There are wins. Then there are big wins. This game: ******* huge win. Maybe Dan Bylsma flipped out after the first period; maybe he didn't say anything. Whatever he did, it was the right move. The Pens now leave Philly knowing they can beat this Flyers team, and the importance of that can't be put into words.
It took the Penguins about 14 games over two seasons, give or take, to realize that the Flyers are as ordinary as it gets. It wasn't until they reached complete rock bottom that this clicked in. After a first period that saw the Penguins show less composure than Lieutenant Dan, it finally clicked in. And when it did, we saw this Pens team in a whole different light. They put their heads down and just worked. They didn't get annoyed. They just worked. It was eerily similar to Game 6 in '09, minus a fight.
GiWho and the Flyers stay out of the playoff picture for now.
Saturday night in Toronto awaits.
MAF was making saves early. Elaborate glove save on Giroux. Pens couldn't get any look on Bryz. MAF had to make another good save on Matt Read. It was already 2-0 in last year's playoffs.
Pens started getting some chances. Malkin set up Bennett for one, and Crosby/Kunitz almost connected.
Neal went to the box for elbowing. It didn't take long. Giroux and Voracek. 1-0.
After the goal, Hartnell chirped Neal leaving the box, thinking that Neal's elbow on GiWho actually connected, so Neal fought him. Hartnell got an extra 2 minutes, so the Pens got their own power play. AutomatiKunitz. 1-1.
What a stupid move by Hartnell. Equally as dumb from Neal.
But then the trip to rock bottom began.
Hockey happened for a couple seconds, then Schenn flopped, so the Flyers were back on the power play. MAF killed all of it, but Rinaldo snapped a dick pic then put home a rebound.
Was hard to keep your dinner down after that goal.
Kimmo Timonen from downtown. 3-1.
Neal went off for pickle stabbing. Flyers scored again. 4-1.
There were no rational thoughts to be had.
Vokoun came in for the second, and there was a noticeable change in the Penguins' game.
Malkin-Bennett-Neal had a good shift.
Crosby follows up. Sick saucer pass to Dupes. 4-2.
ROOT showed the Flyers' bench. Talbot knew the Pens were coming:
Beau Bennett and the second line were everywhere. They followed up that Dupuis goal with an unbelievable shift. Bennett forces a turnover from Simmonds and throws it down to Neal, who sent it to the net. Whatever it hit, it went in.
Bourque and Lange on the radio side mentioned the Bryzgalov was having words with some Flyers fans chirping him behind the net after that goal.
Pens continued to work. Crosby drew a penalty.
Powerplay was okay, but it didn't come through.
With under 5 minutes left, the Cooke-Sutter-TK made moves. TK with a one-timer from the high high high slot.
4-4. See ya, Bryz.
TK's second against the Flyers this season. (He has three goals.)
Flyers were still melting down and took a penalty. Pens had a ton of chances. Malkin had some issues, and it almost led to the Flyers scoring. Thank God.
Underrated play of the game
Flyers had an odd-man break with about 35 seconds left. Mark Eaton somehow blocks the shot.
Just can't say enough good things about Mark Eaton right now. It's as if he never left. If that pucks get through and past Vokoun, this game takes a completely different turn.
Boom. AutomatiKunitz again. 5-4.
Malkin knocked over Talbot, and Talbot acted like he died. ROOT showed Orpik chirping Talbot afterward.
Later on in the period, Crosby had one of those unreal shifts that won't show up on the scoresheet. It was a beautiful backcheck. He actually had a couple of these shifts in this one.
Pens' second line continued to show flashes.. Malkin and Bennett are developing some chemistry. Bennett is working his ass off. Flyers had a 3-on-2 late in one of Bennet's shifts. He hustled back and deflected a Hartnell shot out of play. It earned an ass tap from Crosby.
Off the next faceoff, Hartnell tips one in. No chance that was gonna be a goal. No better feeling when the opponent gets a goal waived off. Come to think of it, Pens have been on the other side of it a lot in the past couple years.
Dupes got called for a penalty. The PK unit got the job done. Huge kill.
Tomas Vokoun hopefully played himself out of the little mini-slump he was in. He didn't see a lot of good shots from the Flyers, but it's good for him to be back in the saddle.
Time ticked away, and the Flyers kept punishing the Pens. But the Pens kept their **** together. The Flyers threatened late, but the Pens held it off.
Interesting note at the very end of the game: Matt Cooke was pushed into the Flyers' empty net. The net over turned, but the refs did not whistle the play dead. Thought that was bizarre.
Whatever, though. Flyers ran out of time.
-- Mark Eaton may be more important than any trades the Pens make. Best defender on the ice this game.
-- Paul Martin took some monster hits and kept ticking. Had a nice shutdown play on Wayne Simmonds during a key point in the second period. Rough own-goal night for Martin, though.
-- How good was Malkin. Probably the best game you can get from him if he's not gonna get on the scoresheet. He kept his **** under control. A good indication that he had a solid game is that Sean Courturier was barely a footnote to this game. Usually Couturier gets him to take a couple penalties.
-- Another three-point night for Crosby.
-- Flyers outhit the Pens 40-22.
-- Second line looked really strong. Eye-opening performance by Beau Bennett.
-- Fraude Giroux
--Dominating 17 minutes for Crosby.
--Very good game from Kris Letang, as well. Cool, calm, and collected.