The Flyers have returned to the ice against their old rival the Pittsburg Penguins, in the bubble.
A Tuesday afternoon game with no fans wasn’t the league coming roaring back, especially with no stakes behind it. However, it was really something just to have Flyers hockey back and the goals counting.
It would be the Penguins that struck first after both teams opened the game arm in arm as a show of unity in combatting the troubling times. It was the Pens that would get the first tally on the board for the restart when Conor Shery converted a 3 on 2 rush opportunity sneaking the puck past Carter Hart.
The Flyer drew even after Claude Giroux set up Sean Couturier and he put one off the defender and into the net past Matt Murry. The top line for the Flyers looked to be in sync early which is a great sign for the Flyers as the head into the round-robin to determine where they’ll seat going into round 1. They could finish 4th if they stay the course, but could get to be the top seed.
The other most important forward for the Flyers has been Kevin Hayes, and he scored the go-ahead goal late in the first period after some solid forechecking from Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny resulted in a turnover, which Hayes buried.
Carter Hart played well in the first two periods, and Brian Elliott, despite letting in a goal, did very well in the 3rd period while facing an offensive push. A late goal from Justin Zucker though meant that the Flyers and Penguins pushed into extra time.
It would be a long stretch pass from Travis Konecny to Scott Laughton that would define the moment. Laughton took the puck, and moving to his right, dragged the puck and fired it over the shoulder of Tristan Jarry.
On defense we saw a bit of a different look then we had as of late. Mark Freidman was in the lineup and looked very good on the ice. Shayne Gostisbehere looked healthy which is good news, but in a playoff situation he might have a hard time sliding into the starting lineup, and for a spot start Freidman might be better suited for the role. Yegor Zamula also saw his first action and looked to fit skill and skating wise. What wasn’t different was Ivan Provorov leading all skaters with 25:39 on ice and was a +2 to boot.
The play as a whole wasn’t as bad as you might expect from such a lengthy break, and it’s clear that the Flyers are going to into the playoffs on a good foot. One can imagine that they’ll ramp up gradually through the seeding round.
The Flyers will begin their round-robin play against the Boston Bruins on Sunday, August 2nd at 3pm.