Sunday, February 19, 2012

Exhilarating - Penguins 6, Flyers 4

So what happened?

Wow - I don't know where to start with this one.  Let's start by saying this may have been the worst effort by the Pens all season in terms of their discipline in staying out of the box.  While the refs were still blowing their whistles (which stopped after the second period), the Pens handed the Flyers multiple power play chances.  Some of them were mystifying, like the hooking call on Brooks Orpik, but most of them were just dumb, like the slashing call on Paul Martin.  The Pens were fortunate the Flyers were unable to capitalize more then they did (the Flyers scored just once on the power play).

Anyway, long story short (since the Pens play again in about 90 minutes in Buffalo), this was a heated rivalry kind of game that we've come to expect against the Flyers.  The Pens used two short-handed goals to keep themselves in the game (it was tied 3-3 going into the third period), and then scored three times at even-strength to blow the game open in the third.

The Flyers biggest problem was their play between the pipes.  Both Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky were terrible (Bryzgalov looked as bad as I've seen any goalie look all season on those short-handed goals).  It's nice to see the questionable decision to spend tons of money on Bryzgalov backfire to this point.

The Pens weren't really doing much in the first two periods, aside from killing penalties and scoring short-handed.  They managed just 15 shots through two.  Once the special teams play stopped in the third, however, the Pens simply dominated.  They out shot the Flyers 15-8 in the third and put the game out of reach, basically by the time Pascal Dupuis scored just 2:09 into the third.

This is one of the few games that actually had me yelling and cheering while watching.

Who scored?

Cooke (10, 11), Staal (18), Jeffrey (4), Dupuis (13), Neal (30)

The Good?
  • See the other four names that aren't Malkin or Neal that scored goals?  That's really good.
  • Zac Rinaldo was not in this game.  That's also good, because I think he would have tried to hurt someone.
  • We found out that Scott Hartnell is afraid to fight Engelland.  Claude Giroux was leveled on a clean check by Deryk Engelland early in the first.  Hartnell immediately went up as if to challenge Engelland, but never dropped the gloves (which Engelland certainly would have done with Hartnell).  Scott didn't try to fight until late in the game when he managed to get close to Joe Vitale, who is about 3" shorter and 10 pounds lighter than Hartnell.  Vitale, I have no doubt, would have dropped them with Hartnell if the linesmen hadn't already been involved.  You want to know the problem with the Flyers?  When it comes right down to it, they're gutless.
  • The PK scoring twice was great.  Cooke's goal was against a 5-on-3.
  • Flower made several key saves when the Flyers were still in the game.  He wasn't great all day, but he did make the big saves when it counted.
The Bad?
  • Bad decision to pinch by Kris Letang on the first Jagr goal.  He can't take those chances in a four-on-four situation.
  • Lack of recognition by the Pens that Jagr likes to shoot that wrist shot from anywhere near the circle. I think anyone that has seen Jagr play more than a few times knew what was coming, and Jagr burned the Pens twice in a row with that shot.
The Ugly?
  • The stupidity of the Flyers.  Coburn's cross-check on Malkin in neutral ice with the puck nowhere near?  STUPID!  JVR slash to the hands / wrists of James Neal after the whistle in the middle of everyone (and in response to a light shove from Neal)?  STUPID!  In fairness, Paul Martin's slash after taking a slightly late hit?  STUPID!  Discipline is key.
Any Surprises?
  • The refs were surprising, and not in a good way.  They made some of the most bizarre calls against both teams, and the result was an inconsistent mess.
What's their record now?
The Pens are 33-20-5.

Who's next?
A trip to Buffalo for a Sunday afternoon game against the Sabres.

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