Stanley Cup Playoffs: Penguins vs. Flyers Is a Lesson in Attractive Chaos

Keegan McNallyCorrespondent IIApril 15, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers battle during the first period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 15, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

There are a total of eight series underway in the NHL, but none more attractive than the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. 

"Attractive" is the word of choice here for a couple of reasons. 

Simply put, these two teams have a history of making the other miserable. During the regular season, the Flyers seemed to be the only team capable of stopping the freight train that was the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Now, in the playoffs, the Flyers are putting the hope for another cup in Pittsburgh to bed. 

For the sole sake of ratings alone, this is the NHL's heaven. 

The Art Ross Trophy winner, Evgeni Malkin, and Sidney Crosby, the face of the Penguins, are in a no-holds-barred shootout with the Flyers. 

A total of 32 goals have been scored in only three games. Yes, you're reading that correctly. 

By comparison, the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals have played two full games and almost two full overtimes and have mustered four goals. Four. 

The save percentage for both goalies, Marc-Andre Fleury and Ilya Bryzgalov, are so bad that I don't even want to write them in this article. 

Players like Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier are dethroning Malkin and Crosby right before the eyes of fans. 

There is no other word to describe the play of the Penguins besides implosion.

Squandering away a 3-0 lead in Game 1, a 3-1 lead in Game 2 (along with numerous other leads), and a 1-0 lead in Game 3, the Penguins are imploding. The team that was selected to win the Stanley Cup by 10 of the 16 experts, are now in what appears to be an insurmountable 3-0 hole heading back into Philadelphia. 

But that's not all that's attractive here. 

Here are a couple of numbers that will make your jaw drop:

  • A total of 182 penalty minutes, including five fighting majors and one extremely violent match penalty by Arron Asham have been recorded. Sidney Crosby served five minutes for fighting in Game 3 while seven total players were ejected.
  • A total of nine powerplay goals have been scored by both teams. The man advantage is proving to be extremely effective.
  • Three short-handed goals have been scored in three games, all by the Flyers. 
  • Evgeni Malkin, the Art Ross Trophy winner and expected Hart Trophy winner, has zero goals.
  • Claude Giroux, who finished third in the points race, leads the NHL in playoff points with eight in three games, including one six point night in Game 2. 
  • A double hat-trick was recorded in Game 2 by Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier.

In short, it has been an absolute thrill-ride for fans of high scoring, venomous and snarl-filled hockey. 

The chant "You can't beat us!" by the Flyers faithful in Game 3 is fitting, as the Penguins simply cannot help getting creamed by the Flyers on a nightly basis. 

And for the NHL, this series is tip-toeing the line between exciting and dangerous.

If Games 1, 2 and 3 were any indication, Game 4 is going to be an all-out war between these two clubs.

The title of must watch television is rarely appointed to hockey games, but Game 4 will be more exciting than the season premiere of "Jersey Shore".