Things fell apart in the final eight minutes of the third period for the Flyers. They allowed two goals in 18 seconds as the Penguins tied the game, then Kris Letang scored the game-winner in overtime in a 5-4 defeat on Tuesday night.
Thursday's 3-2 Flyers loss to the Bruins was one final game in a calendar year that has been as frustrating and disappointing as ever. Another loss in regulation brought the team’s current losing streak to six, and put a fitting conclusion to a 365-day period to forget.
If not for excellent goaltending again, the Flyers would not have been in position to win this game. They would certainly have not gained a point in the standings, which could certainly prove valuable later. Despite that, it is hardly a moral victory for the Flyers. Another sloppy game is showing a troubling trend as a difficult month is just getting started.
The Penguins are dealing with various health issues, some injury-related and some COVID-related. Most notably, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be out for Thursday's game after testing positive for COVID on Wednesday. Crosby had missed the first seven games of the Penguins' season recovering from offseason wrist surgery and just returned for his first game of the season on Saturday. Nonetheless, Pittsburgh is off to a 3-3-2 start without having Crosby or Evgeni Malkin in the lineup, so this is still no easy task for the Flyers.
In the third period, the Flyers looked tired. They looked like the tank was empty. And the Penguins, certainly not at their best, were able to take advantage with one goal that proved to be the difference in a 4-3 result. And it doesn’t get any easier, as the Flyers are right back on the ice on Sunday.
As the third period progressed in a tie game, the Flyers started to show the lack of energy that comes with playing so frequently, while the Penguins got the only goal that mattered and finished off the game, claiming a 4-3 decision in the rubber match of the three-game series between the two teams on Saturday afternoon.