Even during warm ups the Wachovia Center was in a frenzy, and the energy never waned. Pittsburgh actually came out strong to start the game, with much of the early play spent in the Flyers zone.
But despite being outshot nine-to-two 12 minutes into the game the home team made the most of their chances, and the scoreboard had the Flyers leading 2-0.
Getting Away With It
Late in the first period, the Flyers were looking to take a 2-0 lead into the dressing room before Evgeni Malkin struck with only 12 seconds remaining. Usually those late goals are killers and the reason teams stress never giving up goals in the first or last minute of a period.
Well, the Pens stormed out and tied the score 13 seconds into period two.
In basically 25 seconds of playing time, Pittsburgh erased a two-goal deficit and the Flyers had broken two cardinal sins by allowing goals in the first and last minutes. It’s not often a team can do that and live to tell about it.
As was the case in Game One, the referees disrupted the flow of the game. Marc Joannette must have had a quota on the number of penalties to call because he was brutal. It was tough to figure what the refs, and Joannette in particular, had in mind.
Numerous non-calls had the fans and players frustrated while calls like Mike Richards’ hold on Evgeni Malkin and Jeff Carter’s slash on Jordan Staal were questionable at best in a playoff game. To be fair, after Carter’s slash, Malkin was charged with a cheap hooking call as an even-up 14 seconds later.
This is the Stanley Cup Playoffs between two good teams and bitter rivals. Let them play and put the whistles away! The NHL has to let the players decide the series, not the zebras.
The 21-year old may have had the best game of his brief NHL career. After picking up the slashing penalty on Chris Kunitz which gave Pittsburgh a two-man advantage in OT Friday, Giroux redeemed himself in Game Three.
He picked up a huge goal to regain momentum for the Flyers after the Pens had tied it at two, and set up a beautiful shorthanded goal by Simon Gagne, which turned out to be the game-winner.
After ragging the puck in the Pens zone in an attempt to kill time, he found Gagne alone in front for a 4-2 lead. The line of Giroux, Danny Briere, and Darroll Powe was outstanding once again. I think Bob Clarke knows the kids name now, unlike when we drafted him in 2006.
As is usually the case in Philadelphia, Sid the Kid was serenaded with “Crosby Sucks” chants all day long. It’s hard to imagine a visiting player currently more vilified in any city or sport than Crosby is in Philly right now.
Despite picking up two assists, Sid was fairly quiet in Game Three. He was not nearly as noticeable as Malkin, and finished the day with four shots on goal and a minus-one. He did continue his domination in the faceoff circle though, winning 14-of-20.
The Flyers continue to improve in the circle. Pittsburgh did win 29 of 55 (53 percent) draws, but unlike the first two games the orange and black were able to avoid being hurt by losing critical faceoffs in the defensive zone.
Late in the second period a kid who couldn’t have been more than 10 years old screamed out “Come on Carter, start winning some faceoffs!” Only in Philly….
Carter did have his first strong game in the circle, winning eight of 15, including going five-and-one vs Staal—a complete reversal from Games One and Two.
Lauren Hart Does It Again
The Flyers had Hart sing ‘God Bless America’ along with a recording of Kate Smith. In all of sports, there is nobody better than Lauren Hart…anywhere. Most nights, if they sent you home after watching her sing, it would still be worth the price of admission, and Sunday was no exception. Just fantastic.
Why TV networks don’t show the anthems anymore is beyond me.
Big games in Philly always mean the fans will bust out some great jerseys.
Spotted in the crowd today were some classics: Rick Tocchet, Bobby Clarke, Brian Boucher, Gary Dornhoefer, Ed Van Impe, Brad McCrimmon (don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those before), Mikael Renberg, Danny Markov, Jeff Hackett, Dale Hawerchuk, Dan McGillis, multiple Jeremy Roenicks, Bill Barber, Bernie Parent, Dainius Zubrus, Tim Kerr, Dave Poulin, and Dave Brown.
On The Fly
- The Flyers outscored Pittsburgh 2-1 in each of the three periods.
- For the first time in the series, Kimmo Timonen led the Flyers in ice time with 26:36. 29 seconds more than Braydon Coburn.
- The Flyers outhit the Pens 29-18…Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe and Andrew Alberts led the way with four each.
- In only eight shifts and 6:37 of ice time, Alabama native Jared Ross scored his first NHL goal and was 5-and-1 on faceoffs.
- Evgeni Malkin now has seven points (4-3) in the series after his two goal performance Sunday.
- After being credited with 14 hits in Game Two, Brooks Orpik was not awarded any in Game Three.
Big Day in Philly
Aside from the Flyers win, Raul Ibanez’ two-run walk-off lifted the Phils to a much-needed win, and the Sixers rallied from 18 down to beat Orlando 100-98 in Game One. A beautiful spring Sunday to be a fan in Philly…