On Tuesday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Penguins took the ice for the first time since March 10th when they defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2 at the Prudential Center, in Newark, New Jersey.
Pittsburgh faced the Philadelphia Flyers in their only full exhibition game before the Stanley Cup Qualifiers in a 3-2 overtime defeat against Philadelphia at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario.
Scott Laughton scored the game-winning goal for the Flyers just 2:40 into the overtime session. His goal was assisted by Travis Konecny on a beautiful stretch pass. Shayne Gostisbehere also recorded an assist on the goal. It was a 3-on-3 overtime session for five minutes which will be occurring in the Qualifying Round only. The 20-minute overtime sessions and regular overtime intermissions will come when the field of 16 teams for each conference begin.
Just 5:06 into the game, Conor Sheary scored a goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins to give them a 1-0 lead. It was assisted by Jake Guentzel and John Marino. The line of Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Conor Sheary is going to be important in the postseason.
Sean Couturier tied the game at one for Philadelphia with 9:28 remaining in the first-period. It was assisted by Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov. Kevin Hayes scored his goal with 29 seconds remaining in the first-period to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead into the first-period intermission.
Couturier’s goal went off of Marcus Pettersson and Hayes’s goal resulted from a Evgeni Malkin turnover.
Pittsburgh tied the game at two with 3:56 remaining in regulation on a net mouth scramble by Jason Zucker. It was assisted by Evgeni Malkin and Jack Johnson.
Matt Murray made 10 saves and Tristan Jarry made nine saves for the Pittsburgh Penguins while Brian Elliott made 13 saves and Carter Hart made 11 saves for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Here are the three things I learned from this scrimmage:
- The Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Conor Sheary line could be deadly: Guentzel is the best winger player to ever play alongside Sidney Crosby. Sheary is also talented and this line caused problems en route to the Stanley Cup Title in six games against the Nashville Predators in 2017. Jake Guentzel would have been out for the season with a shoulder injury in normal circumstances, but the long break from COVID allowed him . Sheary was acquired in a trade back at the February 24th trade deadline.
- We Don’t Know Who will be the starting goalie heading into Game 1: Head Coach Mike Sullivan is still undecided on who the goalie will be against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. Matt Murray may have the edge because he has won two Stanley Cups despite not having the durability. Tristan Jarry had a much better season than Murray did and is better at stickhandling and is more athletic. Jarry was also an All-Star this season and he was also supposedly more impressive in camp than Matt Murray.
- The power play still needs work as it was 0-for-3 on the night. It looked discombobulated at various moments coached by Mark Recchi. If Recchi can’t get these power plays together, he could find himself out of a job.
The next game for the Pittsburgh Penguins will be against the Montreal Canadiens as the home team for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Saturday night at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBC.
The next game for the Philadelphia Flyers will be against the Boston Bruins as the home team for the first game of the round robin for the seeding in the Eastern Conference with game time set for 3 p.m. Eastern on NBC on Sunday afternoon.