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Pens-Flyers In-Game Blog

Sunday, 03.18.2012 / 10:44 AM / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo



FLYERS 3, PENS 2 (OT)





0:01: Hartnell gets his second of the game with just 0.9 seconds left to give the Flyers the overtime win. FLYERS 3, PENS 2

1:14: No shortage of chances in this overtime. They're the edge-of-your-seat type chances.

2:26: Letang and Coburn are released and the teams are back to 4-on-4.

2:30: Bylsma is using his timeout as the Flyers get an offensive zone faceoff.

4:26: After Letang gets a shot off from the slot area, Coburn takes some liberties with the Pens D-man and he doesn't like it. They both begin taking jabs at each other and both go to the box. We'll skate 3-on-3 for the next 2 minutes.

5:00: The extra period has begun. The teams will skate 4-on-4 per NHL rules.





0:00: Both teams are going to come away with at least one point as this one's going to OT.

1:41: Giroux tees off a bomb from the top of the circles that Fleury reaches over his head and gloves.

5:00: This game just took an ugly turn. Malkin goes down on bended knee to block a shot and is in obvious pain. As play leaves the zone, a huge scrum erupts near the Pens bench mostly involving Hartnell that takes a long time to break up. Hartnell gets two minors (slashing and roughing), while Neal and Kunitz each get roughing minors. And luckily, Geno remains on the bench despite absorbing Giroux's blast.

5:20: Pens go back to full strength.

7:20: Malkin to the box for elbowing. Huge penalty kill coming up for the Pens here.

8:28: Flyers get another 2-on-1 opportunity spearheaded by Voracek with Letang the lone D-man back, but aren't able to convert.

11:25: Another pretty feed from Giroux, this time to Wellwood, nearly results in another goal, but Fleury makes a magnificent save. He's really starting to get tested now as the Flyers are coming in waves.

13:25: Jagr gets his stick on a shot and re-directs it, but Fleury isn't fooled and turns it aside.

15:13: And now we've got ourselves a game. Giroux fakes a shot and hits Hartnell at the side of the cage with a pass. Hartnell snipes one from a sharp angle into the netting with pinpoint accuracy. PENS 2, FLYERS 2

15:18: Pens are back to full strength.

16:43: Incredible sliding pad save by Fleury on a Voracek one-timer from the slot.

17:31: And now the Flyers will head back to the power play when Malkin is called for hooking.

19:29: With 59 seconds left on the penalty to Michalek, the Flyers string together a pretty passing play that results in Timonen's blast from the point tickling the twine. Simmonds had Fleury totally screened on the shot. PENS 2, FLYERS 1

20:00: Puck drops to start the third. Flyers start the period with 1:30 left on the man-advantage. Game on!


(Getty Images)





That period was virtually utter domination by the Pens. They clamped down defensively and made life easy for Marc-Andre Fleury by holding the Flyers - who entered the game with the league's No. 1 offense - to just two shots on goal and keeping play rimmed in Philly's zone for much of the frame. But despite the shot disparity, the Pens still had just a 1-0 lead...until Evgeni Malkin scored his 41st of the season in gorgeous fashion to give his team a 2-0 edge. Kris Letang has the primary assists on both Pens goals this afternoon.





0:00: First 40 minutes are in the books. Pens have a 2-0 lead with Malkin's goal in the last minute of the period. Pittsburgh also has a staggering 27-10 edge in shots.

0:30: Michalek gets called for slashing. Flyers get a late PP.

     "malkin's goal was OUT OF CONTROL. he's still on another level. jesus. #Pens"
                                                           @cknollsky

     "Malkin has become a human highlight reel lately. Unbelievable the way he has taken over the game and manhandles everyone."
                                                           @ActionJackson66

     "I swear that Malkin has better moves than an Olympic dancer #pens @pghpenguins @PensInsideScoop"

                                                           @mattwilson731

0:53: Unreal effort by Malkin. He bursts out of the corner and displays some impressive strength to muscle his way to the front of the net. Malkin waits, waits, waits...and lifts one through a sprawled Bryzgalov's pads! PENS 2, FLYERS 0

3:00: Pens kill it off and go back to full strength.

4:48: Flyers finally get one to the cage from the stick of Claude Giroux.

5:07: Flyers starting to gain some momentum back with a couple of good shifts in the offensive zone. And now, they'll head to the power play as Chris Kunitz goes off for cross checking.

7:40: The Pens are playing incredibly stifling defensively. The Flyers still have not recorded a shot this period thanks to some big efforts by the Pens players.

10:02: Letang doesn't get enough credit for his physicality. He just crushed Jagr by the boards in the neutral zone. Then when Rinaldo and Hartnell come to challenge Letang about it, he knocks them both down as well. Hartnell's stick catches Rinaldo in the teeth on the way down. Yikes. He heads straight to the locker room. Letang gets a double minor for roughing and Rinaldo and Hartnell each get a pair. We remain 5-on-5.

10:46: Bylsma has put Crosby and Staal on the ice together for this shift. They're joined by Steve Sullivan.

11:59: The Flyers have yet to register a shot on goal this period. Pens definitely controlling the majority of the play.

12:54: Crosby's getting the chances but they just aren't going in for him. He just got a 2-on-1 opportunity with Cooke, who threaded a pass across for him to tee off. Sid absolutely blasted one at Bryzgalov, who turned it aside!

16:46: Giroux nearly gets a breakaway as a result of a line change by the Pens, but the puck is too hot for him to handle and Fleury goes behind his net to play it.

19:11: The Pens testing Bryzgalov early this period, starting with a Paul Martin drive to the net and cumulating with a few good chances in close from Malkin's line.

20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Game on!


(Getty Images)





An entertaining start to this battle between the cross-state rivals. The Pens and the Flyers established a solid pace to this one, with the teams trading exciting scoring chances back and forth. Even when the Pens got a pair of power plays late in the period, the Flyers got a couple of shorthanded chances. However, it's Pittsburgh who has the lead with Craig Adams' goal at the 13:21 mark. It's a testament to the Pens' depth that even with guys like Crosby, Malkin and Staal all back iin the lineup that Adams is the one who gets on the board.

- Dupuis assisted on Adams' goal, extending his point streak to six games.
- Dupuis has five goals and three assists over that span.





0:00: That'll do it for the first. Pens have a 1-0 lead on a goal from Craig Adams. Pittsburgh also has a 17-8 shots advantage.

0:28: Pens can't really get anything going on this power play. Flyers back to full strength.

     "Usual I stay away from obvious tweets, but Letang is awesome"
                                                           @MantisToboggan5

2:18: Couturier gets the puck on the blue line and is off to the races on a 2-on-0 rush...or so it seems, until Letang hustles back, gets in position and makes a gorgeous sliding block on the rookie Flyer.

2:28: And the Pens are heading right back to the man-advantage as Timonen cross checks Cooke in front of the net.

3:06: The Pens really got into a groove in the last minute of that power play, with all five players on the ice working it around and getting five shots to the cage. Unfortunately, they just couldn't convert.

5:06: And the Pens are on the power play as Matt Carle goes off for interference!

     "Quality work by Adams and he got rewarded. Good for him. Pens dominating again with "depth" guys. #PensGoal #Pens #LetsGoPens"
                                                           @stevegiglio

6:39: What a shift by Craig Adams. First, he flattens Wayne Simmonds along the boards and doesn't allow him to clear the puck. Adams then beelines to the front of the net and gets in perfect position to re-direct a Letang shot past Bryzgalov. PENS 1, FLYERS 0

     "this game so far: fast paced and crazy! let's GO PENS #PensMobile #Pens"
                                                           @ShannonLPN

9:49: Flyers have been getting their fair share of quality scoring chances these last few shifts. Jakub Voracek had the latest when he sped down the ice and teed off a blast that Fleury had to make a sparkling save on.

12:14: Sullivan nearly gets a breakaway on a nice feed from Dupuis but just can't get around rookie D-man Erik Gustafsson! Then when Philly heads back down the other way, Matt Read rings one off the post.

14:20: Crosby's line producing another good shift. There has been a decent flow and pace to this one so far.

18:08: To no one's surprise, the boos start from the crowd as Crosby hits the ice for his first shift. Heck, they booed him in previous games even when he wasn't playing. Sid proceeds to hit Kennedy with a pretty pass in the slot that Bryzgalov has to come up with a big save on.

19:11: Strong first shift by the Flyers to keep the Pens hemmed in their own zone. Pens were a little loose with the puck and it resulted in a couple of turnovers.

20:00: Puck drops to start the first. Game on!


(Getty Images)



12:27 PM:
Asham and Philly native Eric Tangradi are in the lineup for Pittsburgh. Pens scratch Vitale, Park, Jeffrey, Lovejoy and Johnson. Here are the official line combos...

Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
Sullivan-Staal-Dupuis
Cooke-Crosby-Kennedy
Tangradi-Adams-Asham

Martin-Letang
Orpik-Michalek
Niskanen-Engelland

Fleury in goal. Bryzgalov in net for Philly.

As expected, Flyers scratch Talbot and Lilja along with Kubina and Meszaros.



11:26 AM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma spoke briefly with the media this morning. Here's what he had to say...

On Bryzgalov’s play:
I’ve seen him as a teammate, I’ve seen him as a coach and I’ve watched what he’s done in the National Hockey League. He is a top-end goalie. He’s an extremely great talent and he’s playing that way right now. That makes them that much harder of a team to play against and win against. He's been a big part of what they’ve done. He’s had numerous shutouts, played really well in net. With a team that has some injuries on defense right now, he has been a big part of them having success back there.

On the winning streak:
I still feel like we’re coming off the heels of a six-game losing streak. We won eight in a row, there was a space in between there and we’ve won 11 in a row now. These 11 games have been with different lineups and different people in and out. I think that’s the strength of this 11 games in a row. It hasn’t been with our lineup at 100 percent. It has been without three different defensemen in the lineup for a couple of games. It hasn't been with Sidney Crosby, except for two games. I think it’s been pretty impressive to run 11 in a row with those different circumstances and at a time in the year when these are a lot of playoff hockey games against teams that are fighting for spots or we’re playing teams we’ll maybe play in the playoffs. It’s been at a crucial time of the year as well.

On if any game sticks out to him during the streak:
The first one, maybe. The Rangers game, the 2-0 game. I say that because two games before that, we hadn’t beat Philly yet this year. We came off a disappointing game in Buffalo. You go home against a Rangers team that is tops in the conference and who we hadn’t beat yet as well. That could have been a loss and you’re looking at two in a row and not having beaten this team yet. So I think that game in particular was maybe one of our best. You could put Boston in there as well as a good one. Those are maybe the best two in those 11 games.





11:00 AM:
Good morning everyone! It's another gorgeous day in Pittsburgh, but the Pens are across the state preparing to take on the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The game will be nationally televised as NBC's Game of the Week with a 12:30 p.m. start, a time change from the originally scheduled 3 p.m. puck drop.

The Pens enter today's game having won a season-high 11 straight games with their 5-2 victory over the Devils in New Jersey on Saturday, which is the NHL's longest winning streak this season. They're playing some incredible hockey, but the Flyers have been on a surge of their own – winning seven of their last nine due in large part to red-hot goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. But Pittsburgh has gone 8-2 in its last 10 visits to Philadelphia and the team is 9-3 this season in day games, while the Flyers are just 3-8-2 in games that start before 3 p.m.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette confirmed that Bryzgalov will start for Philly, while Pens coach Dan Bylsma said that Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net for Pittsburgh. Bylsma added that apart from Fleury, the rest of his lineup is game time. "There’s a few bruises," he said. "We have to get through warmups." However, Bylsma did add that forward Arron Asham, who missed yesterday's game due to illness, is better and he anticipates him playing.

Finally, former Pen Max Talbot (upper body) and defenseman Andreas Lilja (throat) will not play today. Both are day-to-day.

While we wait for this game to get underway, here's today's Game Day Report brought to you by the one and only Steve Mears.

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