Ful-Phil-Ing Victory: Flyers Take 3-0 Series Lead, Chances of Upset Grow

Scott Abuso@@abusemeoCorrespondent IApril 15, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: Brayden Schenn #10 of the Philadelphia Flyers is held up by Paul Martin #7 of the Pittsburgh Penguins 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. The Flyers defeated the Penguins 8-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This afternoon, in what can only be described as an absolutely intense rivalry match-up, the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in brutal fashion.

This was a momentum-building win for the Flyers and a crushing defeat for the Penguins.  Pittsburgh entered the playoffs as Stanley Cup favorites. NHL Analysts praised their talent, lead by a healthy Crosby, and thought their series against the Flyers in the first round would be an easy win.

Now the Penguins and their fans sit in an 0-3 hole, facing the red-hot Flyers in their hometown of Philadelphia.

In the past two games, the Flyers have outscored the Penguins by a margin of 16-9. 

I'm not trying to say the Penguins are a terrible team; they're not. They're just going through a rough patch, but at the worst possible time. 

Both the Flyers and the Penguins are suffering through lousy performances by their goaltenders, but it seems the Penguins have gotten the worst of it.

As talented as the Penguins offense can be, it takes more than just talent to out-score an opponent who's netting eight goals a game; even with a lineup that includes two proven goal scorers in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

If I had to pick a turning point in this series, I'd say it was Game One. Pittsburgh was in front of their home crowd.  They grabbed a 3-0 lead early in the first, and they rode their egos through much of the game.  They felt they had proven their worth as Stanley Cup favorites. They later lost the lead, and were handed a loss via Jakub Voracek's OT winner.

Blowing a 3-goal lead and losing in overtime is devastating to any team. For the "Stanley Cup Favorites," in Game One on their home ice? It's flat-out depressing.

Pittsburgh was embarrassed in their own arena twice this series, and they have a huge hill to climb if they want to make it through the first round.  A hill that demands them to win the next four games in a row, two of which will be in the Flyer's own arena. My, how the mighty have fallen.

No doubt the Penguins are a talented group of players, and I don't think they should be counted out just yet, but the odds are certainly stacked heavily against them.