Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 5-4 victory against state rival Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.
*This was certainly the wildest and most entertaining game of the season for the Pens - for better and worse. No shortage of events to discuss. So let's get started.
*The Pens flipped a 2-0 first-period deficit into a 3-2 lead in less than a minute. Seriously. It took them 55 seconds to score three goals. Sidney Crosby scored the first two goals - the first a beauty from an impossible angle, the second finishing a sick tic-tac-toe setup on the power play. Matt Cullen capped the run with a nifty wraparound goal.
The last time the Pens scored three goals in less than 55 seconds was Jan. 3, 2008 vs. Toronto with three tallies in 48 seconds (credit: Elias Sports Bureau).
*But before pulling off their scoring explosion, the Pens surrendered the first two goals to Philadelphia. Most of Pittsburgh's issues originated in the neutral zone. The Pens couldn't get the puck through the stacked bodies of the Flyers, surrendering turnovers and as a result getting themselves trapped in their own zone for extended stretches. Though Pittsburgh corrected its execution, the early struggles resulted in them falling behind.
*The Flyers struck on the power play thanks to an incredible blue line keep by defenseman Radko Gudas. He always seems to play his best against the Pens. Gudas threw his body against the boards to stop the puck from clearing the zone, then got his glove on Olli Maatta's clearing attempt to maintain zone possession. The confusion allowed Claude Giroux to escape unaccounted for and tee off a one-timer for the score.
*Although Gudas' keep was a magnificent effort, the Pens challenged that right before the keep, the Flyers entered the zone offside. It appeared that Wayne Simmonds was close to lifting his back skate as Giroux entered the zone. But after a looooooooong review, the officials deemed it inconclusive. So the Flyers goal stood.
*Evgeni Malkin scored two goals for the Pens, including the game-winner. What was impressive about both tallies is that each was scored near the goal line from very difficult angles. But, of course, he made it look easy.
*We'll end on a congratulatory note for Malkin, whose winning score was also his 300th career NHL goal.
"It's a good number and against Philly, a big rivalry," Malkin said. "Very important we won tonight. It's a good number, but I know I have more."
"It's hard to score in this league. For him to score 300 goals is a credit to him and how good he is as a player," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "We're thrilled for him."