Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Round 1 Game 4: Pens v Flyers (W 3-1)

Here's something to get you in the right frame of mind for tonight's matchup. It's a shot of über-arse Scott Hartnell tripping our captain. I grabbed the original caption for you, too:

Philadelphia Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell, left, puts his stick in the path of Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, right, in the third period of a first-round NHL hockey playoff game Sunday, April 19, 2009, in Philadelphia. The Flyers won 6-3. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

First Period
According to Steigy, the Flyers were "trying to generate animosity against Sidney Crosby with a piece up on the JumboTron" prior to the start of the game. No word about what that piece contained. One can only imagine...

Siddo and Geno - a duo for whom we will soon be thinking of a new nickname - started (and ended) the period on the ice together. The crowd promptly responded with a chant of "CROSBY SUCKS!!" Carter hit the post behind Flower. Later, Timonen nailed Siddo into the boards. The crowd, of course, LOVED it and chimed in with another "CROSBY SUCKS!!" Tank took a shot that hit the outside of the cage and took a strange bounce. Biron had to double back to cover it. The Flyers nearly got the gift of a lifetime when Flower misplayed the puck and it went out to a Flyer, who (fortunately) wasn't paying attention. If he had been, he would have had a chance on a W-I-D-E open net.

Our 3rd line is unreal. They came out swinging and drew the night's first penalty. Impressively for both sides, it didn't come until nearly 7 minutes into the game! The crowd helped the Flyers start their penalty kill with a "CROSBY SUCKS!!" Eight seconds into it, Carter and Hartnell went for a shorty, but Carter lost his balance and began to fall - coincidentally, Tanger was in the process of giving Carter a shove as he fell, so he was nailed with a crosschecking penalty. Bibs was indignant. "That's not a penalty, folks!!" With 58 seconds left in the 4-on-4, Geno was called for hooking Gagne. Staalsy was a complete BEAST on the penalty kill. I take back any doubts I ever had about his being essential to the core of the team. When he needs to be, he is absolutely clutch. Neither team scored while their players were in the boxes.

After Flower made the save of a lifetime on Giroux, Biron had to make one of his own. Tank fired a shot that bounced up and over Biron and was trickling through the blue paint. Biron flopped back just in the nick of time to prevent the puck from crossing the goal line by mere millimeters. After a little bit of confusion about which player was penalized, Parent took a penalty for holding and taking Geno down. On the ensuing power play, the crowd decided to switch it up and chant, "REF, YOU SUCK!!" Syko threw one right across the goal mouth, but no dice. (He can't buy one right now for some reason!) They didn't score on their advantage. Then the crowd went back to "CROSBY SUCKS!!" Cookie was called for hooking, but the Flyers didn't score on their power play.

Second Period
Carter gave a shot to Cookie, who came back with a response that garnered him an interference penalty. Ordinarily, this would be bad. But not only did the Flyers not score, but when Cookie came out of the box, he set Siddo up for a goal. Sid went hard to net - so hard that he went into it. The goal may not have been pretty, but I thought it was the nicest play of the night to that point. ;) Just as they were getting ready to drop the puck, the Flyers decided they wanted the War Room to get involved. On the overhead replay, it would have been clear to Helen Keller that the puck went in off Sid's elbow or upper body area - not his foot. Therefore, the War Room had no choice but to do the right thing. The call on the ice stood. [Pens 1, Flyers 0]

BTW - I absolutely LOVE it when Siddo responds to his harshest critics with marks on the board!! >:)

It sent a shock through the Flyers (and their fans). Tank sent a pass to Syko that, had it connected, would have been a breakaway because the Flyers were caught sleeping at the wheel. Powe was called for hooking, but the Pens didn't score on this advantage. Then our awesome 3rd line finally struck gold. Cookie sent a beauty of a pass to TK, who promptly banged one home. [Pens 2, Flyers 0]

As shaky as Flower was in Game 3, he was THAT solid tonight. He made saves that Biron only wishes he could make. Flower robbed Briere with his pad, then had to make another great save on Lupul immediately following. But then the "dinosaur" (← Bibster's word, not mine) Knuble dove harder than Greg Louganis, which resulted in an interference penalty on Gill. No worries, though. The Flyers didn't score on their ill-gotten advantage.

But they got another power play when Gonch was called for tripping Hartnell. The crowd showed its approval with another "CROSBY SUCKS!!" although it was MARKEDLY more muted than prior chants were. On the penalty kill, Flower came out to play the puck. Richards used his skate on Flower's skate to trip him, but Flower still managed to make it back to his post as he fell to make a beauty of a save. If he hadn't have made the save, it wouldn't have mattered - Richards's jerkishness was seen by the officials. On the 4-on-4, Steigy mentioned the douchiness "sneakiness" of Richards as he relayed a story about how, during a scrum in the last game, Richards got his stick in between Siddo's legs and gave him a few whacks to the, um, Crosby Family Jewels. Of course, it went unseen by the refs. But then Bibster repeated what Steigy said in falsetto. Hilarious! (Though Sid might not think so...) Neither team scored while their players were in the boxes.

Flower made another beautiful save, and then another. Asham and TK each had good chances at either end of the ice. In the final 17.7 seconds of the period, Hartnell was nailed for interference on Gill. The Pens didn't score on their abbreviated advantage.

Third Period
Siddo rocketed a shot off the post, but the Pens didn't score on the rest of their power play, either. Tanger was whacked by (who else?) Richards and went down the runway in pain. A crowd of maybe 10 Flyers fans tried to get the "CROSBY SUCKS!!" chant going again, but to no avail. Steigy and Bibs gave a shout out to the PGH big screen crowd. :) Eaton was nailed for tripping. Flower made another unbelievable save on Timonen. Then a scrum erupted in front of the cage after Flower made yet another great save, Carle drove hard to net, ran over Flower, and put the puck into the goal. The crowd went bonkers when they realized that the ref had already blown the whistle after Flower's initial save. NO GOAL, no score on the Flyers' power play.

Flower lost his lid after Powe jumped on top of him. Play was whistled down and, curiously, the crowd booed a bit. (Uh, hello?! The officials are NOT going to let a goaltender play without a helmet. Come on now.) Carcillo tried and failed to sell a penalty on Scudsi, but TK was called for holding. On the penalty kill, Flower robbed Briere again. It was unreal. Cookie got away with a high stick on Carle. There was another feeble attempt to start a "CROSBY SUCKS!!" chant as the Flyers failed to score on their power play.

Then a sequence of unfortunate events led to a Flyers goal. Carcillo nearly scored, Geno helped Flower out with a save, Orpik knocked into Lupul, Lupul saw it as an opportunity to go into the Flower, Flower fell and was unable to get up to block Carcillo's second attempt. [Pens 2, Flyers 1] Play opened up and the crowd found hope which gave them new fire and much more passion for the "CROSBY SUCKS!!" chant. And then again, "CROSBY SUCKS!!"

Orpik took a high stick to his face from Knuble (no call). Pens fans held their collective breath for the next 5+ minutes. Then in the last 2 minutes, things got really crazy. Gonch pitched in to help his goalie with a heck of a clear from the blue paint to the corner. Scuds was a freaking BEAST and battled for possession against Hartnell after Hartnell crosschecked him HARD in the small of the back. The Flyers called for a timeout, and with 1:05 left in the game, they pulled Biron in favor of the extra attacker. At the 0:51.3 mark, Adams sent a beautiful, patient feed to Superstar Max, who then sent a looooooong shot into the back of the empty net. [Pens 3, Flyers 1]

The Flyers, for whatever reason, still opted to keep Biron out of the net. Adams had a chance to get an EN of his own, but Steigy and Bibs hypothesized that he didn't realize that Biron was out because he didn't take a shot. No matter - PENS WIN!!!

The series is now 3-1 in favor of our Boys, but remember - win number 4 is always the hardest win to get. Even so, I still say PENS IN 5!!! :D

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, thank you so much to all the Friends who offered support about my Gram. It means a lot.

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