Thursday, May 15, 2008

Flyers 4, Penguins 2

Yeah, the Flyers pulled one out. Good for them. In pick-up basketball, we call this the "feel good" game. We didn't really need a feel good game in this series, but we got one anyway.

The Flyers wanted it more during the first period, and the Pens weren't able to respond until it was too late. Even with that, they were still able to pull within one goal. That was the biggest encouraging sign to take from this game - the Pens never quit.

Let's recap!

First period:

Flower had a huge save early on Scott Hartnell. The Flyers were applying the pressure early.

Richards took a cheap shot by hitting Sarge after a touch-up for icing.

There were a few times that a trip could have been called in the first five minutes. Seems like the zebras have decided to keep up their wonderful consistency and put the whistles away.

Finally we got the tripping call, and it was on the Flyers.

On the power play, there was nothing doing until the Pens spent too much time getting cute with the puck. Richards took off on a breakaway. He missed the net, and it sprung Hossa immediately on his own semi-break. He couldn't score either, though he got a shot on net.

After the power play ended, Lupul entered the zone along the right boards and put an innocent looking shot on net. Unfortunately, that innocence was lost when the puck deflected off of Whitney's stick and over the left shoulder of Fleury. Not much Flower can do on the deflections. Bad luck for the Pens, but all the momentum was going to the Flyers early. 1-0 Flyers.

Gonchar was called for touching the arm of Briere (called "holding" by the Zebras), putting the Flyers on the power play. You had the feeling that this PK might give us an idea of how the evening was going to go.

With just three seconds left in the penalty, Briere stepped out from behind the net as a shot was coming from the point. He shouldered Fleury and knocked the rebound into the net. Gill needs to flatten Briere in that situation, if only so we never have to hear the Versus announcers letting everyone know their intention to make out with Danny Briere at the earliest opportunity. 2-0 Flyers.

Letang took a penalty for clipping, putting the Flyers back on the power play. If the Flyers scored here, I'd be tempted to say "game over".

During the power play, Richards, Hartnell, Talbot and Gonchar all took roughing penalties. Things were getting pretty chippy. You have to like that.

The penalty expired without incident, so maybe there would be some life in the Pens after all.

With about three minutes remaining in the period, more post-whistle shenanigans would go against the Pens. Thoresen applied the cross-check to the lower back area of Orpik. Brooks took exception to that and was sent to the box for his efforts. That was not a good call, but you can't retaliate. Better for the Pens to learn that now when they're up 3-0 in the series.

The Flyers scored again on the ensuing power play. They did things the same way, but getting the puck to the net and creating havoc. At this point, the Pens had to hope they could get out of the first period without allowing another goal. 3-0 Flyers.

At the end of the period, the lovely (dumb) Versus announcers were still busy making sweet verbal love to Briere, declaring how wonderful it is when a player responds to being challenged. If it were me, I'd be asking where little Danny was during the first three games. Not as hard to respond after it appears to be too late, eh?

The Pens got their collective butts kicked in the first. The Flyers simply wanted it more, and they took it.

Second period:

Really not much happening early in the second until about 5 minutes in when Sykora and Upshall take minors. On the four-on-four, Fleury showed his head was still in the game by making an astounding save on Briere.

The Pens were applying some more and better pressure, but they were also getting sloppy with the puck in their own end. You could feel Therrien's blood pressure rising through the television.

Really, this was a pretty slow period. The Pens drew a penalty when Carter tripped Malkin. Of course, the fans whined.

The Pens couldn't do anything with their power play. They had a few decent shots, but nothing serious.

The Flyers earned the power play late in the period when Sykora slashed Briere. They didn't score in the first part of the man advantage, but they still had 35 seconds left when the third period started.

Third period:

Nothing doing for the Flyers on the remainder of the power play.

You had the feeling if the Pens could get one early, they could get back into the game.

The Pens managed to muck and grind for a goal on an innocent looking poke by Staal that got past Biron. There was also a great look at the jokes in the stands giving the finger to the Pens. Dumb, Philly fans, just dumb. 3-1 Flyers.

As the third wore on, both Malkin and Crosby were able to setup their teammates beautifully. Crosby setup Dupuis and Malkin setup Letang. Neither could seal the deal and pull the Pens closer, but there was no doubt the Pens were looking like a better team than during the first two periods.

Later in the period, with under six minutes remaining, the Pens third line gains possession of the puck in the offensive zone. Staal took a pass in the slot from Kennedy and ripped it short side on Biron. Probably a bad goal for Biron to allow. Everyone in Philly is thinking about the highest building they know of. 3-2 Flyers.

Time ticked down and the Flyers clamped down. The Pens couldn't muster any serious threat and the Flyers added an empty net goal. 4-2 Flyers.

There was some funny business at the end of the game involving most everyone on the ice more than once. Sunday should be good.

Next up: The Flyers come to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Sunday.

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