PITTSBURGH – Facing the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins, in Pittsburgh, is not the best scenario for a team looking to end a seven-game losing streak.
Just ask the Flyers.
Sidney Crosby scored on a slick redirection with 3 minutes, 12 seconds left in overtime Monday, giving the Penguins a 5-4 victory over the shell-shocked Flyers at PPG Paints Arena. Crosby scored just as a Flyers penalty expired.
They have lost eight straight, their longest skid since 2008. Their last three losses were in overtime.
Michael Raffl skated around Phil Kessel with a power move and scored on a backhander with 3:41 left, snapping a 3-3 tie.
But with their goalie pulled for an extra attacker, the Penguins' Jake Guentzel (two goals) scored on a deflection in front of the net to tie the game at 4-4 with 64 seconds remaining. The play started when Crosby won a faceoff from Claude Giroux.
The Flyers have been outscored, 14-2, after the second period in the last eight games. Think about that.
The Penguins had a 19-6 shots domination in the third period, and they had a 50-32 advantage after regulation.
"They just came at us and had a good push," goalie Brian Elliott said. "It took all of two minutes for them to tie it up. We talked about keeping our game going, being aggressive [in the third], and they come out and get a power play and that kind of put an end to that."
Patric Hornqvist (power-play rebound) and Bryan Rust scored 39 seconds apart early in the third period, enabling the Penguins to forge a 3-3 tie.
Rust tied it with 18:14 left in regulation. After blocking Shayne Gostisbehere's shot, and getting ahead of the pack, he used a series of moves on Elliott and knocked his own rebound out of midair and into the net.
The Flyers have blown two-goal leads in four of their last six games.
"It's hard because we're playing very good hockey games," Travis Konecny said."We're putting ourselves in a chance to win hockey games, and maybe we just let our guard down for a couple minutes and teams are taking advantage of those couple minutes that we're sitting back."
Added Konecny: "In most hockey games, you have those couple of [bad] minutes and teams don't capitalize. It just seems that against us right now, it almost feels like we have to play a perfect 60 minutes to get the win."
Second-period goals by Gostisbehere, Konecny, and Sean Couturier propelled the Flyers (8-9-7) to a 3-1 lead. They appeared to be closing in on their first win since Nov. 9, a 3-1 victory over Chicago.
In addition to their three second-period goals, the Flyers also hit the post or crossbar four times in the session, preventing Robert Hagg, Nolan Patrick, Ivan Provorov, and Danick Martel from scoring.
"It's part of the game. It happens. We can't feel sorry for ourselves," said Gostisbehere, who had the Flyers' first five-on-three goal of the season.
With the Flyers holding a 2-1 lead, Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray had to be helped off the ice as he was injured in a collision with Jake Voracek with 4:21 left in the second.
Couturier made it 3-1 with 31.5 seconds left in the second by scoring his 14th goal, one shy from equaling his career high.
And it's still November.
Provorov kicked the puck to Couturier, who beat backup goalie Tristan Jarry with a one-timer from the right circle.
Konecny had given the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 4:55 to go in the second as Brandon Maning's point drive deflected off him as he battled defenseman Brian Dumoulin in front of Murray.
It was Konency's first goal in 14 games and it was scored with his father, Rob, at the game as part of the team's father-son trip.
Raffl and Manning had assists on the goal.
"Raffy's been doing his thing for about the last five games," Konecny said. "Just give him the puck and he can't be stopped around the goal."