The Penguins and Flyers were two teams on different paths heading into the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Pittsburgh was riding high following the late-season hiring of interim head coach Dan Bylsma. The Penguins went on an 18-3-4 run after Bylsma took over on Feb. 15. The team climbed from 10th place in the Eastern Conference all the way to fourth in less than two months to claim home-ice advantage in the opening round of the postseason.
The Flyers finished the campaign on an 11-10-2 run. Philadelphia had an opportunity to host Game 1 of the series. All they had to do was gain one point against the New York Rangers at home in the final game of the regular season. However, the Rangers pulled off a 4-3 upset and the Flyers were forced to hit the road to open the playoffs in Pittsburgh. SUMMARY:
The Penguins dominated Game 1 of the season series against Philadelphia. Sidney Crosby
gave the Pens a 1-0 lead at 4:41 in the first period with a power-play goal (while Arron Asham
was serving a hooking penalty). Pittsburgh wouldn’t trail the rest of the way.Tyler Kennedy
, Evgeni Malkin
and Mark Eaton also tallied as Pittsburgh built a 4-0 lead with less than 10 minutes left in regulation.
Simon Gagne ruined Marc-Andre Fleury
’s shutout bid with a late man-advantage tally. Fleury finished with 26 saves as the Penguins cruised to a 1-0 series lead. THREE STARS:
1. JORDAN STAAL
2. MARC-ANDRE FLEURY
3. SIDNEY CROSBY SUMMARY:
The second game of the series provided a much closer and dramatic affair. While the Pens won the first matchup handedly, the second was much more difficult to accomplish.
Pittsburgh found themselves in a 2-1 hole late in the third period as the Flyers threatened to even the series up. But the Pens power play came up with a clutch, game-saving goal in the final minutes.
With Jeff Carter in the penalty box, Malkin tipped in a Kris Letang
shot behind goalie Martin Biron to tie the game at 2-2 with just 3:37 to play in regulation.
The power play would come through again for Pittsburgh in the final minutes of overtime. Thanks to penalties to Mike Knuble (cross checking) and Claude Giroux (slashing) the Pens were on a two-man advantage with less than two minutes remaining in the extra frame.
The veteran Bill Guerin, who was acquired in a trade deadline deal, collected the puck at the side of the net. Guerin, who scored earlier in the game, sneaked a shot through the body of Biron to end the game. Pittsburgh’s 3-2 win gave them a home sweep and 2-0 edge in the series as the scene shifted to the eastern part of the state. THREE STARS:1.
BILL GUERIN 2. EVGENI MALKIN3.
MARTIN BIRON SUMMARY:
The Flyers had no intentions of lying down and handing the series to the Pens. They made that clear with a well played, hard-fought 6-3 triumph in Game 3 in Philadelphia to avoid a 3-0 series deficit.
Carter and Mike Richards scored in the first period to stake out a 2-0 Flyers lead. A Malkin goal with 12 seconds left in the first period and Rob Scuderi’s score 13 seconds into the middle frame evened the score at 2-2. But the Flyers took over from there.
Giroux, Gagne (shorthanded) and Jared Ross would score to mount a 5-2 for Philadelphia in the third period. Malkin scored for the second time in the game halfway through the final period to make things interesting, but Gagne added an empty-net goal to secure the win for Philadelphia. THREE STARS:
SIMON GAGNE3. EVGENI MALKIN SUMMARY:
The Flyers chance to even the series at 2-2 was stopped almost single-handedly by a man in white pads.
Fleury made 45 saves, including 18 in the third period, to help preserve a 3-1 win for the Pens that pushed the Flyers to the brink of elimination.
Crosby and Kennedy scored second-period goals to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 advantage. But the Flyers weren’t going down without a fight.
Philadelphia threw everything they could at the Pens netminder. Carter and Richards each finished with five shots each as only two Flyers didn’t record a shot. Daniel Carcillo scored with 8:22 left in the third period to make it a one-goal game.
It was a frantic finish as Fleury stood his ground, making save after save after save. With the pressure on, Fleury was at his best, frustrating the Flyers by denying their quality scoring chances.
The Pens were finally able to breathe after Max Talbot scored an empty-net goal with less than a minute remaining in the game.
As the series shifted back to Pittsburgh, the Pens had a chance wrap it up at home. 1. MARC-ANDRE FLEURY
2. TYLER KENNEDY
MIKE RICHARDS SUMMARY:
Fleury shined in Game 4, but it was Biron who was the dominant force in Game 5.
The Flyers goaltender made 28 saves to shutout the Pens as Philadelphia avoided elimination with a 3-0 win in Pittsburgh.
A pair of goals from Asham and Giroux gave the Flyers a 2-0 early in the third period. The Pens efforts to cut into the lead were thwarted by a spectacular performance from Biron.
Knuble sealed the game with a goal with 6:48 to go in the game as the series shifted back to Philadelphia and extended for at least one more game. THREE STARS:
MIKE KNUBLE SUMMARY:
The Pens and Flyers played one of the most dramatic and memorable games in the history of the heated rivalry in Game 6 in Philadelphia.
The Pens hopes of jumping on the Flyers early and bouncing them from the playoffs met considerable resistance. Knuble and Joffrey Lupul scored a pair of goals late in the first period.
Danny Briere tallied 4:06 into the second period to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead and it looked like the series was going to go the distance for seven games. However, in the 29 seconds after Briere’s goal the entire game’s momentum, and ultimately the series, took a seismic shift in favor of Pittsburgh.
Fifteen seconds after Briere scored, Talbot dropped the gloves with Carcillo in a brawl that fired up both benches. After the battle, Talbot got back to his feet with the Philadelphia crowd roaring. In what has become the signature gesture of the series, Talbot held his finger to his lips to ‘shhh’ the crowd.
Just 14 seconds after Talbot-Carcillo, Ruslan Fedotenko found a loose puck in the crease and jammed it home to make it a 3-1 game. Less than two minutes later, Eaton would tally to make it a one-goal game. The captain stepped up after that. With 3:01 remaining in the middle frame, Crosby evened the game with his third goal of the contest, 3-3, in front of a shocked Philadelphia crowd.
Two minutes after the puck dropped to start the final period, Sergei Gonchar ripped a slap shot from the point that eluded Biron to give the Pens a lead.
The Pens clamped down defensively after gaining the lead. Pittsburgh held the Flyers to just five shots in the third period with their season on the line. Fleury easily turned aside each shot.
The game, and series, was clinched when Crosby, of course, scored into an empty net for Pittsburgh’s fifth unanswered to goal. The Pens triumphed, 5-3, and Philadelphia’s season came to an end.
After the ceremonial handshake, the Pens would go on to top the Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings en route to the franchise’s third Stanley Cup championship. THREE STARS:
1. EVGENI MALKIN