Philadelphia Flyers watch season end in heartbreaking fashion

Guentzel scores four as Penguins eliminate Flyers in Game 6

Guentzel scores four as Penguins eliminate Flyers in Game 6

He scored the tying and go-ahead goals in Game 6, then scored two more - all four in succession - to put the game away and lift the Penguins to an 8-5 Game 6 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.

What made it all so wild?

For a brief minute when the Philadelphia Flyers jumped up to a 4-2 lead in the second period of Game 6 on Sunday, it looked like the team was going to find a way to extend its 2017-18 season for one more night, forcing a seventh game against their biggest rival.

Only 30 seconds into the third period, Phil Kessel stole the puck from defenseman Ivan Provorov at the blue line and fed Guentzel for a goal to give the Penguins a 5-4 lead.

Philadelphia were sent packing in the National Hockey League playoffs, but center Sean Couturier did everything in his power to help the Flyers attempt to overcome a 3-1 series deficit. In any context it would have been a bad, selfish penalty, but given that the Penguins were only leading by one mid-way through the third period of a potential knockout game it was ... bad. When Bryan Rust scored an empty-net goal to secure the Pens' spot in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, patrons figured it would be easier to all toss their garbage into one spot (the ice) instead of leaving it spread throughout the Wells Fargo Center.

Sure, four goals is a bit ridiculous, but Guentzel will need to be a key contributor again especially if Malkin isn't ready to go. Today, Guentzel and Crosby are tied for the playoff scoring lead with six goals and 13 points.

Including the playoffs, the Penguins played five games in Philadelphia this season and not only won all of them, but scored at least five goals in all of them.

Despite the lack of strength in the limb, Provorov led the Flyers with six hits as they finally tried to get physical with the Penguins, who were missing Evgeni Malkin due to an injury incurred Wednesday.

That was just part of the physicality from this game, most of which went uncalled on both sides.

Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol, perhaps fighting for his job, made his first significant change in an effort to keep his team's season alive, giving Neuvirth his first playoff start in nearly two years and his first start of any variety in more than two months after Brian Elliott couldn't shake out of a funk that saw him pulled in Game 1 and again in Game 4.

After returning from injury on Friday and scoring the game-winning goal, he recorded five points on Sunday - factoring in all five Flyers goals - and recorded his second career postseason hat trick. "After it exploded off my stick, I couldn't catch him".

The Philadelphia Flyers tough guy missed Game 4 after he tore the medial collateral ligament in his knee when he collided with teammate Radko Gudas in practice. But they also proved that the Penguins are a machine when attacking.

The Nashville Predators solved Andrew Hammond and thumped the Avalanche, 5-0 in Colorado to earn a meeting with the Winnipeg Jets in the second round.

He was even better on Sunday. They have scored 23 goals, including 18 in the past three games, all wins. The Penguins have now won nine consecutive playoff series, but they still have a long way to go for the record. They will play the victor of the Washington Capitals-Columbus Blue Jackets series in the second round. The Capitals are up 3-2 with Game 6 in Columbus on Monday.

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