that style of play than the Penguins it might very well succeed.
In the third period the Flyers evened themselves out and again the hockey gods rewarded Travis Konecny with good karma. He came away with his first career hat trick off of a fire wagon break with Claude Giroux shooting a cross-ice pass to Kevin Hayes, who found TK right next to the net all alone. I whiffed the one-timer but the puck hit him and went in anyway. There were no hats, except for the XXL version Gritty threw.
The Flyers sealed it with an empty-net goal. Tk got himself a four-point game by bumping the puck to Scott Laughton and he found Oskar Lindblom, who sealed the game and lifted hearts with his 2nd of the year.
The Flyers again doubled up the Penguins, but it might’ve cost Sean Couturier. He’ll be given an MRI on Saturday morning, and if he misses any length of time it seriously challenges the Flyers depth. Either way, the Flyers managed to take 4 points off their hated rivals and open the shortened season with 2 straight wins. They’ll be off until Monday where they play the Sabers back to back. Watch for Brian Elliot’s first start of the year and for the Flyers first possible lineup changes.