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.
The Flyers play on Tuesday night on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that now sits atop the Metropolitan Division, albeit with several games in hand for their competitors. There is some history on the line for one superstar player, as the Flyers look to avoid a third-straight loss entering a daunting stretch of games that could produce another historic streak.
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.
Tuesday night marks the final meeting of the season between the Flyers and Penguins, the very matchup that opened the 2020-21 season for the NHL nearly four months earlier. One team is headed for the playoffs in another three games, seeding to be determined. The other has a critical offseason ahead, but before that begins, four more games remain.