5 Greatest Moments in Pittsburgh Penguins-Philadelphia Flyers Rivalry
With both the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins in a tight race in their respective playoff series, the chance of them meeting in the second round is an exciting notion for fans across the league. The two Pennsylvania clubs have one of the bitterest rivalries not only in hockey, but also in all of sports.
The Flyers currently have the upper hand when it comes to the playoffs, winning four of the past six postseason meetings. The Pens, however, have one more Stanley Cup than their Metropolitan division rivals, with their most recent championship coming in 2009.
Both teams feature superb talent in every position on the ice, which will make for a grueling, cross-state battle for a shot at competing in the Eastern Conference Final.
Here are the five greatest moments from the Penguins-Flyers rivalry that will surely get you pumped for a potential second-round showdown.
1989 Patrick Division Final
1989 was the first year that the two interstate clubs met in a postseason series. Fans who were around to witness it remember a crazy finish that resulted in the Flyers advancing after seven games.
After the first three games were decided by a single goal, the final four were scoring extravaganzas. Game 5 saw the Penguins score 10 goals in their victory over the Flyers. It was also Mario Lemieux's second NHL game with five goals.
The Flyers would go on to take the series before they would get knocked out in the conference final by the Montreal Canadiens.
The first meeting was a heated one and was a precursor for the many more postseason battles that would come.
2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
In 2012, the Penguins finished the season with 108 points, five more than the Flyers that year.
This was the most recent meeting between the two in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the first time the rivals had met since 2009. Philly would go on to win the series in six games, but not after some wild, high scoring matchups.
In Game 3, the Flyers defeated the Penguins, 8-4, two nights after Philly won, 8-5, and three nights before they were defeated by Pittsburgh, 10-3.
Game 3 also saw a lot of pent-up frustration between the two teams after a first-period scrum ended up with captains Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux getting in each other’s faces while Kris Letang and Kimmo Timonen engaged in heavy fisticuffs.
After the Flyers handled the Penguins, they would go on to lose to the New Jersey Devils, 4-1, in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Giroux's 'The Shift'
In Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Giroux helped get the Wells Fargo Center crowd up and rowdy after laying a solid, clean hit on Crosby before sniping Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Giroux picked off Penguin Steve Sullivan’s clearing attempt before cutting across the slot to send a rocket over Fleury’s blocker-side shoulder to give his club the lead.
After Giroux scored, he mouthed an expletive before punching the glass, which still sends shivers of excitement down the spines of Flyers fans everywhere.
Giroux’s goal was the first of five for the Flyers that night as they closed out their fourth postseason series victory over the Penguins.
2008 Eastern Conference Final
The Pittsburgh Penguins made it to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since winning the hardware in 1992 after completely decimating the Flyers in the 2008 Eastern Conference Final four games to one.
This was the Penguins' first playoff series victory over their divisional rivals, and though they wouldn’t win the Cup until the next year, this was the first glimpse at a potential dynasty.
The Pens scored 12 goals in the first three games of the series and would close it out with a strong 6-0 win before they faced the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final. It was also Fleury’s third shutout of the 2008 postseason.
Next season, the two would meet again in the quarterfinals, where the Penguins would take the series in six.
Flyers vs. Penguins: April 1, 2012
The moments that preceded the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs brought the Pens-Flyers rivalry to new heights.
In the third-to-last game of the regular season, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma decided to throw out his checking line with less than two minutes to go. Down 6-3, the game was already out of reach for the Pens, which made then-Flyers bench boss Peter Laviolette absolutely furious.
The Penguins’ Joe Vitale laid a hit on the Flyers' Danny Briere, which was the final straw for Laviolette, who called out Bylsma after play had been halted.
Penguins’ assistant Tony Granato stood in for Bylsma and chaos ensued. As a result, Laviolette and Granato were both fined $10,000 and $2,500, respectively.
The incident helped build an already enticing storyline before the postseason kicked off.