The Philadelphia Flyers proved they have ice running through their blood as they fought excessively in Game 5 to stay in the series. They did just that with surprise goalie Michal Neuvirth in between the pipes to take the series back to the City of Brotherly Love on Sunday April 22, 2018 to face the Pittsburgh Penguins down 3-2.
First period action
The Flyers opened the scoring in the initial period by collecting a goal by their captain Claude Giroux, assisted by Jakub Voracek and Valtteri Filppula at the 17:29 mark. It was Giroux's first goal of the series, and what a time to get it.
Filppula fought for the puck behind the Pens' net and got it to Voracek who sent Giroux a sweet pass which he got in his wheelhouse for a one-timer past the stunned Matt Murray to open the game's scoring.
Pens come back, what else is new?
You can never count the defending Cup champs out, and they showed why they are so tough to beat. They got back in the game when Bryan Rust scored after chasing the puck into the left corner, putting a pretty spin move on the Philadelphia defense and tucking it in on the right post just past Neuvirth's left skate.
But then, the Penguins do what they do best, take the lead and try to keep it. Jake Guentzel found himself all alone on the left wing as the Flyers' defense was shadowing Sidney Crosby. He shot one which hung to the right side of the net and Neuvirth couldn't stop it.
All of sudden the Penguins' momentum gave them a 2-1 lead.
It was short lived as the play got rough and penalties were called. The Pens had a 4-on-3 man advantage when the worst thing you can do in a playoff game (especially a possible elimination game) happened.
A short-handed goal.
Yes, even the strong Penguins can falter and have egg on their faces.
This one hurt, as displayed by the look on Phil Kessel's face as he failed to clear the puck from his crease as it deflected off of his teammate, Kris Letang and past Murray.
Suddenly, it was 2-2, and giving up a late goal in a period can only be worse if it was a shorthanded goal.
Third period decisive play
An unlikely hero developed to get the go-ahead goal when Sean Coutuier who was a doubtful starter after being injured in practice, showed he is a true scorer as he tallied this goal at 18:45 to give his team the lead for the first time in the game.
The Penguins pulled Murray, but Matt Read got an empty net goal to cap a three point night for Filppula who assisted on the goal.
In the end, the Flyers beat the Penguins at their own game of being able to hold a lead and take an important game.
Game 6 will be in Philadelphia on Sunday, and the key question will be does head coach Dave Hakstol start Neuvirth who made 31 saves or go with Brian Elliott who is 1-3 while giving up 14 goals?
Glad I'm not the coach.
The Flyers did play their usual physical game with a 48-25 advantage in hits, but the key could have been that they held the Penguins' power play scoreless in five attempts.
I wouldn't miss Sunday's game, it should be a doozy!
Do the Philadelphia Flyers have a shot to take the series to a decisive Game 7? Let us know in the comments section below.