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Aftermath: Penguins 3, Flyers 1

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
  
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QUICK ANALYSIS
 
Philadelphia did not want to head back to Pittsburgh down 3-1 in the series. The Flyers came out in full force in the entire game, outshooting (46-26), outhitting (24-12) and out-chancing the Penguins. But if the best player on the ice is your goaltender, then he can make up for any deficiency.

Marc-Andre Fleury put forth a brilliant and memorable performance between the pipes for Pittsburgh, stopping 45 shots and willing the Penguins to a 3-1 victory. He made a dozen highlight reel saves and put in his second finest postseason performance (hard to top the triple-overtime win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final last season).

With the victory, the Penguins bounced back from a Game 3 defeat to take a stranglehold on the series at 3-1 and a chance to end the Flyers season Thursday night in Mellon Arena. But if this game proved anything, it’s that Philadelphia will not go away quietly.

According to interim head coach Dan Bylsma, the Penguins are in a race to four. Pittsburgh is way ahead in the race but the fourth win is the hardest to get. Philadelphia will be playing for its life and the Penguins better be ready for a fight.
 
WHAT HAPPENED
 
(AP) -Sid the Kid's momentum on a skate-first slide took him crashing all the way into the back of the net.

Lucky for Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, the puck went along with him. His skates were tangled in the net, Flyers goalie Martin Biron was looking for an interference call and the orange-clad crowd howled in protest for a review.

The goal stood - and so does Pittsburgh's series lead.
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT

Marc-Andre Fleury makes one of his 45 saves (photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
 
What Worked Well: Penalty Kill
Philadelphia’s dangerous power play (which ranked sixth in the NHL in the regular season) was silent on eight chances in the game. Jordan Staal and Rob Scuderi were crucial during the kills, each logging over seven shorthanded minutes. And of course, Marc-Andre Fleury was there to slam the door shut.

What Could Have Gone Better: Dictating the Play
The Penguins were overwhelmed by a desperate Flyers team. Philadelphia played possibly its best game of the series but still came up empty. The Flyers dictated the play and were trying to bomb the Penguins’ goal into submission. But the Penguins were able to contain the Flyers and survived the attack. Philadelphia landed its best shot and Pittsburgh stood tall and shrugged it off. 
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
Marc-Andre Fleury put on one of the finest goaltending performances in Penguins’ playoff history. He was without a doubt the difference in the game. He allowed only one goal on 46 shots in the contest and frustrated the Flyers all night.

Fleury kept the Penguins in the game after making 12 saves in the first period while the Flyers controlled the play and threatened to take an early lead. He was brilliant in the second period, stopping 15 shots. But he was most impressive during the third-period Flyers onslaught. Fleury turned aside 18 shots and completely took over the game.
 
SCORING SYNOPSIS
 
The Penguins struck first with a tally in the second period from their captain. The Flyers were at the tail end of a power play when Kimmo Timonen turned the puck over at the Penguins blue line. Chris Kunitz stole the puck and passed it to Matt Cooke, who just stepped out of the box. Cooke dished back to Kuntiz, who carried the puck down the near side. Kunitz threw a cross-ice pass to Sidney Crosby at the Flyers crease. Crosby fell skates first but managed to get his stick on the puck as he went down. Both Crosby and the puck ended up in the net. After a short review, the goal stood. Pittsburgh 1, Philadelphia 0.

The Penguins converted another score in the second period to add to their lead. Hal Gill chipped the puck into the Flyers zone along the near wall. Cooke lifted the stick of Philadelphia’s Randy Jones to steal the puck. He then slid it to Tyler Kennedy in the high slot. Kennedy turned the puck over to his backhand and roofed a shot into the goal. Pittsburgh 2, Philadelphia 0.

The Flyers broke the shutout bid on their 39th shot of the game. Mike Richards had the puck behind the net and tried to stuff in a wraparound shot. The puck trickled into the slot where Daniel Carcillo buried it over the outstretched glove of Marc-Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh 2, Philadelphia 1.

The Penguins sealed the victory with an empty-net goal from Maxime Talbot. Craig Adams intercepted the puck high in the Penguins zone. He patiently chipped the puck ahead to Talbot. Talbot ripped a shot from just over the red line that found its way into the net. Pittsburgh 3, Philadelphia 1.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
Petr Sykora cannot catch a break. The gifted winger has only one goal in his past 16 games and needs to tally a score to snap out of the slump. Sykora picked up a rebound to the side of the Flyers net and sent a shot towards the open cage. But the puck went off of the stick of Randy Jones, off of the goal post, off of Jones’ body and off of the goal post again. Sykora can’t buy a goal right now.
 
GAME NOTES
 
> Pittsburgh leads the opening round series over Philadelphia, 3-1, and is 1-1 on the road in the postseason.

> Interim head coach Dan Bylsma improved his postseason record to 3-1.

> Scoring Summary:
PIT, S.Crosby (2), 3:19 2nd period: Penguins 1, Flyers 0
PIT, T.Kennedy (2), 7:41 2nd period: Penguins 2, Flyers 0
PHI, D.Carcillo (1), 11:44 3rd period: Penguins 2, Flyers 1
PIT, M.Talbot EN (1), 19:08 3rd period: Penguins 3, Flyers 1

> Evgeni Malkin, the NHL’s scoring champion, did not register a point but still has seven playoff points (4G-3A), the most in the league.

> Sidney Crosby scored a goal for his sixth point of the postseason (2G-4A).

> Marc-Andre Fleury made 45 saves in the victory. He is 7-2 lifetime against Philadelphia in postseason play.

> Tyler Kennedy tallied his second goal of the postseason. 

> Matt Cooke chipped in two assists (his first points of the playoffs).
 
THREE STARS QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
   
1. M.Fleury, PIT
2. T.Kennedy, PIT
3. M.Richards, PHI
“If you’re going to go far in the playoffs you need performances like that from your goaltender. He certainly gave us a memorable one tonight.”
- Dan Bylsma
 

 


Author: Sam Kasan

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