Top 10 Most Painful Moments, No. 9: Letang's OT Winner
We continue our "Top 10 Most Painful Moments" feature, counting down the ten times that the Penguins have caused Flyers fans the most pain over the past few years. Before continuing, here's a rundown of the previous moments we've counted down on OBG...
No. 10: Sykora's Called Shot
No. 9: Letang's OT Winner
After the Penguins defeated the Flyers in the first round of the 2009 playoffs, I found myself strongly hoping the Capitals would be able to knock off the Penguins in the second round. It would be a double victory—not only would the Penguins be eliminated from the playoffs, but they would be knocked out by a team the Flyers had beaten in the first round the year before. If the Capitals could earn the victory, it would make the Flyers' botched playoff run that much less painful.
The Capitals started off the series well in Game One with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory. Game Two was one of the most incredible games of the entire playoffs, a game in which both Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby notched hat tricks.
It was a huge game that got a lot of coverage in the following days, which made the Capitals' 4-3 victory that much sweeter. Crosby had been edged by Ovechkin—who now had as many goals as he had managed in the Capitals' entire seven-game series against my Flyers the year before—and the Penguins were in a 2-0 hole. Everything seemed to be going the Caps' way.
Game Three got off to a fantastic start. Under 90 seconds into the game, Marc-Andre Fleury made an embarrassing mistake when he tried to play a puck behind the net. He completely misplayed it and it ricocheted right out in front of the net, where Alex Ovechkin knocked it home to give the Caps the early lead.
Ruslan Fedotenko would tie the game in the second period, and the game remained that way going into the third. It remained tied until late in the final period, when Evgeni Malkin scored one of the more electrifying goals I've seen, cutting back behind Washington forward Brooks Laich and snapping home the go-ahead, power-play goal.
He showboated a bit on the celebration, but the electricity was short-lived. Nicklas Backstrom put a smile back on my face with an impressive power-play goal of his own, as he scored from an impossible angle on a rebound shot with 1:50 left to tie the game.
So the stage was set for overtime—the Penguins, without a shadow of a doubt, needed to win the game to have any chance in the series. If they won, they'd still have a lot of work to do if they wanted to win the series, but the thought of the Penguins being all but eliminated by an overtime goal was irresistible. Even now, I smile at the very thought of it.
However, as always, my dreams weren't meant to be. With a little over eight minutes to go in overtime, Kristopher Letang scored on a point shot right off the faceoff, putting the Penguins back in the series. While I knew that the Capitals were still the heavy favorites, I felt very uneasy about the Penguins, despite their being down 2-1 in the series. Sure enough, the Penguins won the next two games, and eventually blew out the Capitals in Game Seven by a score of 6-2.
So, it was a 3-2 victory for the Penguins, starting a three-game winning streak that launched them into the third round. I hate the number three...
Next Time on "Top 10 Most Painful Moments": Concrete evidence as to why Martin Biron is currently the third-string goaltender for hockey's worst team, the New York Islanders...
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