NHL Playoff Picture: Flyers Have a Night, Push Penguins Behind Capitals

The unpredictable Flyers went from losing three straight in regulation to the Devils to knocking the Penguins out of first place with a 7-2 drubbing Monday night.

Where has this been? Flyers have themselves a night to bump Penguins out of 1st originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

As the East Division's first-place team came to Philadelphia, the Flyers showed a style of play in which their fan base was hoping to see a lot of this season.

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The problem is it felt more like an aberration given the Flyers have watched other clubs clinch playoff berths. The Flyers blew out the Penguins, 7-2, Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

After three straight regulation losses, all to the Devils, the Flyers (23-22-7) matched their season high in goals and improved to 5-2-0 against Pittsburgh. Weird year, right?

In the Alain Vigneault era, the Flyers have never lost four straight in regulation. But this season, the Flyers have won consecutive games only once since March 1. Unfortunately for the Flyers, that fact will sum up their 2020-21 fate, while Monday night's win will serve merely as a blip on the club's overall, postseason-less picture.

Via tiebreakers, the Penguins (34-16-3) fell into second place behind the Capitals.

• The you-never-know version of the Flyers that is the 2020-21 club looked a lot like the 2019-20 team on Monday night. The Flyers were in attack mode and completely wore down Pittsburgh, a team that is vying to win the East Division and entered Monday tied for second in the NHL with 3.37 goals per game.

The Flyers had 30 shots by the halfway mark of the game and finished with a season-high 45. They held a 4-0 lead at second intermission. The last time they had held a 4-0 lead or four-goal advantage was March 1, 2020, against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Perhaps there's some validation to the Flyers' victory and record against Pittsburgh. But until they prove it again in an actual stretch of games, it's hard to believe there's thick substance to it. There's a base there, but the Flyers need much more help this offseason.

• Since the start of March, the first period has become a recurring nightmare for the Flyers. Going back to the beginning of March, the Flyers had trailed first in 24 of their 33 games and been outscored 47-19 in the first period. In their previous four games, all against the Devils, they were outscored 5-1 during the opening frame.

The seventh-place Devils left town, the first-place Penguins rolled in and the Flyers' first-period fortunes oddly flipped.

Kevin Hayes, Shayne Gostisbehere and Claude Giroux all scored goals to hand the Flyers a 3-0 advantage. The Flyers had gone 10 games in a row without a first-intermission lead. 

In the third period, Giroux added his second of the game with an empty-netter and Robert Hagg gave the Flyers the point after a touchdown to cap things off.

• Throughout his development as a prospect, Wade Allison's shot has been highly advertised. He put it on display to hand the Flyers their 4-0 lead.

• With 34 saves, Alex Lyon earned his first NHL win since Feb. 1, 2020. One of those stops was of the acrobatic variety in the first period and kept the Flyers' lead at 1-0.

The 28-year-old allowed his first goal in the third period when Sidney Crosby made a highlight-reel redirection look nonchalant for a power play goal. Jason Zucker added another man advantage goal after a questionable goalie interference call on Joel Farabee.

The Flyers have allowed an NHL-high 43 power play goals after allowing only 38 though 69 games last season.

Farabee, who had a three-point game, made up for it with an insurance goal to push the Flyers' lead back to three at 5-2.

Pittsburgh netminder Casey DeSmith nearly made an insane glove save on Hayes' game-opening goal. It was just the start of DeSmith facing a barrage. The Flyers got after him with 37 shots and he was pulled at second intermission.

• Monday was Pride Night at the Wells Fargo Center.

"It's really cool in warmups, everyone uses the tape and stuff like that," Farabee said before the game. "The message it brings is really important, so we're just happy we can use our platform to express that. It's a great initiative."

Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers
Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers
Jordan Hall/NBC Sports Philadelphia

• Wrapping up their eight-game regular-season series, the Flyers and Penguins are right back at it Tuesday in Philadelphia (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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