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Aftermath: Penguins 5, Flyers 3

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
  
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QUICK ANALYSIS
 
Pittsburgh ran headfirst into adversity and walked away victories. The team turned a 3-0 deficit into a series-clinching 5-3 triumph that quieted the rowdy Wachovia Center and ended the Philadelphia Flyers’ season.

The Penguins found themselves in a huge hole in a hostile environment, trailing 3-0 early in the second period, and their hopes of ending the series in six games appeared bleak. The Penguins refused to quit and the entire game shifted during the 29-second span after Philadelphia scored its third goal.

The momentum shift started when Maxime Talbot sparred with Flyers’ tough-guy Daniel Carcillo, who received a one-game suspension earlier in the series for a hit to back of Talbot’s head. The crowd exploded but the fight also re-energized the Penguins. Pittsburgh scored its first goal of the game just 14 seconds after the fight.

In just 29 seconds the score went from 2-0 to 3-1. The Penguins took over the game at that point, tacking on four more unanswered goals en route to handshake and advancement into to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
 
WHAT HAPPENED
 
(AP) -Sidney Crosby stood near center ice, answering questions from a television reporter while a few lingering fans berated him.

Crosby never flinched. He finished the interview and let the scoreboard do his talking back to the fans.

Sergei Gonchar scored 2:19 into the third period and the Penguins eliminated the Flyers with a 5-3 victory Saturday in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference first-round series.
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT

Goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Martin Biron shook hands after
Pittsburgh eliminated Philadelphia (photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
 
What Worked Well: Heart
Philadelphia scored two late goals to end the first period. When the Flyers took a 3-0 lead early in the second period, it looked like the series might head back to Pittsburgh for Game 7. But the Penguins never gave up and the tide turned in the second period. Pittsburgh registered 20 shots and scored three goals to tie the game. The Penguins buried five unanswered goals in all in their victory.

What Could Have Gone Better: Fast Start
The team that scores first in a playoff game tends to win 90 percent of the games. Pittsburgh wanted desperately to get that first goal. Unfortunately for the Penguins, Philadelphia scored the game’s first three goals. But unfortunately for the Flyers, Pittsburgh scored the game’s last five goals. 
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
This game was a complete performance for Pittsburgh with nine different players recording a point. But Sidney Crosby stood out for the Penguins. He scored the game-tying goal in the second period and the clutch empty-netter to seal the victory. Crosby also had a game-high seven shots, won 61 percent of his faceoffs and logged 23:50 minutes of ice time (most by a forward in the game).

HONORABLE MENTION: Maxime Talbot, Evgeni Malkin.
 
SCORING SYNOPSIS
 
The Flyers netted a late first-period goal to break the scoreless tie. Maxime Talbot couldn’t control a bouncing puck at the Pittsburgh blue line. Mike Richards picked it off and had a breakaway on the Penguins net. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury kicked aside Richard’s shot but Mike Knuble deposited the rebound into the goal. Philadelphia 1, Pittsburgh 0.

The Flyers buried their second goal of the game 51 seconds after their first. Philadelphia carried the puck on a three-on-two advantage. Claude Giroux moved the puck cross-ice to Joffrey Lupul in the far circle. Lupul roofed a shot over the left shoulder Fleury. Philadelphia 2, Pittsburgh 0.

An early second period power-play tally gave Philadelphia a 3-0 advantage. Daniel Briere dished the puck to Simon Gagne at the far wall. Gagne flipped the puck back to Briere, who was in all alone on goal. Briere wristed a shot glove side past Fleury. Philadelphia 3, Pittsburgh 0.

Pittsburgh got on the board thanks to a great individual effort by Evgeni Malkin. Malkin skated the puck down the far wall and behind the Flyers net. He stopped, reversed direction, skated to the slot and took a shot. Flyers goalie Martin Biron made the save. Malkin reached against his body and on his backhand to push the puck towards the crease where Ruslan Fedotenko jammed it across the goal line. Philadelphia 3, Pittsburgh 1.

Pittsburgh cut into the Flyers’ lead with another goal six minutes into the second period during four-on-four action. Philadelphia made a bad pass in the Pittsburgh zone, setting up a three-on-one rush for the Penguins. Ruslan Fedotenko passed the puck to Tyler Kennedy, who carried into the Philadelphia zone and ripped a shot on net. Defenseman Mark Eaton, the trailing player, batted the airborne rebound into the netting behind Biron. Philadelphia 3, Pittsburgh 2.

Pittsburgh tied the game with its third straight goal of the second period. Bill Guerin carried the puck into the Flyers zone and skated wide of the goal before sending a bad-angled shot towards the net. Biron juggled the puck before Sidney Crosby, who was left unattended by the side of the cage, hacked the elevated puck into the net. Pittsburgh 3, Philadelphia 3.

The Penguins flipped a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 lead on Sergei Gonchar’s first goal of the playoffs. Malkin skated the puck into the Flyers zone and dropped to Gonchar, who ripped a shot far side into the net from above the near circle. Pittsburgh 4, Philadelphia 3.

Crosby sealed the victory for Pittsburgh with an empty-net tally. He raced to collect a loose puck in the Flyers zone. His backhand attempt went off the back of the netting. Crosby grabbed the puck behind the net and patiently skated around to lift a backhand shot in to the goal. Pittsburgh 5, Philadelphia 3.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
With the Penguins down 3-0 and needing a boost of energy, Maxime Talbot stepped up to the plate. Talbot dropped the gloves with Flyers tough-guy Daniel Carcillo. Talbot took on the bigger forward to spark his team…and it worked. Just 14 seconds later, the Penguins scored their first of five consecutive goals.

Big props to Rob Scuderi for his effort on a third period penalty kill. Scuderi took a shot in the abdomen and was obviously hurt. He played through the pain and the Penguins survived the kill unscathed.

The Penguins “third line” of Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy had an outstanding third period. The trio killed a large amount of time in the offensive zone. Philadelphia couldn’t mount any pressure against the line because it was bogged down in its own end.

In the final period, with their playoff hopes on the line, the Flyers could only muster five shots on goal.
 
GAME NOTES
 
> Pittsburgh won its opening-round series over Philadelphia, 4-2, and is 2-1 on the road in the postseason.

> Interim head coach Dan Bylsma won his first NHL playoff series behind the bench and has a postseason record of 4-2.

> Scoring Summary:
PHI, M.Knuble (2), 17:48 1st period: Flyers 1, Penguins 0
PHI, J.Lupul (1), 18:39 1st period: Flyers 2, Penguins 0
PHI, D.Briere PP (1), 4:06 2nd period: Flyers 3, Penguins 0
PIT, R.Fedotenko (1), 4:35 2nd period: Flyers 3, Penguins 1
PIT, M.Eaton (2), 6:32 2nd period: Flyers 3, Penguins 2
PIT, S.Crosby (3), 16:59 2nd period: Penguins 3, Flyers 3
PIT, S.Gonchar (1), 2:19 3rd period: Penguins 4, Flyers 3
PIT, S.Crosby EN (4), 19:32 3rd period: Penguins 5, Flyers 3

> Pittsburgh tied its biggest postseason comeback in team history. Twice prior the Penguins trailed 3-0 in a game (April 25, 2008 vs. NY Rangers; May 26, 1992 vs. Chicago) and went on to win.

> Evgeni Malkin, the NHL’s scoring champion, tallied two assists for his ninth playoff point (4G-5A).

> Sidney Crosby scored two goals and has eight postseason points (4G-4A).

> Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves in the series-clinching victory. He is 8-3 lifetime against Philadelphia in postseason play.

> Ruslan Fedotenko notched a goal and assist for a two-point game. The goal was Fedotenko’s first postseason tally since his Stanley Cup-winning goal with Tampa Bay.

> Mark Eaton scored a goal and finished with a game-high plus-4 rating.
 
THREE STARS QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
   
1. E.Malkin, PIT
2. R.Fedotenko, PIT
3. D.Briere, PHI
"I thought it was the right time to do something and I
think it worked."
- Maxime Talbot on his fight
 

 


Author: Sam Kasan

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