-Greetings from a wonderful day in Western Pennsylvania. It almost feels like a waste to be sitting inside watching this. Too bad there wasn't some sort of way to watch a hockey game outside. With a large group of hockey fans. That would be a great idea. Too bad nothing like that exists.
-Sidney Crosby's moustache never fails to make us feel uncomfortable:
-EN reader Brandon Bobelak comes through with perhaps the finest EN reader submission ever. Riley Cote and:
-To borrow a PensBlogism, Us = Stunned.
-Sweet heavens our long national nightmare is over for one day at least. No Pierre McGuire. Darren Pang is on hand instead with Mike Milbury:
-We assume McGuire is tending to his annoyance analyst duties with the Chicago-Calgary series. Is it possible for that series to last 2,340,234,224 games?
-Petr Sykora is scratched again along with Eric Godard and Philippe Boucher.
-Philadelphia's scratches are RIley Cote and Luca Sbisa.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Martin Biron are the starting goaltenders.
-We assume the Flyers will be wearing their Creamsicle jerseys for however many homes games they might have left in the playoffs:
(We closed our blinds in order to cut down on that glare.)
-Another wonderful "Cros-Beee Sxxxx!!!! Cros-Beee Sxxxxx!!!!" chant rains down from those lovely fans there. We guess you're an inferior talent when you have a mere 46 points in 26 games.
-A game scheduled to begin at 3:08 p.m. starts at 3:20 p.m. Thanks NBC.
18:32: The Penguins' third line generates another nifty little scoring chance. After some cycling and work along the boards, Tyler Kennedy whips a backhanded pass to Matt Cooke in the slot. There's a little too much juice in the pass and Cooke can't cleanly handle it.
16:45: Mark Eaton cranks a slapper at the left point that misses the mark. Seems like Miroslav Satan has been bumped down to the fourth line with Craig Adams and Pascal Dupuis.
16:08: Jeff Carter and Joffrey Lupul are denied in tight by Fleury.
16:00: Sidney Crosby goes to the net with he puck and tries to jam it by Biron. No dice.
15:30: Claude GIroux controls the puck deep in the Penguins's zone. Sounds like he's getting the Jarkko Ruutuesqe "Ruuuuuu" treatment from his fans.
14:26: As play is stopped, Mike Richards and Maxime Talbot have a bit of a dust up but nothing comes of it. With the first stoppage of play, NBC busts out is usual mindless "team leaders" graphic. It's not even a graphic. It's just video clips of Fleury and Biron with their names in big shiny type.
-It this was a real hockey broadcast, we'd at least get their stats or something. No. Just big shiny type, a few attention grabbing clips and a little bit of music.
14:21: Off a faceoff win, Sergei Gonchar puts a shot on net from right point. It gets through and behind Biron. Malkin is there but can't quite get a shot off. Satan appears to be back with Malkin.
12:39: Kenedy picks up a loose puck in the neutral zone, cross the Flyers' blue line and snaps off a wrister that gets deflected high.
12:24: Matt Cooke made a simply hideous turnover near his own net. He carelessly pushes a backhanded pass into the slot too... Darroll Powe. Thankfully, it's Darroll Powe with the puck and he blasts a slapper that ends up in Woodlyn. The Flyers could've made the Penguins pay there.
10:56: Chris Kunitz snaps off a wrister from just inside the blue line. Biron eats it up.
10:35: Mike Knuble takes a cross ice pass on the right wing from Simon Gagne and shuffles a low wrister at the cage. Fleury is in perfect position and absorbs the shot.
8:55: It's kind of weird how Satan is being used. He's alternating shifts on the second and fourth lines it seems.
8:22: Malkin goes in offsides. Play is halted. A small scrum ensues. Trainer Chris Stewart jumps on the ice to attend to Pascal Dupuis who is on one knee and appears a bit shaken up. And Darren Pang appears to be ready to take a shift:
7:40: Talbot is taking shifts with Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko.
7:11: Scott Hartnell dishes a pass to Carter in front of the cage. Carter snaps off a quick shot. Fleury hangs on for the save. Crosby gives Hartnell a bit of a cross check after the whistle. NBC shows some replays of Braydon Coburn and Hall Gill getting away with some shots to the head on Pascal Dupuis and Mike Richards respectively.
6:44: Crosby enters the zone with speed and cranks a slapper which Biron kicks away with ease.
5:49: Jordan Staal tries to wraparound a backhander but Biron punches it away with his stick.
4:52: Malkin trips up Daniel Carcillo who crashes into Fleury. No call.
2:40: Bill Guerin throws a soft wrister at the net which Biron keeps out without any trouble.
2:12: What a horrible play by Talbot. He tries to control the puck just inside his blue line. He doesn't feel Richards behind him and the Flyers captain simply swipes the puck right off him. Richards kicks the puck to his stick and tries to go five hole on Fleury. Fleury make the save but leaves a rebound just outside the crease and slides out of position. Knuble comes flying in and pokes it into the cage with a backhander. Terrible goal. Put that on Talbot. "Bro Hymn" by Pennywise is played. Richards gets the only assist. Flyers 1-0.
1:21: Heck of a start. Claude Giroux carries the puck into the offensive zone down the left wing. he pulls up and zips a pass across the slot to Lupul on the right wing. Lupul moves, gets pressured by Letang and rips a rocket that completely burns Fleury on the glove side. What a shot. The Flyers came into the zone with far too much speed there. The Penguins had a breakdown on a line change that allowed that rush. Giroux and Daniel Briere get assists. "Bro Hymn." Flyers 2-0.
0:37: Malkin enters the zone and gets tripped up by Carter. Two minutes for Cater. Crosby, Letang, Malkin, Gonchar and Kunitz are on for the power play. The Penguins need a response here.
0:00: End of period. The period ends with Letang and Knuble discussing if there really is a ghost in that one scene from "Three Men and a Baby." We think. Flyers 2, Penguins 0.
(Yeah, we stole that from "Family Guy.")
-That was a pretty even period until the final two minutes or so. To bad periods are usually 20 minutes.
-The FLyers generated some better scoring chances and cashed them in. The Penguins' haven't.
-The Penguins' third line is still their best line. Good for Staal, Cooke and Kennedy, but bad for the team. Idealy, the first and second lines should be the best or second best lines.
-The Flyers have an 11-7 lead in shots.
-Crosby leads the game with four shots.
-Knuble has three.
-The Penguins are still controlling the faceoff circle. They have a 10-2 lead (83 percent).
-Crosby is 6-for-7 (86 percent).
-Richards is 1-for-4 (25 percent).
-Braydon Coburn and Sergei Gonchar each lead the game with 7:59 of ice time.
-Knuble leads the game with two blocked shots.
-The Penguins will have 1:24 of power play time to start the period.
19:06: Gonchar blasts a one-timer from the left point that misses the mark.
18:42: Letang chases down a puck in the corner. He gets their first and moves it along the boards. He gets mashed into the boards and dropped by Alberts for his troubles.
18:37: The Penguins Flyers successfully kill off Carter's penalty.
18:26: Gonchar cranks another one-timer from the left point that again misses the mark.
16:10: Carter comes into the zone and whips a wrister at the cage. Gill gets a piece of it and deflects it out of play. Just as Carter releases the puck, Crosby breaks his stick across Carter and drops him. That's two minutes for Crosby. Cooke, Staal, Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik are one for the penalty kill.
15:54: Wow. Look at that. A power-play goal. How do you let a player like Daniel Briere get behind you on a power play? Briere dishes a pass to Gagne on the left wing at the blue line. Gagne enters the zone and zip a pass to Briere who flies right down the slot and burns Fleury just under the glove hand. Awful defense. You know things are going bad when the Penguins' penalty kill is failing. "Bro Hymn" is played. Gagne and Kimmo Timonen get assists. Flyers 3-0.
15:39: Carcillo and Talbot drop the gloves. After some wrestling, Carcillo gets a about three rights in and drops Talbot. Carcillo skates to the penalty box raising his hands to get his fans up. Talbot goes to his penalty box holding a finger over his mouth as if to tell everyone to quiet down. As Ed Olczyko pointed out, there was really no reason for Carcillo to take Talbot up on that fight.
15:25: The Penguins almost immediately feed off the energy from Talbot's fight and get on the scoreboard. Malkin hustles down the right wing, goes behind the net and shakes off Matt Carle. Malkin comes back around the net and tries to jam in a wraparound. BIron holds that out. Malkin fights off a defender and pokes at the rebound again. Biron hold that out also. The rebound comes loses in the slot and with Biron down, Fedotenko jumps in and pokes it under BIron. Fedotenko holds his hand up then reached down to recover his stick. Coburn punches him in the chest. And this breaks out:
-That is apparently how the Flyers celebrate giving up goals. Malkin and Coburn each get two minutes for roughing. Somehow the Flyers escape having to kill a penalty. Not that the Penguins would do anything with a power play. Malkin gets the only assist. Four-on four. Flyers 3-1.
14:31: Gonchar coasts into the offensive zone and strikes a slapper at the cage. Biron traps it against his chest.
13:42: Gagne gets a feed in the slot and directs it just wide.
13:28: Geez. Who would ever think Mark Eaton would would have more goals than Sergei Gonchar in a playoff series? Or in any sort of context? Kennedy moves up the left wing and in on net. He snaps a wrister off at Biron. Biron punches it out into the slot. Eaton is there and swats it in by Biron with the shaft of his stick. What an effort by Eaton to get his second goal of the playoffs. Kennedy and Fedotenko get assists. This game has taken a huge swing since the Carcillo-Talbot fight. Flyers 3-2.
13:25: Coburn and Malkin serve their penalties.
12:01: Carle trips up Staal along hte boards. Two minutes. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Gonchar and Letang are on to waste two minutes serve the power play.
10:49: Gonchar snaps off a wrister on a version of the "Whitney Play." Biron shrugs it off and punches the rebound out.
10:01: The Penguins Flyers kill off Carle's penalty.
9:48: Kennedy gets his 234239th shot or so on net. Biron kicks it out.
9:44: Miroslav Satan makes his first contribution since November and gets tripped up by Alberts. That's two minutes for the Penguins to waste again. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Letang and Gonchar are on the ice to run passing drills.
9:11: Gonchar cranks a slapper from the left point. NBC is using it's overhead "end zone" camera again for this power play. We have mixed feelings on this view.
8:21: Knuble gets a feed and tries to tip it on net. Biron holds his ground.
8:12: A backhander by Staal is denied by Biron.
7:44: Alberts' penalty is killed. Why do the Penguins even bother?
7:36: Carle jumps on a loose puck in the slot and tips it on net. It pops up and Fleury gloves it.
6:56: Hartnell chops a puck at the net. Fleury lunges out to cover it. Lupul charges in and takes a tumble over Fleury.
6:52: Hartnell tries to dance around the defense and nearly gets a shot off before Hal Gill uses his pool skimmer to chop the puck away.
5:43: Gagne gets a backhander on net from the slot. Fleury fights it off. The rebound caroms into the corner. Gagne gets cross checked from behind by Fedotenko. That's two minutes. Staal, Cooke, Gill and Scuderi are on for the kill.
4:59: Staal whips a puck down ice killing time.
4:39: Gagne spins and blasts a wild slapper no where near the net.
4:11: Fleury fights off a slapper by Carle from the left point.
3:43: Talbot lugs the puck up ice and kills off the rest of Fedotenko's penalty. Not much going on for the Flyers there.
3:01: Oh geez. Talk about being lucky. Bill Guerin enters the offensive zone on the right wing, he cross across the slot to the left wing and whips a backhander at the slot. Kimmo Timonen is there and gets a piece of hte puck with his stick. It flutters towards the net. Biron reach and clips it with the cuff of his glove. Crosby's right on the back door and slams the puck in with his forehand. Heads up play by Crosby but there was some luck involved there. That said, Biron should've gloved that. Guerin and Letang get assists. Flyers 3, Penguins 3.
2:17: Kunitz drives to the net and appears to kick a puck at the net. Biron stops it.
0:45: Malkin gets abused in the corner by Coburn.
0:28: The ever dangerous Mark Eaton whips a wrister at the cage from the left point. Biron snags it.
0:16: Crosby tries to push a backhanded wraparound into the cage. Biron makes the save. Kunitz jumps on the rebound and punches it on the cage. Biron gloves it.
0:00: End of period. Flyers 3, Penguins 3.
-Heck of a response by the Penguins. While we've never been big fans of players like Godard and Cote who serve no purpose other than to fight, we love it when players with some skill drop the gloves. There's nothing more electrifying when real player drop the gloves in the heat of the battle. Just like Jarome Iginla and Vincent Lecavalier in the 2004 Cup final:
-The Carcillo-Talbot tilt wasn't some staged circus like a Godard-Cote bout would've been. It's something that just developed and happened out of no where. And it gave the Penguins some life.
-The Penguins have a 27-20 lead in shots. In the second period alone, they had a 20-9 lead.
-Crosby leads the game with five.
-Carter has four.
-The Penguins have a 22-14 advantage in faceoffs (61 percent).
-Crosby is 14-for-21 (67 percent).
-Timonen leads the game with 17:58 of ice time.
-Gonchar is right behind him with 17:41.
-Timonen leads the game with four blocks.
-Gill, Scuderi, Eaton, Fedotenko and Gonchar each have one.
-Richards is 6-for-12 (50 percent).
18:53: NBC finally comes through with some actual statistics for a graphic:
18:27: Kennedy smacks a slapper from the right wing wide.
17:41: Oh geez. Where did that come from? Sergei Gonchar is feeling the pressure from Mark Eaton obviously. Malkin lugs the puck into the offensive zone and leaves a drop pass for Gonchar. The Penguins defenseman takes th epuck, turns his hips and blows a slapper by BIron on the far stick side. Guerin skates in front with a moving screen and gets run over by two defenders. Heck of a blast by Gonchar. Give some credit to Guerin for possibly screening Biron there too. Malkin and Orpik get assists. Guerin should get one too. Four unanswered goals. Penguins 4-3.
16:40: Letang chops a slapper from the right wing that sails high on him.
16:09: Adams makes a nice steal at the Flyers blue line, dekes around a few opponents and chips it deep. It's a little play that won't get much notice, but it was a good play which killed a little time.
15:13: Satan gets a puck in the slot and pushes a backhander at the cage. Biron is force to make a nice save on it.
14:47: What a bad call. Powe cross checks Malkin to the ice in the corner. Malkin gets up and gives Powe a shot and Powe loses his footing and falls to the ice. Two minutes for cross checking Malkin. Ehhh. Staal, Cooke, Scuderi and Gill are on to kill the "penalty."
13:54: Timonen blasts a slapper from the right point. Scuderi blocks it out in front and his hobbled. He appears to be having some issues with his left arm.
13:46: Richards tees up a shot from the right point, hesitates and shoots. Adams gets down and deflects it wide.
13:22: Timonen cranks a slapper which Fleury gets a piece of with his glove and tips wide. Gill collects the rebound and forces it down ice. Big clear there.
13:01: Fleury has trouble with the puck behind the net. A Flyer gets to it first and plays it to the slot to... a Penguin who plays it down ice.
12:47: Malkin's penalty is killed. Big time effort by the penalty kill there.
12:31: Eaton blocks a shot by Giroux from the right wing.
12:17: Guerin carries the puck up the right wing and leaves a drop pass for Crosby. Crosby picks it up and snaps off a wrister which Biron eats up.
11:48: Letang loses the puck in his own end but makes up for it as he sticks a solid hip check on Gagne in the right faceoff circle that separates Gagne from the puck. The hit actually results in a little bit of a cut to Richards' face that requires some medical attention.
11:40: Kunitz fires a slapper from the left wing that misses the mark and rattles off the glass.
10:00: An awful turnover by Gill in his own end results in countless fans on both sides of the state losing their breath. Richards intercepts the careless pass in the slot. Scuderi squares up to Richards who fakes a slapper. Richards goes towards the left wing and tries to go wide but Scuderi's stick juuuust gets a piece of the puck. Carle jumps on the puck and shoots but Gill slides down and appears to block the shot with his butt. What a crazy sequence.
9:27: The replay of the Letang hit on Gagne actually showed Gagne accidently kicking Richard in the chin with his skate. Richards is lucky nothing more serious happened there.
8:31: Hartnell dishes a pass to Giroux in the slot. GIroux hammers a one-timer that hits the pipe. Staal appears to clip Giroux in the face with a stick and Giroux lays on the ice stunned for a moment. He slowly recovers and retrieves his stick. The Penguins were luck that hit metal and that Staal didn't end up in the box.
6:37: Adams accidently blocks a slapper by Gonchar in the slot.
5:38: Oh wow what a save. Carter carries the puck in to the offensive zone on the left wing. He leaves a drop pass for Hartnell who smacks a one timer from the left point. It hits off Gill's stick in the slot and comes right to Lupul coming in from the right wing. Lupul jabs at the puck and is simply robbed by Fleury who is able to stretch out and kick it out with his left pad. That might've won the game for the Penguins. As NBC points out, that Fleury's second huge save this series. From Game 2:
4:40: Malkin hustles up the right wing and wnspa soff a wrister from the right faceoff circle. Biron hangs on for the save as Coburn takes out Malkin who crashes into the back boards.
4:04: Hartnell makes a nifty move by Kunitz, uses Scuderi as a screen and rips wrister from the slot. Fleury comes up with another big kick save. Fleury's risen his level of play.
2:45: Staal pushes the puck out of zone and to paraphrase Mike Lange, gets the heat out of a hot kitchen.
2:11: Richards pushes a puck into the equipment of Fleury from behind the net. It his off his left leg and bounce out. Fleury reaches down and covers the puck. This final two minute will be intense.
2:08: Off a faceoff win, Randy Jones steps up and fires a slapper from the right point. It hits a body in front and flutters in on Fleury who is able to trap it in his equipment. A little bit of a scrum develops before cooler heads prevail.
1:24: Staal, Adams and Talbot come up against Carle in the clumbiest three-on-ones we can ever remember. Staal dishes it to Adams. Carle gets a piece of it. Adams recovers the puck and dishes it to Talbot. Talbot makes a few too many moves before it's too late and simply runs out of room to get a decent shot off. He pushe it into Biron's pads. Biron covers to freeze play. Talbot crashes into him Adams digs for a rebound and gets slammed into the cage by a Flyers player.
1:00ish: BIron is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:42: Guerin throws the puck down ice and is guilty of icing. John Stevens calls a time out to organize his team. This is too intense to make a "One Good Cop" joke.
0:40: Crosby wins the faceoff.
0:27: Carter forces a pass in the neutral zone to Timonen. Crosby steals it and works the puck down ice to the cage. TImonen dives to force a shot. Crosby's backhander goes off the side cage. Crosby collects the rebound with his left hand, comes around the net and backhand chips it in for one of us:
-This Flyers fan decides to get an early start on his golf game:
-Those vulgar chants don't seem to be as loud. The goal is unassisted. Penguins 5-3.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 5, Flyers 1975.
-What a game. Wow. We don't care who would've won that game. That was a classic. The Flyers seemingly had everything in control. Talbot's fight gives his team a spark. His teammates responded by plugging away on offense. Going to the net. Getting some dirty goals. Fleury locked up the net with some clutch saves. His save on Carter in the third was insane. That was a classic playoff game there.
-What a response by Fleury. Other than maybe the goal by Lupul, he was nearly flawless. The first and third Flyers goals were the results of mistakes by teammates. After the Talbot fight, he just shut the Flyers down. Are there any more doubts he can be a franchise goaltender when it matters the most?
-How huge was Gonchar's goal? He's not had a particularly strong series and for him to score the winning goal in an elimination game? That has to give him a boost.
-After a two game hiatus, Malkin certain woke up. His effort was everything on the first Penguins' goal. And he brought the puck into the zone on Gonchar's tally.
-Talbot's fight really save him some face. He was a goat after that horrible turnover that led to Knuble's goal. But when he dropped the gloves with Carcillo, he totally turned the tide.
-Talbot and Carcillo fighting:
-The Penguins needed to end this series. They need rest. This was a very physical series and they need to get guys like Letang and Sykora (if he's really injured) back to full speed.
-Should we bee killjoys and mention the power play which went 0-for-3.
-The Penguins had a 35-25 lead in shots.
-After the first period, they had a 28-14 lead in shots.
-Crosby led the game with seven.
-Carter had four.
-The Penguins controlled faceoffs, 32-23 (58 percent).
-Staal was 8-for-13 (62 percent).
-Richards was 9-for-16 (56 percent).
-We're not huge fans of the plus/minus statistic, but Eaton was a plus-4.
-Timonen led the game with 25:35 of ice time.
-Gonchar paced the Penguins going 24:47.
-Gonchar and Timonen each lead the game with four blocked shots.
-The Penguins are the first Stanley Cup runner-up to move onto the second round in the following playoffs since the 2002 Dallas Stars.