“Hey mind if we come in and join the party, we brought a ten pack with us.”
“A ten pack?” (The guy who answered the door curiously looks at the group of guys)
“Alright let em’ in.”
I believe that in every series there is a point where a team backs away from the proverbial door and says “go ahead and slam it on us, we just want to go home”.
The Penguins gave the Flyers that chance in the first period of game four, but Ilya Bryzgalov wasn’t there to shut it. I hate to put the blame squarely on the shoulders on the goalie because it truly is the most difficult position in all of sports to play, but Bryz was beyond awful. He played hot potato with the puck and slid from post to post at the speed of a turtle crossing the road. He’s been very, very sloppy at times during this series (his save percentage coming into the game was a horrendous .866 when you consider that the average in the playoffs is around .920), but when he needed to make a big save he made it. The glove me sexy save and leg pad stop in game two gave Philadelphia the momentum to finish off Pittsburgh and take both of the road games to open the series.
After Bryzgalov gave up the fourth goal I yelled out, “get Bob in there!” Maybe he could conjure up some magic. Nope. He suffered the same fate as Bryzgalov (both gave up five goals on thirteen shots), I thought at one point that Laviolette was going to pull him and put in Michael Leighton who was in the building watching the game. I would rather see some big fat rebounds instead of pucks that look like they have a chance to fly through the back of the net.
I guess now would be a good time to mention that the Penguins scored TEN GOALS!, TEN! It’s hard to score ten goals in NHL 12, yet the Penguins had TEN goals with 16 minutes left in the third period. At one point I texted my friend saying that they’re going to put up 14. Crosby and co. don’t have a lick of respect for the Flyers, so what would be a better way to stick it to them then by running up the scoreboard in Philly. I really thought 15 was a realistic number. Seriously TEN GOALS!
I guess now would also be a good time to mention that the Penguins scored EIGHT STRAIGHT GOALS! EIGHT! The Flyers at one point in this game were up 3-2. They had all of the momentum after the Penguins took three poor penalties in a matter of 50 seconds. I really thought that Flurry was going to get pulled after Timonen and Vorachek scored 46 seconds apart. It was at that point that the Penguins handed the gun over to the Flyers. Instead of taking the dog out to pasture, they shot themselves in the foot.
I’ve already buried Bryzgalov enough so no need to mention how he HAD THE CHANCE TO CLOSE THE SERIES OUT, but here’s a running diary of the second period:
20:00: I’m thinking ok even though the Pens shouldn’t be up right now, the second period has been OWNED by the Flyers all season. Whenever they were down after the first it was ok because the second period would more likely than not tilt the game in their favor.
17:09: High sticking penalty on Giroux, sign of things to come.
16:53: Kris Letang scores on the first shot of the power play. It was almost a carbon copy of the second goal, except this time Bryzgalov is even lazier. It seriously looked like he was shell shocked and just wanted to get off of the ice. He must have saw a bear, or two, or three, or four, or five.
Here comes Bobrovsky, yes! The backup has come to save us.
Laviolette takes one of his patent timeout’s and yells at the team to play with more jam and get out his required “LET’S FUCKING GO!” at least six times.
14:28: Nickalus Grossman called for a trip. He would later leave the game and was diagnosed with the dreaded “upper body injury”. It was revealed later from CSN’s Tim Panacchio that there’s a good chance Grossman has a concussion and will miss game 5.
12:39: Jordan Staal converts the Grossman power play after the Flyers defense totally falls apart. Matt Read apparently forgot that Staal was on the ice.
11:47: Matt Carle gets sent to the box for a holding the stick penalty.
10:20: Matt Read gets two for roughing. Flyers are starting to unravel at this point
10:15: Steve Sullivan scores the third straight power play goal for the Penguins. 7-3, I started laughing to a point that I’m sure my roommate thought I just went crazy, he was right.
The Flyers defense just welcomed Sullivan into the zone and invited him to try taking a slap shot on Bob. It was like watching the people who run the dunk tank at a carnival. C’mon take a chance!
7:59: Hey finally a penalty on the Penguins (Richard Park tried to set a pick on Coburn, wrong sport Park), yes a power play is com…. a too many men on the ice penalty. Philly has come unraveled, they’re so anxious to get on the ice to try and come back that they’ve forgotten how to count.
5:01: Chris Kunitz with a great feed to Pascal Dupuis, 8-3. When you’ve scored four in a row it’s time to try a no look backwards pass. Bobrovsky moved his blocker arm to make the save, AFTER THE PUCK WAS ALREADY IN THE NET. Is there any way the pucks can be painted neon green before game five?
3:57: Jordan Staal gets his hat trick. I called my buddy Jeff to say remember when I gave up 11 in the intramural playoff game? Last year we played in an intramural roller hockey league at Rutgers, I was the goalie and I had some shining moments before getting torched for 11 goals on 15 shots in our first round playoff game. It was so bad that I wasn’t even pissed afterwards, I was just stunned that it actually happened.
3:17: Zac Rinaldo finally becomes the goon that he’s wanted to be all series. I’ll give Rinaldo credit, he held back from all of the skirmishes in game three, but at some point he was going to do something stupid and sure enough he did it. Taking a cheap penalty is fine, but punching/cross checking Sullivan in the face is just garbage.
In just over 16 minutes the Penguins totally flipped the script of this series. My buddy Kyle asked me how much momentum Pittsburgh had at this point. I told him 95%, the other 5% was because the Flyers have Claude Giroux. It just amazed me how coming into game four Philly had all of the momentum, even if they couldn’t bring out the brooms, they still were going to lock the door on the series, now it’s not so easy.
Getting nervous yet?
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