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Trying to figure out which team would end up being the Philadelphia Flyers' next opponent in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs has been something of a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma (with thanks for the use of the quote to Joe Pesci and Oliver Stone).
If nothing else, it's been an incredibly exciting time for hockey fans with three Game 7's over the course of two nights to set the second-round matchups in the Eastern Conference.
With any of six possible teams still a possibility prior to the Washington-Boston affair, two potential opponents were eliminated from the mix with the Caps' triumph -- obviously, the Bruins, but also the New York Rangers. To say that this is a huge hurdle for Flyers Nation at this point in time -- Philly ended up 0-6-0 against the Rangers during the regular season -- could be an understatement.
By virtue of Washington's seventh postseason seed, if the Rangers defeat the Ottawa Senators tonight, the Capitals will open round two at Madison Square Garden.
The Flyers eventual counterparts for the East Semis is still up for grabs, and there are still quite a few different scenarios which can occur. It all seems very complicated, but it's actually just a matter of re-seeding the remaining teams based on their regular season finishes:
The Rangers-Senators begin at 7:00 ET and Panthers-Devils at 8:30 ET, obviously with the start times staggered so interested observers can get a good look at both contests.
Barring any lengthy delays or multiple overtimes, the Flyers should know the identity of their Round 2 opponents somewhere around 11:00 ET.
Bring it on!
Just as things played out fairly well during their 2010 run to the Stanley Cup Finals, the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs could be shaping up rather nicely for the Philadelphia Flyers.
With all three of the other series still ongoing, potential upsets are the flavor of the early going. As such, the possibilities for Philadelphia's second round matchup are fairly broad at this point, with all six of the remaining teams in the East all in the mix:
Some looked at Philadelphia's first-round matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins as something of a curse. By finishing fifth overall in the East, the Flyers got one of the toughest teams in the entire league as their opening round dance partner.
Although haunted by their arch-rivals from Pittsburgh pretty much since Sidney Crosby entered the NHL -- including losing to the Pens in playoff meetings in 2008 and 2009 -- the Flyers haven't had nearly as much trouble with the Pens over the course of the past two seasons.
Philadelphia finished the six-game regular season set with a 4-2 record, with a 2-1 mark both home and away. Their play at the CONSOL Energy Center has been nothing short of tremendous, as they won all seven meetings in Steel City until the last game of the season, when Peter Laviolette rested Claude Giroux and Ilya Bryzgalov because the contest meant nothing in the standings.
The fourth-ranked Penguins had a late season head of steam, sporting an 11-game winning streak in March, which was snapped by the Flyers. With the come-from-behind nature of most of Philly's victories over the Penguins in their spring matchups, the Flyers no doubt had a brimming confidence heading into round one.
That positive energy was intensified with two improbable comebacks in Games 1 and 2 in Pittsburgh, on the way to a sometimes wild six-game series triumph in one of the more memorable NHL series in the last couple of years..
The victory over the Pens is somewhat reminiscent of their 2010 first round win against New Jersey. Philadelphia seemed to own the Devils during the year, then continued that momentum with a 4-1 defeat of NJ in the first round.
While the Flyers mounted a comeback for the ages against Boston in the conference semifinals, overcoming an 0-3 deficit to take the series in seven, two of Philadelphia's tougher opponents -- the Capitals and Penguins, both of whom the club had struggled with during the regular season -- were each knocked out by Jaroslav Halak and the upstart Montreal Canadiens.
Having dodged Washington and Pittsburgh, Philly blew through the Habs in five hard-fought tilts to head to their first Cup final appearance since 1997, before eventually losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six.
In what has been a very strange opening couple of weeks to the 2012 postseason, and although the club has a growing confidence that they can beat anyone in the league at the moment, the cards may once again be falling into place for a deep Philadelphia playoff run.
For a list of the Flyers potential second round opponents, click here for all of the possible scenarios.
The Flyers await a second round match-up in the Eastern Conference Semifinals are taking care of the Penguins in six games.
Star forward Claude Giroux set the tempo early by hitting and scoring 32 seconds into Sunday's Game 6 contest, and the rest of the Philadelphia Flyers followed suit. Four different Flyer players netted goals and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov out-played Marc-Andre Fleury in a 5-1 victory, which ended the best-of-seven series between the two hated rivals.
The victory helped the Flyers close out the series in just six games, and advanced Philly into the Eastern Conference semifinals where they will play an unknown opponent. If the second round of the playoffs were to start on Monday, the No. 4-seeded Flyers would play the No. 7 Washington Capitals, who own a 3-2 series lead over No. 2 Boston Bruins.
Giroux finished the contest with a goal and an assists, both coming in the first period -- the latter setting a Flyers' franchise record with 13 points in a postseason series -- that ended with Philly ahead 2-0. The Flyers added two more goals -- the first by Erik Gustafsson, the second from Danny Briere -- in the second period to take a 4-1 margin heading into the third period.
In the final 20 minutes, the Flyers used solid defense and relied on Bryzgalov, who finished with 30 saves, to close out the win. Brayden Schenn scored an empty-net goal with eight seconds remaining and set the Philadelphia crowd into a frenzy.
Flyers right-winger Jakub Voracek tallied two assists in the contest.
Don't forget that all of your Flyers news and information can be found at Broad Street Hockey. Penguins fans can find everything they need at Pensburgh. And don't miss SB Nation's Stanley Cup Playoff coverage at its hockey hubpage.
The Philadelphia Flyers used goals by Erik Gustafsson and Danny Briere, respectively, to help pad their Game 6 advantage over the Pittsburgh Penguins to 4-1, as the contest has reached its second intermission. The Penguins, who down in the best-of-seven series 3-2 and could be eliminated with a Flyers victory, also tallied a goal in the second period, but they're still getting out-played at the Wells Fargo Center.
After taking it to Pittsburgh in the first 20 minutes, Philly increased its lead from two goals to three when Gustafsson scored 5 minutes, 25 seconds into the second period.
About three minutes later, the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin scored to trim the margin to 3-1 and build some momentum for Pittsburgh. However, just 34 seconds later, the Flyers' Briere pushed the lead back to three goals with a score at the 9:08 mark.
Flyers right-winger Jakub Voracek has tallied two assists in the contest.
Don't forget that all of your Flyers news and information can be found at Broad Street Hockey. Penguins fans can find everything they need at Pensburgh. And don't miss SB Nation's Stanley Cup Playoff coverage at its hockey hubpage.
Wanting to set an early tempo that will hopefully help them close out rival Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday, the Philadelphia Flyers have done just that in the first period of Game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center. Star forward Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell both scored goals in the first 20 minutes to help their team earn a 2-0 advantage.
Giroux's goal, his sixth of the series, came just 32 seconds into the contest and was the Flyers first even-man goal in two games. Giroux wasn't done there, however, as he collected his 13th point of the series (a franchise record) by assisting on Hartnell's tally, which came during a power-play with about seven minutes to play. The score marked the Flyers' 12th extra-man goal of this series, which also sets a franchise record.
The Flyers, who lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 and can close out the Penguins with a victory, out-shot (10-9) and simply out-played Pittsburgh in the first period.
Don't forget that all of your Flyers news and information can be found at Broad Street Hockey. Penguins fans can find everything they need at Pensburgh. And don't miss SB Nation's Stanley Cup Playoff coverage at its hockey hubpage.
Game 6 of the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins series is expected to be intense and feature a lot of action, well, the first few seconds of the contest has set an amazing tempo. Just 32 seconds into the contest, Flyers' star forward Claude Giroux leveled Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby near center ice and then scored Philadelphia's first even-strength goal in two games that helped his team earn an early 1-0 advantage.
Giroux 's score, his sixth of this best-of-seven series, came seconds after he put a very solid hit on Crosby at center ice.
The Flyers, who started the series with a 3-0 advantage, are trying to close out the best-of-seven series as they now lead 3-2.
The most obvious is Pittsburgh's quest to win their third consecutive game to even the series at 3-3, and force an improbable Game 7 on Tuesday night back in the Steel City.
But the Flyers also have some work to do at evening things up.
On the other side of the ledger, Philadelphia's play at even strength has been extremely lacking, as they have not scored a goal other than on the power play in almost seven full periods of hockey. The last was when Claude Giroux scored at the 27 second mark of Game 3 last Sunday afternoon, with the six markers coming since that time being via the man advantage.
That's 139:33 of game time that the Orange-and-Black have not scored while skating at even manpower.
The Penguins have outscored Philly by an 8-0 count while at even strength since Giroux's Game 3 goal, and it's something that has to change if the Flyers have any realistic hopes of closing out their cross-state rivals in this series.
As a matter of fact, 14 of the 25 goals Philadelphia has scored in the series have been from their special teams units. That is a whopping 56% of the Flyers offense coming by special teams. The team has been successful on 11-20 power play attempts -- a torrid 55% -- while also potting three shorthanded tallies -- one from Giroux, and two from ex-Penguin Maxime Talbot.
Whichever club finds success in Game 6, chances are they were able to "even things up".
The Philadelphia Flyers have already had two chances to close out inter-state rival the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they will get a third shot Sunday, when the Flyers host the Pens' in Game 6 of a first-round, Stanley Cup Playoff contest at the Wells Fargo Center (12 p.m. ET on NBC).
After blowing out Pittsburgh in Game 3, 8-4, and taking a 3-0 series lead, Philadelphia has struggled to close out the No. 4 seeded Pen's, who earned a dominating 10-3 victory in Game 4 and won by a slim 3-2 margin in Saturday's Game 5.
In the last two games, Pittsburgh has out-scored Philadelphia 8-0 in even-man situations, and their goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has played much better than in the first three games. The Flyers will also need to stop Jordan Staal, who's scored six goals in the past three games.
Here's the game's basic viewing and listening information:
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
Game Time: 12 p.m. ET
TV Listing: NBC
Marc-Andre Fleury blocked 24 shots in the lowest scoring game of the Penguins vs. Flyers series, for a final score of a 3-2 victory for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The result all came down to goaltending, and Pittsburgh's netmidner managed to out duel Philadelphia's Ilya Bryzgalov.
Fleury survived a Flyer power play in the middle of the third period, and continued making astounding saves as the game drew to a close.
Bryzgalov stopped 20 of 23 shots, a total that might have been fine in another of the series' games but wasn't enough Friday night. Matt Carle and Scott Hartnell scored for Philadelphia, while Tyler Kennedy, Jordan Staal and Steve Sullivan did the scoring for Pittsburgh. The game had its fair share of penalties; the Flyers took 3 penalties for 6 minutes total and the Pens had 4 for 8 minutes. Despite that, things remained largely in the control of the officials the whole way through. Philadelphia played hard and had a number of good chances, but in the end their last line of defense gave way one time more than did Pittsburgh's. Needless to say, some of the Flyers weren't pleased about the outcome.
We'll see if that anger translates into a victory in game 6.
The Philadelphia Flyers entered the second period with a one goal lead, but by the time the horn sounded things had been reversed. The Penguins scored twice in the second, taking a three to two lead into the locker room. After both teams gave up goals on power plays in the first period, the Flyers settled down a bit and killed an early penalty. The Penguins didn't need a man advantage, though, as this shot from Jordan Staal showed:
A little more than three minutes later Tyler Kennedy did his part, taking an assist from Staal and putting it in the net:
It's a bit tough to tell if he was excited about scoring, though.
The remainder of the period was quieter, although the Penguins did have to kill a late penalty on Evgeni Malkin, who got two minutes for interference. They were able to prevent the Flyers from capitalizing, leaving them two-for-four on the penalty kill so far. The Flyers know they can put the Penguins away with two goals, which in this series hasn't been that tough to come by. Expect the third period to have plenty of action.
Check in with this story stream throughout and after the game. Don't forget that all of your Flyers news and information can be found at Broad Street Hockey. Penguins fans can find everything they need at Pensburgh. And don't miss SB Nation on YouTube:
The Flyers head to the locker room after the first period leading the Penguins 2-1, but given the way this series has developed they can't be too comfortable with such a slim lead. Matt Carle struck first for the Flyers, getting one past Marc-Andre Fleury 11:45 into the game:
Steve Sullivan evened things up for the Penguins a little more than three minutes later:
Scott Hartnell would bring the Flyers back into the lead at 17:35, putting one in the net:
That's only three goals total so far, so if history is any indication we can expect the next two periods to contain a few dozen scores each. Things have calmed down a bit from the madness that was on display earlier, but that doesn't mean anyone has gone soft. Their aim could use some improvement, though:
This has been a series that's more fun than it is top-shelf hockey, and that doesn't look to change tonight. The Flyers would love to put their cross-state rivals away, and the Penguins are desperate to survive. Stay tuned to this story stream for more videos and .gifs.
Check in with this story stream throughout and after the game. Don't forget that all of your Flyers news and information can be found at Broad Street Hockey. Penguins fans can find everything they need at Pensburgh.
The Philadelphia Flyers will be without Nicklas Grossmann during Friday night's Game 5 after the defenseman suffered a concussion in Philadelphia's 10-3 Game 4 loss on Wednesday.
Coach Peter Laviolette said Grossmann, who is out indefinitely and did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh, will be replaced by Erik Gustafsson.
Ilya Bryzgalov is a game-time decision.
The Flyers will look to close out the Penguins Friday after squandering their first opportunity to do so on Wednesday. Pittsburgh will be without defenseman Paul Martin, out with an undisclosed injury since Game 2.
Friday, Apr 20, 2012, 7:30 PM EDT
CONSOL Energy Center
posted by Jordan Sams about 2 hours ago
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According to Howard Eskin, Ilya Bryzgalov could miss Friday's game with a hip injury.
got some flyers injury news. I'm told Bryzgalov has hip injury. Game time decision. JVR cleared to play. And nick grossman not likely to pl— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) April 19, 2012
If Bryzgalov is unable to play, Sergei Bobrovsky will man the net for the Flyers, who – like Bryz – allowed five goals in the Penguins 10-goal barrage on Wednesday. However; Travis Hughes from Broad Street Hockey is still confident in Bobrovsky's abilities.
Bob historically has unreal numbers against the Penguins and at Consol Energy Center in general, and Bob is a capable goaltender. There's certainly drop off from Bryzgalov, but a healthy Bobrovsky is better than the Bryzgalov we saw last night any day of the week.
The Flyers look to finish off the Penguins on Friday and advance to the second round.
The Philadelphia Flyers have played the past 23 games without forward James van Riemsdyk, who has been out with a fractured bone in his left foot. Van Riemsdyk led all Flyers with 7 goals in last season's playoffs but has missed all but 43 games this season with various injuries.
Van Riemsdyk could be back for Game Five on Friday. The Flyers led the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-1. Van Riemsdyk has been skating with the Flyers in each of the past four days. On Thursday, he skated on a line with Jakub Voracek and Matt Read (via Philly.com).
There has been plenty of scoring so far in the series. Having van Riemsdyk back in the lineup might be what Philadelphia needs to rebound after getting mauled, 10-3, in Game Four on Wednesday with a chance to sweep the series.
Whether or not he returns in Game Five, van Riemsdyk is ready to get back on the ice in a game situation.
"It's always a fun time of year to play and it sucks to watch from the sidelines," van Riemsdyk said. "I've always prided myself growing up in playing in these pressure-type games. Last year, I was given an opportunity to play a lot and I just ran with it."
"Yeah, we gave them a little life. But at the same time, we're still up 3-1. We're aware of that and I think we just have to shut the door down in Pittsburgh. We've been successful in Pittsburgh, so hopefully we can keep it like that," Claude Giroux said.
Added Jaromir Jagr, "We're going to find out what kind of team we are. If we are a good team like we think we are, we need to respond next game, play a lot better game and play good on the road like we did all year long."
For more from the Flyers, check the video below:
With a chance to sweep the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night in the first round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers instead took an uppercut directly to the chin. The Flyers fell 10-3, allowing five unanswered goals in the second period alone.
"We lost 10-3 in front of our fans. Obviously we're embarrassed. Our fans didn't deserve that, obviously we apologize to our fans, but I'll tell you one thing: It's not going to happen again," Claude Giroux said as featured in a CSN-Philly video.
Added Kimmo Timonen, "It's embarrassing, but there's a lesson to be learned. Every game matters. There are no easy games in the playoffs, and I thought maybe we thought it was going to be easy. But it's not easy. There's a lesson to be learned."
Sometimes no matter how cautious a coach and players are in their interviews, motivation for the opposition is still provided from other sources. Such was the case Wednesday, as this already-strange series traveled to the Land of Oz.
It was perhaps a small miracle that the Pittsburgh Penguins scored only one more goal in the third period on Wednesday night. Then again, after scoring nine goals in the first two frames, how much more could they really add that would make a difference? Pittsburgh beat the Philadelphia Flyers by a final score of 10-3, keeping their series alive for at least another game.
Evgeni Malkin scored the Pens' final goal. It was his second of the night. He finished the evening with three points. Jordan Staal had a hat trick, scoring once in the first and twice in the second, on just three shots on goal.
Tensions boiled over in the third period. Four players, two from each team, earned 10-minute misconduct penalties. The league office, already under fire for its handling of playoff pugilists, will surely have its hands full again after this game.
Philadelphia leads the series 3-1, after coming up eight goals short in their attempt to close it out on Wednesday. The two teams pick it up again in Pittsburgh on Friday night.
So much for the Philadelphia Flyers closing out their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. The Penguins scored five goals in the second period to jump out to a 9-3 lead. The Flyers still have 20 minutes to catch up, but that will require tightening things on defense and in net, which seems like an impossible task at this point.
Jordan Staal completed the hat trick with two goals in the second period, including a late power play goal to end the Pens' scoring outburst. Pascal Dupris, Kris Letang, and Steve Sullivan also scored in the second.
Philadelphia failed to score at all in the second period, but it would have been hard to find the time with Ottawa keeping their side of the ice occupied.
Ilya Bryzgalov was pulled after allowing his fifth goal, the first of the period. Backup Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 13 shots working in relief. Marc Andre Fleury stopped all nine Flyers' shots.
Flyers fans could do nothing but smile.
Goals were not hard to come by in the first period of Game 4 between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, neither were penalties. Philadelphia scored three times with the man advantage, compared to just one for their cross-state rivals, but it did not matter, at least not in the first period. The Penguins took a 4-3 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes of play.
Claude Giroux put the Flyers on top with a power play goal less than two minutes into the game. Evgeni Malkin evened the score two minutes later with the first of his two goals in the period. The two teams combined for four goals in the last five minutes of the period. Pittsburgh tied it on Malkin's second goal, and Jordan Staal gave them the lead with two and a half minutes to play.
Goaltending, or lack thereof, was the real story, as you can see from Ilya Bryzgalov's confusion on Staal's goal.
The Flyers' goalie stopped 11 of 15 shots. Marc Andre Fleury turned away eight of 11.
The Flyers and Penguins will get together once again at the Wells Fargo Center for Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
The Penguins put on one of the dirtier performances you will ever see in their game 3 matchup with the Flyers. In the wake of the dirty hits, cheap shots & fights, the Pens have now had three players suspended in the aftermath of the game.
James Neal, a 40 goal scorer, will be the most significant loss as he's been suspended for one game following his two dirty hits against Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. He left his feet to hit Couturier, who didn't even have the puck, and elbowed Giroux in the head. To see both hits, check out our post on the dirty play by the Pens. Brendan Shanahan explains his reasoning behind the Neal suspension here.
It is somewhat of a surprise to see Neal get only one game for two bad hits and given that he's a repeat offender, but the Pens are facing elimination, so this suspension just might mean the end of his season. Still, the fact that Claude Giroux just got lucky enough to not get a concussion here means that the hit wasn't as bad? Doesn't make a lot of sense.
Aaron Asham has been suspended for four games in what must have been the easiest decision Brendan Shanahan had to make. Asham is a kind of a goon who blatantly tried to injure Brayden Schenn with a vicious cross check to the neck, then a sucker punch to the head as he lay injured on the ice. Shanahan explains this awful play in this video.
The Flyers will try to complete the sweep of the Penguins tonight at Wells Fargo Center.
Given the Penguins' blatantly dirty play in game 3 of their series against the Flyers, the expectation is that at least a couple of them will be suspended as a result. The first to be officially ruled out of game 4 is Craig Adams, who attacked Scott Hartnell from behind in the waning moments of the game and drew and instigator penalty for it.
An instigator penalty draws an automatic one game suspension if it is upheld. Adams' penalty was confirmed, which means he's out for game 4 and Pens coach Dan Bylsma has been hit with a $10,000 fine.
The Pens could also be without Aaron Asham and James Neal as both of those players will have hearings with the NHL tomorrow.
Pittsburgh forward James Neal will have hearings on Tuesday with the Department of Player Safety for two separate incidents in Sunday's Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Also, Pittsburgh forward Arron Asham has been offered an in-person hearing Tuesday morning for his match penalty for cross-checking Brayden Schenn at 14:15 of the first period. Asham received a match penalty on the hit. Neal's hearings focus on the hit against Sean Couturier in the third period, as well as the charging penalty he received for a hit on Claude Giroux later in the period. Neal was not penalized on the Couturier hit.
Usually in person hearings are reserved for the worst offenders and come with the big suspensions, so Asham is very likely done for the series. That said, Asham isn't really a loss for the Pens. James Neal would be.
Neal has been summoned to NHL headquarters, but he will have to answer for two separate incidents. Given that he's a key player and its the playoffs, you could see how the NHL might try to weasel out of disciplining him for one, but its hard to see how he gets off scot free for two illegal hits in as many shifts.
A trio of first-year Flyers are making their respective marks as each has stepped up their play in their initial NHL postseasons, helping Philly to a 3-0 series lead over the Penguins.
It started well before the puck was dropped for the opening faceoff of their Game 3 tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The roar was at times almost deafening, and continued throughout what proved to be an extremely long and entertaining Sunday afternoon in South Philly.
They are the Philadelphia Flyers seventh man -- the Wells Fargo Center crowd, all 20,092 of them, or roughly 103% capacity -- and they were a definite factor in the way Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals played out.
After the Flyers took both games in Pittsburgh to snatch home ice advantage away from the Pens, the prevailing thought was this could be one of those series where the road team wins the majority of games.
With the victory, it doesn't look that way anymore. It was almost as if the Penguins were swallowed up by the cresting sea of orange, as they were enveloped from the opening moments of the afternoon.
The outpouring of love for their team was well-deserved, as the comeback performances in Games 1 & 2 in Pittsburgh fueled the frenzied applause.
The reverberations began before the Orange-and-Black took to the ice for the pre-game warmups, and hit a fevered crescendo as anthemist Lauren Hart and the late Flyers' good luck charm Kate Smith (via video) sang an emotion-provoking version of "God Bless America".
"That was amazing", said Philadelphia forward Danny Briere, who scored two goals in the wild 8-4 Flyers' victory. "I think everyone in here got fired up so much. They were loud and ready to go right from the warm up. The atmosphere was electric out there. It got us going there early on."
"Our fans are great," beamed Brayden Schenn after his first playoff game in Philadelphia. "They were great all day. Even in warmups they had the 'Let's Go Flyers' chants. They were ready. Anytime you get the hometown fans on your side, with that much energy in the building, it's awesome."
While the rousing, game-long ovation made a huge difference for the Flyers, those visiting also took note.
Rob Rossi, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, sent this into cyberspace via Twitter early during the contest:
Rob Rossi @RobRossi_Trib What an environment by #Flyers fans. If there is a Game 5 #pens fans should take notes
Coming from a Pittsburgh-area reporter, that is a tremendous amount of respect for the level of passion being shown for the home team in the City of Brotherly Love. Especially to go as far as to tell the fans back home they could learn a thing or two from their rival's supporters.
While the Flyers played better away from their home arena for much of the regular season -- 25-13-3 as opposed to 22-13-6 at Wells Fargo -- they looked pretty good in South Philly on Sunday afternoon. And in an afternoon game, no less! That was one of the most lethal combinations for the Flyers all year. An afternoon home game was like kryptonite for the Philadelphia players.
Still playing well and continuing to find success away from home, if they can consistently bring the kind of effort exhibited in Game 3, Philadelphia could be a force to be reckoned with the rest of the way in the NHL postseason dance.
With a healthy dose of help from the Flyers' faithful.
You can bet the Philly throngs will once again be in rare form for Game 4 on Wednesday night, providing their usual unbridled passion as their beloved Flyers go for an improbable sweep.
It was a meltdown of epic proportions.
There is no doubt the Pittsburgh Penguins felt they needed to establish a physical presence in Sunday afternoon's Game 3 at the Wells Fargo Center. But the day obviously went nothing like they had planned, as the Philadelphia Flyers took full advantage of the Pens' total and complete lack of composure in an 8-4 shellacking.
There were 158 penalty minutes in the game, and rather uncharacteristically, 89 of those went to the visitors. Five different Pittsburgh players ended the day with double-digit PIMs -- Kris Letang and Craig Adams each with 17, James Neal and Deryk Engelland each with 12, and Arron Asham with 10.
Dan Bylsma's squad has been very disciplined since he took over the team in February of 2009, and the ugly, selfish outbursts that ended up costing his club Sunday are the types of things that never seem to happen to the team from the 'Burgh.
The game, quite simply, was won on special teams. Incredibly, with the disparity in PIMs, the power play opportunities ended up even at six apiece, but it's what each team did with those chances that decided the contest. The Flyers scored three times with the man advantage, while their counterparts from the western side of Pennsylvania were successful just once -- while yielding a shorthanded marker to Maxime Talbot.
As a matter of fact, Talbot's shorthander came at a crucial time. Already trailing by a 1-0 score -- the third consecutive game in which Philadelphia fell behind early -- Jakub Voracek was called for a high-sticking minor less than two minutes after the Penguins' goal.
With a golden opportunity to go up by a pair, Pittsburgh instead began a pattern of self-destruction.
Claude Giroux broke out on a shorthanded rush with Talbot, and the ex-Penguin was able to swat the rebound of Giroux's shot toward the Pens' net. A Pittsburgh defenders got a partial stick onTalbot's shot, which seemed to put a crazy spin on the puck as it caromed toward Marc-Andre Fleury. As he went to glove the shot, it bounced between his left pad and mitt and squibbed across the goal line to tie the contest at 1-1.
As the shot entered the net, Matt Niskanen -- who was seeing action in his first game of the series -- was in the process of working Giroux over at the side of the net. The defenseman was whistled for an extra cross-checking minor in addition to the coincidental roughing minors, sending the Flyers to their first power play chance of the afternoon.
Another ex-Penguin would figure in the ensuing sequence, as Jaromir Jagr sent a pass to Scott Hartnell at the side of the net to Fleury's left. Fleury came out to take away Hartnell's angle and with nowhere to shoot the left winger sent a perfect cross-crease pass to Briere, who roofed a shot over Fleury's desperation dive to give Philly their first lead of the game at 2-1 at the 8:19 mark.
After Neal picked up a power play goal of his own midway through the second period to cut the Flyers' lead to 4-3, the man advantage unit struck again when Chris Kunitz took a tripping minor. This time, it was Jagr finding Matt Read in the left hash marks, and the rookie made no mistake in netting his second goal of the game to give Philly a two-goal lead at 5-3.
Philadelphia yielded a goal to Jordan Staal just over a minute later to make it a 5-4 contest, and as play entered the last minute of the middle frame, it appeared it would be a one-goal game heading into the third.
But defenseman Braydon Coburn had other ideas, finding Wayne Simmonds with a long home run pass to spring the winger for a breakaway. Simmonds went forehand-backhand and tucked it past Fleury with 46 seconds left in the stanza, giving Philly some much-needed breathing room at 6-4 heading into the third.
Brent Johnson replaced Fleury to start the third period, and it became apparent the Flyers were likely on their way to a 3-0 series lead after Giroux made it a 7-4 game in the first half minute.
After a wild melee broke out with 4:42 remaining in regulation -- which looked a lot like the Penguins attempting to vent some of their mounting series frustrations -- Talbot notched his second of the game on the resultant man advantage to set the game's final score.
Some of the carnage from Pittsburgh's game plan could have continued fallout, as suspension(s) could be forthcoming for several Pens.
The actions of all three players are the exact type of thing the NHL is preaching they are attempting to get rid of as they try to make the game safer for the players.
Shanahan came into his job guns a-blazing, handing out suspensions to players for their dirty actions on the ice, and it was viewed as a breath of fresh air as the consistency factor was something that had been horrific in the Colin Campbell-era preceding Shanny.
But that has since gone by the wayside, as Shanahan's calls on player accountability have looked like Campbell is standing behind a curtain and making the decisions himself, akin to the Great Oz.
"I saw that one," said Briere of the Neal hit on Couturier. "Frustration. It was the same thing he did on Claude (Giroux) after that. He is not the only one. For us, we can't worry about that. We can't control that. All we can control is ourselves, the way we stand up for each other, they way we stick together and at the same time the way we stay composed. I thought we did a really good job of that today."
"We have been talking about the whole series," said Kimmo Timonen on the issue of remaining disciplined. "We are not going to get any favors from the referees or league. We have to be the ones that stay disciplined. I thought we have been doing a pretty good job at it. Obviously, it looks like they are not."
And speaking of Crosby, Hartnell said "The Kid" has instigated much of the ugly stuff that has transpired after whistles.
"I think after every scrum we made it a point to walk away every time, and I think Crosby started almost every scrum," the mopped-haired winger said after the game. "You know, the fight that he had with Giroux, the last one he came and grabbed me from behind and for almost every thing he was out there. If they're trying to get under our skin, they're not. They're just getting more frustrated with themselves, which is great."
Indeed, the Flyers have done the better job of keeping it together throughout the series. And the club's special teams have made sure to make the Penguins pay for their undisciplined play.
In the past, we have seen games like these where the Flyers have come unglued sometimes too often. But today, it was the "NHL's model franchise" that fell to pieces.
It will be interesting to see if Bylsma can put them back together in time to recover and get themselves back into the series.
During an eventful game (on the scoreboard and in the penalty box) between the Flyers and the Penguins in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal on Sunday, a special video made an appearance during the third period: one featuring wrestler Hulk Hogan (the real one, unlike that Pittsburgh fan who dressed up as Hogan). The Hulkster was cheering on the Flyers, as you would expect at Wells Fargo Center.
Here's footage of players reacting to Hulk Hogan's video board message.
Here's a still image of Hulk Hogan ripping his shirt from the video:
And finally, here's the video message itself from Hogan (via Flyers).
The Flyers went on to win score another goal after the video played in a game they totally dominated, 8-4. There were 133 combined penalty minutes in the contest. The Flyers will take a 3-0 series lead and any remaining Hulkamania and Flyersmania momentum into Game Four.
After two periods of a game that had featured plenty of scoring, the Penguins pulled troubled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The first shot on Brent Johnson by Claude Giroux of the Flyers led to the same result as you can see below:
Maxime Talbot added the final goal (shorthanded) at the 17:14 mark of the game.
Overall, there were 12 combined goals and 133 penalty minutes. The referees lacked control throughout the game which allowed it to descent into chaos, and thus, all the penalty minutes when players decided to take matters into their own hands to protect their teammates or get their frustration out. There was a brawl in the third period:
It was a rough outing for goaltenders on both teams. Ilya Brzygalov allowed four goals on 35 shots. Fleury allowed six goals on 28 shots before he was pulled. Brent Johnson allowed a goal on the first shot against him and then made four saves before allowing a second goal. As for the scoring, Danny Briere had two goals and an assist for the Flyers. Matt Read and Maxime Talbot scored two goals as well. Jaromir Jagr had three assists. James Neal scored two goals and had an assist for the Penguins before being kicked out of the game in the third period.
The Flyers have history on their side going into game four of the series (and beyond, if necessary). Philadelphia is 17-0 all-time when leading a series 2-0.
After the teams combined for six goals in the first period, the scoring continued into the second period. The Flyers and Penguins each scored two goals in the second frame. The Penguins got goals from James Neal and Jordan Staal sandwiched around a goal from Matt Read for Philadelphia. Wayne Simmonds got the Flyers' two-goal lead back with this beauty of a power-play goal at the 19:14 mark of the period.
Pittsburgh kept Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes even after the Simmonds goal. Fleury has allowed six goals on 28 shots. Ilya Bryzagalov has had a similarly rough outing by allowing four goals on just 24 shots. One of the odder goals he allowed was this one which came after a save:
Through two periods, Danny Briere is leading the Flyers with two goals and one assist. Matt Read has two goals. Jaromir Jagr and Brayden Schenn each have two assists. James Neal has two goals and an assist for the Penguins while Jordan Staal has two goals.
Flyers vs Penguins was a hockey game at the start, but has seemingly devolved into more of an MMA battle. There have been a number of fights, vicious hits and even blatant cheap shots (from Arron Asham). Three guys have been kicked out of the game already.
And no one is safe. We even saw the rarest of sights, two superstars dropping the gloves to go at it. Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby had been jawing and wrestling with one another for most of the game, but in the video below you'll see that their frustrations just boiled over.
It did not stop there, however. Just a few minutes later, Flyers rookie Brayden Schenn delivered a devastating check that Penguins goon Arron Asham retaliated to with a blatant cheap shot cross check to Schenn's face. Asham was given a five-minute match penalty and quickly taken out of the game. It's hard to see how he'll play again in this series. It was a cowardly attempt to injure and an embarrassment to the game.
Schenn laid flat on the ice for several minutes and had to helped off in to the locker room. However, he appeared back on the bench before the end of the period and appears to be ok.
The Flyers lead 4-2 at the end of the first period.
As as has been the case all series long, the Penguins struck first in game 3 when Jordan Staal scored his first of the postseason. However, as has also been the case all series long, the Flyers fought back.
Claude Giroux, the postseason points leader, combined with Max Talbot for just an all out effort goal. This one was not about being pretty... Talbot just flat out outworked the Pens in front, but he also got some help from more poor goaltending on the part of Marc-Andre Fleury, who really has been shaky all series. By all accounts, he should have had this puck, but ended up looking pretty silly as he flings around and tosses his stick at it.
The second the goal went in though, the fireworks started. Literally everyone on the ice paired and started fighting. It's all out mayhem, it's playoff hockey and we love it.
The Flyers will look to take a 3-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
There are only so many times a team can dig itself into an early canyon-sized hole, then somehow fight its way out to come back and win a game.
Or so it would seem.
The Philadelphia Flyers have done exactly that on so many occasions now, it's really getting hard to keep track of the numbers anymore. They have failed to lead after the 10 minute-mark of the first period in 53 of the last 56. They've been down by two goals in 10 of the last 13.
What's even more crazy to think is this club has been able to come back and win a majority of those contests.
Friday night brought about more of the same from the Orange-and-Black as they fell behind the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 3-1 count at the end of the first period, only to storm back on the strength of hat tricks by both Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux in an incredible 8-5 victory to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.
By taking both games in the 'Burgh, the Flyers -- the NHL's best road team during the recently-completed regular season -- have completely wrestled away the home ice advantage that was owned by the Pens. They now head home to South Philly for Sunday's Game 3.
These two clubs have met four times -- all in Pittsburgh -- since the beginning of April, and the script has been almost exactly the same in three of the four contests. Starting with a wild April Fool's Day triumph -- that's right, the Flyers and Penguins have played on April Fool's Day AND a Friday the 13th, all within a two-week span -- Philadelphia erased a 2-0 deficit and beat Pittsburgh, 6-4.
Following a season-ending snoozer, a 4-2 loss in which Philadelphia rested both Giroux and Ilya Bryzgalov, the trend continued Wednesday night in Game 1 of the playoffs.
The Penguins held a 3-0 lead at the first intermission, only to see Danny Briere and Brayden Schenn tie the score at the end of regulation. Jakub Voracek ended that game early in overtime to give the Flyers a 1-0 series lead.
If you go back one more meeting between the teams -- March 18th in Philadelphia -- you'll find another Pens' blown two-goal lead, this time a 2-0 margin heading into the third period. The Flyers charged back to tie it up, then Scott Hartnell scored with just 0.9 seconds remaining in the extra period.
The home team again jumped out to an early lead Friday night shortly after the opening faceoff, this time just 15 seconds into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals when Sidney Crosby beat Bryzgalov. They then found themselves in the all-too-familiar 2-0 hole before the midway point of the opening frame when Chris Kunitz scored on a power play (Yes, the same Pens' power play that had been successful just once in their last 44 man advantage opportunities over the last nine postseason contests).
The importance of the glorious glove stop Bryzgalov made on Kris Letang during a Pittsburgh power play shortly after the Pens made it 2-0 to keep it at a two-goal deficit cannot be stressed enough. The goaltender absolutely came up huge in a very difficult situation, and though he gave up five goals, played well.
Some really interesting things happened after that to totally change the game around:
Another Peter Laviolette timeout -- this one after the first Kunitz goal in the first that gave the Pens a 2-0 lead worked magic for the team.
Ex-Penguin Maxime Talbot jammed home a Giroux rebound for a shorthanded goal, but Pittsburgh defenseman Paul Martin restored the Pens' two-goal lead with just 18 seconds remaining in the first to make it a 3-1 Penguins lead after one.
Giroux scored three times -- one on the power play on a beauty of a feed from Voracek, one shorthanded from Talbot, and an empty-netter with Marc-Andre Fleury pulled for an extra attacker late in regulation. Giroux also added three helpers to finish the night with six points, setting a new Flyers' mark (more on that later). He also was a +4 in the plus / minus ratings, and recorded 10 shots on goal.
Couturier also notched a hat trick, making it the first time ever two Flyers had scored thrice in the same playoff game. The last Flyers rookie to have a multi-goal playoff game was Andy Delmore, who had a hat trick on May 7, 2000 against Pittsburgh in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, a 6-3 Flyers win. The rookie has been matched up with Pens' superstar and likely NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin, and the kid has done a fantastic job shutting the top line down. Couturier not only ended with four points, he was a +4. He also showed a really unselfish side late in the game with Fleury pulled and an empty net staring at him with a chance to net number four on the night. Instead of shooting for the yawning cage, he dished off to Giroux, who netted his hattie goal. The number eight pick in last summer's draft, Couturier continues to impress. His goal with less than three seconds remaining in the second period knotted the game at 4-4 heading into the third period, then potted another crucial tally early in the third shortly after Tyler Kennedy had staked Pittsburgh to another lead.
Another ex-Pen, Jaromir Jagr, hasn't really been much of a factor in the series thus far. The 40-year-old did make a hefty contribution Friday, picking up a Pavel Kubina rebound, whipping around in the slot, and beating Fleury for the game-winner nearly midway through the third period.
Talbot finished with a goal and an assist and a +5 rating. Braydon Coburn picked up an assist and was a +4, while defenseman Nicklas Grossmann had an assist, was a +2, and blocked a game-high five shots.
Records Fall -- Both Good And Bad
There were some records that were set in the game. Let's get the bad one out of the way, especially since the it happened almost immediately after the opening faceoff:
Now, the good:
While it was a luxury to have come back from yet another big deficit to win, Laviolette has to know his team cannot continue to play catch up hockey and expect to advance. There has to be time playing with the lead, which Philly has not done. In Game 1, their first lead came when Voracek scored in overtime, and the first lead Friday was when Jagr scored with 10:47 left to play in the third. That means the Flyers have had the lead for a grand total of under 11 minutes during the entire series.
And they are up 2-0. Amazing.
Much the same as taking numerous penalties and having to constantly be on the penalty kill, having to come back each and every game takes a toll on your players. A better start is necessary so the club plays with the lead.
The Flyers cannot get too high with their two victories thus far. There is no doubting the two wins in Pittsburgh were huge, and the League's best team when playing away from their home rink will have to remember this is still likely to be a long series.
The Flyers have played much better on the road the whole season -- Philadelphia's all-time regular season and postseason record at the CONSOL Energy Center is now 7-1-0. But just because the next two contests are on Flyers' home ice does not mean this is a guaranteed sweep. Especially when Sunday's tilt is a 3:00 p.m. afternoon start. Philadelphia has been notoriously bad in afternoon games for most of the year, especially when played on home ice. The Flyers cannot relax even a little bit, or they will find themselves in a dog fight very quickly.
The Flyers are 17-0 in their history when leading a playoff series 2-0. Sounds like money, eh? Well just remember this -- Pittsburgh was a perfect 29-0-0 this year when leading by three goals, and that streak came to an abrupt end when the Flyers stormed back to take Game 1.
Nothing is "in the bag", nothing has been clinched. When Sunday rolls around, the Flyers will have to work their tails off to continue and build upon the momentum they have constructed in the first two contests. Just as was said after Game 1, there is still much work yet to be done.
Taking a Flyer: With his six points, Giroux jumped from 25th to 18th on the Flyers all-time playoff scoring list. He now has 16 goals and 28 points for 44 points in 42 career playoff games, which makes him (at this point) just the fifth Flyer to average more than a point-per-game in the playoffs over his career, joining Briere (31-30-61 in 59 games), Eric Lindros (24-33-57 in 50 games), Ken Linseman (11-42-53 in 41 games) and Peter Forsberg (4-4-8 in 6 games)....The last time the Flyers had a hat trick in a playoff game at all was May 2, 2004 by Keith Primeau in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs....Defenseman Kimmo Timonen had an assist and was a +3, while Kubina had an assist and was a +1. Rookie Eric Wellwood was a +2 and fellow freshman Matt Read was a +1, while Briere, Wayne Simmonds, and Schenn, and blue liner Andreas Lilja were all a -2.
For the second game in a row, the Flyers dug themselves out of a big early hole to come back and beat the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road in their first round NHL playoffs match. Rookie Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux both had tricks as the Flyers downed the Pens 8-5 in a wild affair that gives the Flyers a commanding 2-0 lead in the series as it now shifts to Philadelphia.
The Flyers finished the third period in a 3-1 hole and generally got outworked, out shot and outplayed. Peter Laviolette must have said something good in the locker room because they came out in the second on fire, making the period a mirror image of the first withe Flyers scoring three times to Pittsburgh's one. The teams headed into the third tied at 4.
The Penguins would strike first as Tyler Kennedy scored just 1:04 into the period. However, as they have all series, the Flyers would respond. 19 year old rookie Sean Couturier used a stunning individual effort to tie the game less than :20 later. You'll see in the video as he loses the faceoff, but simply steals the puck from the Pittsburgh defenseman, takes the puck in on net and scores.
After the youngest guy on the team had his moment of glory, it was the old man's turn. Perhaps fittingly, the game winner was scored by one of the greatest players to ever don a Penguins sweater, Jaromir Jagr. Only this time he was wearing Flyer orange. His turnaround shot here is a thing to behold.
Couturier would add another later in the period off a great feed from Giroux, then he would return the favor assisting on Giroux's empty netter. Both goals capped off hat tricks for each guy. Giroux set a Flyers franchise record with 6 points in the game.
The Flyers leave Pittsburgh having more or less shocked the hockey world with two wins on the road against the team who was favored to win the Eastern conference. They'll take a commanding 2-0 series lead back to Philadelphia. The Penguins now face the prospect of finding some way to get over two shocking home losses, both of which saw them blow big leads.
Game 3 happens Sunday afternoon at 3 at Wells Fargo Center.
After falling behind by a score of 3-1 in the first period, the Philadelphia Flyers battled back in the second period to tie the score at 4-4 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road in their playoff game two in Pittsburgh. The Flyers lead the series 1-0 and can have a major advantage over the Penguins if they win tonight as they head to Philly for the next two games in the first-round series.
Giroux scored the Flyers' next goal as well, this time while the Flyers were shorthanded at the 11:04 mark, evening the score at 3-3. Maxime Talbot was credited with the assist.
If the Flyers win tonight, they'll head back to Philadelphia with a 2-0 series win looking at two straight home games, which would be a major advantage when it comes to winning the series.
The No. 4 seeded Pittsburgh Penguins lead the No. 5 seeded Philadelphia Flyers by a score 3-1 after the first period of game two in their first round playoff series. The Flyers won the first game of the series by a score of 4-3 and after this game, the second to be played in Pittsburgh, the series moves back to Philadelphia.
And then, with less than 20 seconds left on the clock in the first period, the Penguins extended their lead to 3-1 on a Paul Martin goal. He was assisted by Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis.
If the Flyers can come back and win this game, they'd have a major advantage as the next two games are played on their home ice.
Kubina was a healthy scratch in game 1, but according to CSNPhilly, Kubina was a participant in today’s morning skate and looks on track to play. Bourdon was injured in game one and has been listed as day to day with an upper body injury.
Peter Laviolette says its just another case of the next man up and he doesn’t expect to make any major changes.
"We have a tremendous amount of faith in all of our players, regardless of who makes the lineup," Laviolette said. "Because one player comes out and one player goes in, we don’t change an identity. You may change the look of a power-play unit if you were to lose a player because you have to move things around a little bit. But the identity and the system and what’s worked for us for the entire year, I don’t believe that you go in and you blow that up and you change it just because you’ve lost a player."
Coming off an impressive comeback victory in game one of their best of seven series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Philadelphia Flyers will look to take a second straight road game on Friday, in the first round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs.
The Penguins jumped out to an early lead and led 3-0 after one period of play, but like they've done all season long, the Flyers roared back to tie the game, eventually winning in overtime. This marks the 21st time in 2011-12 that the Flyers have won a game when their opponent scores the first goal, including three games against the Penguins.
With the win, the Flyers stole home ice advantage, which is huge because the Penguins own the best home record in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers look to win their second straight against the Penguins in the first round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs.
When the Philadelphia Flyers fell behind 3-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a somewhat nightmarish first period Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, one had to wonder if the Pens' season-ending 4-2 win had finally reversed Pittsburgh's Philly Phobia at the CONSOL Energy Center. Sure, Peter Laviolette had rested leading-scorer Claude Giroux and starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov in that game, but Pittsburgh seemed to try and feed off their new-found home momentum.
The cross-state rivals from the East had won the first five meetings since the Penguins' unveiled their new state-of-the-art digs to begin the 2010-11 season. Anytime you can go 5-0-0 in an arch-rival's barn like the Flyers had done, it gives you a decided advantage. Especially when you have to open a playoff round in that very building.
But after the way the remainder of the night played out, it appears Pittsburgh is still wrestling with their confidence at home when the Orange-and-Black pay a visit.
After two Danny Briere goals and another from rookie Brayden Schenn incredibly tied the game after regulation, Jakub Voracek shocked the home crowd by knocking a loose puck from the slot past Marc-Andre Fleury just 2:23 into overtime to cap off a frenzied Philadelphia comeback. It's almost as if you could see the demons the Penguins have battled regarding the Flyers and CONSOL quickly began to dance in their heads again.
The situation really has to have become something of a mental block right now for Pittsburgh, much the same way it was in reverse order a few years back for the John Stevens-led Flyers. They bowed out to the Penguins in successive postseasons in 2008 and 2009, the last times these two teams met in the playoffs.
The Philadelphia win also squarely placed the pressure for Friday night's Game 2 on the Pens, who obviously do not want to head to South Philly for Sunday's meeting down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.
Some key observations from Game 1:
Looking ahead to Friday's Game 2, it's not an absolute must-win game for Pittsburgh, but it is very close. The Flyers proved against the Pens they could lose the first two games at home then come back to win a series during the 2000 Eastern Conference Semis. If you recall that one, Philadelphia managed a meager one goal in the two contests. The turning point came late in Game 2, when four of the Flyers on the ice -- Rick Tocchet, Craig Berube, Daymond Langkow, and Luke Richardson -- engaged the Penguins in a fight that would shift the momentum. The Flyers won the next two games in Pittsburgh (both in OT, including Keith Primeau's five-OT classic in Game 4), then took Games 5 and 6 to clinch the series.
If Philadelphia is able to grab a lead in Game 2, don't be surprised to see the Pens attempt a similar tactic.
This Penguins team is much deeper and better than that Flyers squad, and for anyone to think Philly locked up its ticket to the second round with one exciting come-from-behind victory is sadly mistaken. This looks like it could be a marathon series, and all Philadelphia has accomplished thus far is win the first leg.
There is still much work left to be done.
After the first period of play on Wednesday night's series opener, it looked like the Philadelphia Flyers were in trouble. The Pittsburgh Penguins jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead in the first, but the Flyers battled back to send it to overtime. Just over two minutes into the first overtime period, Jakub Voracek scored the game-winner.
In overtime, the puck rolled in front of the net. Two Penguins players failed to clear it, when Voracek swooped in from the side to push the puck in for the win, just one more act in a night of dramatics from the Flyers.
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov tightened up in the net after a rough first period, fending off an aggressive Penguins offense. He finished the game with 25 saves on 28 shots. Marc Andre Fleury turned away 22 of 26 in the loss.
The Flyers now lead the series 1-0. They play again in Pittsburgh on Friday night, before coming home for game three on Sunday.
Check out video of the game-winner.
Two goals from Danny Briere and a third to tie it from Brayden Schenn pulled the Philadelphia Flyers out of a deep hole, giving them a 3-3 tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins after three periods of regulation. The teams are headed to overtime.
Briere added his second goal nearly halfway through the third period. It was a long wrist shot assisted by Schenn. About three minutes later, on a power play, Schenn deflected a Scott Hartnell slapper to tie the game for the Flyers. They held on to keep it 3-3 and headed into overtime.
You can see videos for both third period goals below.
This is the first game of the opening series for the Flyers and the Penguins, one of three NHL playoff games happening on Wednesday night.
Danny Briere's second goal:
Brayden Schenn's game-tying goal:
The Philadelphia Flyers found themselves buried under a 3-0 deficit after one period in their opening game of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. The Flyers tightened their defense and closed the gap with a second period goal to make it a 3-1 game after two periods of play.
Danny Briere put the Flyers on the board with just over six minutes into the second period. Brayden Schenn fed Briere the puck as he sped into the Penguins zone on a breakaway. Briere put the puck in the net with a compact wristshot.
Pittsburgh still had the advantage on the attack, putting 10 shots on net to the Flyers' seven. Philadelphia also killed two Pittsburgh power plays in the second frame.
The Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins opened up the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs on Wednesday night, both teams chasing one of the most coveted trophies in professional sports. After one period of play, the Flyers are struggling, trailing the Penguins by a score of 3-0.
Sidney Crosby opened the scoring with a backhand less than four minutes into the game. Tyler Kennedy and Pascal Dupuis added goals to the total as well. Dupuis has a goal and an assist. Neither side incurred a penalty in the first 20 minutes of play.
Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov struggled in net, stopping 10 of 13 shots. Penguins goalie Marc Andre Fleury had a much easy time in the opening frame, turning away just six shots from the offensively challenged Flyers.
Here is the goal by Dupuis, who stunned Bryzalov with a shot from behind the net.
A look back at the Philadelphia Flyers' 2011-2012 regular season and a look ahead to the playoffs.
The Philadelphia Flyers got some good news ahead of their first round 2012 NHL Playoff matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins: Danny Briere and Nicklas Grossmann will be in the lineup for the Flyers (via SB Nation.com).
Briere was put on the injury list for a week following a hit from Pittsburgh's Joe Vitale on April 1. Vitale's hit after the game was out of reach started a brawl between the whole lines of players on the ice at the time. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was also involved in a shouting match with the Penguins' bench that brought him a fine from the league. Grossmann left the same game as Briere with a knee injury on a hit from Vitale.
Briere was fourth on the Flyers in points (49) during the regular season. Grossmann has appeared in 22 games and has six assists on the blue line for the Flyers after coming over from the Stars.
Bryzgalov played well and won a Stanley Cup as backup netminder in Anaheim, but his two springs in Phoenix each ended in first-round disappointment against Detroit. He has the opportunity to make his postseason mark as a starter in his first postseason as a Flyer.
The Flyers and Penguins are set to get the NHL Playoffs underway in the most anticipated series of the first round.
"I'm not afraid of anything," he noted recently, before slightly changing his stance. "I'm afraid of bear, bear in the forest."
Though Bryzgalov did not address the media after Tuesday's practice, his teammates said they share his confidence entering the first round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs.
"Really confident," Max Talbot said as quoted by CSN Philly. "He's been one of the best goalies in the league in the month of March, and even in February. He's been more of a leader for a couple months now, and yes, I think everybody's been pretty confident."
"Ilya's focused," coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's ready to play. The ending to his year was a big part of why we were able to finish the month of March and April the way we did. He was strong in his work habits in practice and in games. I think he got comfortable with an environment. He really settled into a role and did a nice job for us down the stretch."
The latest installment of the "Keystone Klash" gets underway Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. For the Flyers and Penguins, it should be a series for the ages.
Philadelphia Flyers defender Nicklas Grossmann is expected to return when the team begins the 2012 NHL playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night, and center Danny Briere could very well join him.
Though Briere said he had been told not to discuss his injury status, he admitted to reporters on Monday that he has no limitations anymore and feels much better now than he did a week ago.
"To be honest, I'm not allowed to speak on any injuries or the roster or if I'm going to play or not," Briere said with a smile on Monday.
"All I can tell you is - and you saw it - I'm practicing and working to get ready. That's all I'm allowed to say at this point."
Briere missed the final three regular season games after being hit by Joe Vitale of the Penguins and suffering back spasms.
For a full look at the schedule, click here.
This will be the third time these two teams meet each other in the playoffs in the past five years, both times with the Penguins winning the series previously.
After a heated game just a short week ago, these two interstate rivals will be chomping at the bit to get this series underway. Out of all the first round series in the Eastern Conference, this easily is the most anticipated.
Pittsburgh comes in at full strength with Sidney Crosby finally playing on a consistent basis. The same can't be said for the Flyers who are still without James van Riemsdyk and of course Chris Pronger, who has been most of the season with post-concussion syndrome.
Philly won the season series 4-2, and will look to carry that momentum into the playoffs. The Penguins have been one of the league's hottest teams down the stretch.
Something has got to give.
The Philadelphia Flyers concluded their regular season Saturday with a disappointing loss to inter-state rival the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-2. However, for Flyers fans its time to shake it off -- you probably already have -- and focus on the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which begins Wednesday.
Oddly enough, the Flyers will play the Penguins in what should be a very intense first-round match-up, which features Pittsburgh with home-ice advantage. Over the course of the regular season, the Flyers defeated the Pen's in four of the six contest. Here's the schedule and TV coverage of the anticipated playoff series:
|Wednesday, April 11||7:30 p.m.||Flyers at Penguins||NBC Sports Network, TSN|
|Friday, April 13||7:30 p.m.||Flyers at Penguins||NBC Sports Network, TSN|
|Sunday, April 15||3 p.m.||Penguins at Flyers||NBC, TSN|
|Wednesday, April 18||7:30 p.m.||Penguins at Flyers||NBC Sports Network, TSN|
|*Friday, April 20||7:30 p.m.||Flyers at Penguins||NBC Sports Network, TSN|
|*Sunday, April 22||TBD||Pittsburgh at Philadelphia||TBD|
|*Tuesday, April 24||TBD||Flyers at Penguins||TBD|
No. 1-seed New York Rangers vs. No. 8 Ottawa Senators: The Sens' won the season series 3-1.
No. 2 Boston Bruins vs. No. 7 Washington Capitals: The Caps' were 3-1 against the Bruins in the regular season.
No. 3 Florida Panthers vs. No. 6 New Jersey Devils: The two teams split the season series 2-2
Here's a look at the Western Conference:
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