Notably in Thursday's game, the Flyers saw their goalie perform at the level he’s shown before but struggled to get to this season. And he had to take center stage in the skills competition coin flip that is the shootout to secure a 2-1 victory over the Penguins.
The Flyers gave up three goals in the first four minutes of the game. Alain Vigneault used his timeout. The Flyers didn't come back in waves, but trimmed away the lead and completed the rally with just over two minutes left in regulation, resulting in arguably their most impressive win of the season.
A deflection goal by Scott Laughton tied the game with 6:23 remaining, then Claude Giroux's second goal of the game with 2:08 to play proved to be the difference in the Flyers 4-3 comeback win over the Penguins on Thursday night.
The second game is set for Thursday night, and the Penguins will remain without their captain due to COVID protocols. Meanwhile, the Flyers get another chance to respond to adversity and to play with a full lineup after their own COVID situation.
With their full lineup back on the ice, the Penguins showed the formula that defeats the Flyers, and did it without Sidney Crosby in the lineup. Following a quick response to a Flyers goal off a turnover, they commanded the play from there, and it didn’t seem to matter that the Flyers were throwing plenty of rubber at the Pittsburgh net.
After a weekend sweep in Buffalo, the Flyers were gearing up to face one of the best in the world and get a test from a team right there in the playoff race. But on Tuesday morning, Sidney Crosby was ruled out for Tuesday upon his placement on the NHL's COVID list. Now, the Flyers will face the rest of the Penguins without their captain, as this three-game series begins on Tuesday night.