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Pens-Flyers Game 1: In-Game Blog

Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 6:30 PM / 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Pens-Flyers Game 1: In-Game Blog



FLYERS 4, PENS 3 (OT)





17:37: Voracek wins it for the Flyers when he taps in a loose puck.

19:40: Fleury kicks off the extra period with...yes, a big kick save. (No pun intended). He gets a piece of a shot with his toe.

20:00: Puck drops to start the first overtime period. Pens starting Staal's line up front against Giroux's line. Game on!


(Getty Images)





The Flyers took their game to a whole new level in that period after putting together a strong second. Rookie Brayden Schenn capped Philly's comeback from the 3-0 first-period deficit; he's had a three-point night (1G-2A) while linemate Danny Briere has a pair of goals. Pittsburgh, who normally thrives in the third period, mustered just five shots on goal that period. This has turned into quite the dramatic contest. What a way to kick off the series between these two teams. While it's sure to age us a few years, this OT period should be great.





0:00: The Flyers have rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game at 3-3 and force overtime here at CONSOL Energy Center.

     "What a great start to the #nhlplayoffs this pens flyers series is going to be a classic"
                                                           @AlexColes10

     "This series is going to give me a heart attack #Pens #Flyers"
                                                           @amee_rush

2:00: From the corner, Sullivan centers a pass to Sid in the slot but he can't get a handle on it!

3:15: Sorry for the lack of updates the last few minutes; was en route downstairs. Play has been flowing back and forth with hardly any whistles; both teams pressing hard to get that next goal.

7:37: Schenn gets his third point of the night when he tips a shot past Fleury to convert Philly's first PP chance. This game is tied. GOAL: SCHENN. PENS 3, FLYERS 3

9:19: Flyers getting their first PP of the night as Orpik goes to the box. Pens to the PK. This is getting nerve-racking.

     "this game just got real #pens #flyers #NHL"

                                                           @princess___xo

10:43: Flyers finally beat Fleury when Briere's shot travels through a screen. GOAL: BRIERE. PENS 3, FLYERS 2

11:07: Unreal windmill glove save by Fleury on Carle. Flyers just had a scary-good chance before that play, too. Fleury's been the rock of this Pens squad tonight.

12:53: Cooke fires a shot from the circle that Bryzgalov stops, but doesn't realize he did as he frantically looks behind him to see where the puck is.

13:58: Fleury is having a fantastic showing so far tonight. He's really come up with a number of big saves when needed.

15:47: After the penalty expires, Staal makes a lane down the side of the ice and rings a shot off the far post! A few centimeters to the left and that would have been in!

16:30: Sullivan gets a good chance from the slot with 19 seconds left on the PP, but Bryzgalov makes the save. He seems locked in after that shaky first.

18:11: Crosby keeps his feet moving as he tries to drive to the net but is held up by Jagr, who gets called for interference. Crosby also gets a whack from Bryzgalov, but 87 keeps his cool and doesn't get involved.

18:37: Malkin nearly gets a breakaway, but Bryzgalov leaves his net to come out and play the puck away from Geno. Malkin recovers and sends a nifty between the legs pass to a speeding Neal, but Bryzgalov turns that shot aside too.

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


(Getty Images)





The Flyers snapped out of whatever funk they were in that saw them fall behind 3-0 after the first, really putting together a solid middle frame of hockey. They definitely put Marc-Andre Fleury to work that period and had the Pens on their heels for stretches, but Pittsburgh stayed the course. The Pens didn't play a bad period by any means, and they really seemed to get to their game in the waning minutes. In addition, Philly's lone goal - scored by Danny Briere - was actually showed to be offsides on video replay, but it's not a reviewable play.

- Since the 2006-07 playoffs, the Penguins are 28-1 when leading after two periods.
- The Penguins have gone 5-1 in their last six postseason home games against Philadelphia.
- The Penguins are 7-1 in Game 1 in their last eight series where they have held home-ice advantage.
- Pens had two power plays that period. Flyers have had zero.





0:00: First 40 minutes in the books. Pens have a 3-1 lead and a 23-13 edge in shots.

0:25: Bylsma puts three defensively responsible players in Adams, Staal and Cooke on the ice for a defensive zone faceoff with 25 seconds left.

2:54: Great work by Asham in the defensive zone to break up a pass and head down the ice with Adams on a 2-on-1. Though he's got a rocket shot, Asham decides to pass to Adams, whose blast just misses the net.

4:24: Flyers doing a good job of blocking shots and getting their sticks and bodies in passing lanes.

7:50: Pens had much more of a shoot-first mentality on that power play and created more chances than they did on their first man-advantage opportunity. However, they couldn't convert. Flyers back to full strength.

9:54: Neal draws a penalty when he's cross-checked by rookie Zac Rinaldo. Pens to their second PP of the night.

10:16: Great shift by Crosby's line (and Letang and Martin) to win the battles and keep play hemmed in the Flyers zone.

     "Fleury always plays his best in the quest for the cup"

                                                           @Tiffer16

11:23: Flyers definitely awake now and are really starting to make Fleury work.

13:38: Briere sneaks behind the Pens defense and goes in alone on Fleury. Fleury tries to make a diving save, but Briere lifts it up and over him for the goal. The replay shows that Briere looked to be offsides on the play, but that's something that isn't reviewable. GOAL: BRIERE. PENS 3, FLYERS 1

14:50: Wow. As Giroux gets out of the box, the Flyers get essentially a 3-on-1 with Sullivan as the only man back (and Jagr checking his stick), but Fleury slides across to make an obscene pad save on Hartnell on the backdoor play!

     "Pittsburgh's power play is actually insane: Neal; Crosby; Kunitz and Letang; Malkin at the point #SeriousCupContenders"
                                                           @davidwall27

16:58: After the Flyers win a faceoff forward, Orpik goes to collect the puck from the corner of his own zone and is boarded by Giroux. The Flyers center heads to the box for our first PP of the evening. Pens' first unit: Letang, Crosby, Malkin, Neal and Kunitz.

17:45: Really like the way Crosby's line is playing today. Hard and quick. It's like they're reading each others' minds out there.

     "That's what I like to see: a three goal lead before the 2nd period. Hopefully the #Pens keep this up!"

                                                           @kaleahsyverson

     "Solid 20 minutes #Pens! Let keep this intensity! #letsgopens"
                                                           @Apomov

     "Sick. Let's keep it up for this game and 15 more!!"

                                                           @attybompiani

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


(Getty Images)





Pens fans are seriously unbelievable. They created an absolutely goosebump-inducing atmosphere that the Pens thrived off of, but weren't distracted by. It resulted in a resounding 3-0 lead for Pittsburgh after 20 minutes with goals from Crosby, Kennedy and Dupuis. The Pens are just flying around the disjointed Flyers in what's been a physical period that's been played between whistles; let's see if they can keep this up for the next 40 minutes against a team that tends to get off to slow starts, but recovers later.

- Dupuis has a goal and an assist. He now has points in 18 straight games (including the regular season).
- Letang has already collected two assists and 8:16 minutes of ice time.
- Flyers have a slight edge in hits: 20-19.

















0:00: That'll do it for the first. Pens have a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.

0:36: The luckiest sequence just occurred for the Pens. Crosby looped a high backhand into the corner, which Sullivan picked up and threaded between his legs to the side of the net. It hopped over Voracek's stick and Dupuis batted it out of midair to send a knuckler past Bryzgalov, who nearly recovered but couldn't. GOAL: DUPUIS. PENS 3, FLYERS 0

1:30: I feel like I've used the term "crushing check" so many times already this period, but it's been applicable so often. The latest hit was laid by Staal on Giroux.

3:27: The teams have definitely settled into this game after the emotional start. Play is flowing well.

8:00: Rookie Brayden Schenn just laid two huge hits on two different Pens in Pittsburgh's zone. Nice aggressiveness by the 20-year-old.

8:24: Malkin just undressed a pair of Flyers defenders, but his momentum carried him a little too far and he couldn't get a piece of it.

10:24: Fleury just stopped Jagr on a breakaway with a big kick save. No big deal.

10:45: Crosby's line currently matched up against Briere's (Schenn, Briere, Simmonds).

     "Are we sure bears are the only thing Bryzgalov is afraid of? #Pens #Flyers #NHLPlayoffs"
                                                           @IantheD

12:12: Letang makes a quick, heads-up pass from behind his own net to hit a curling Jordan Staal. Staal and Kennedy head down the ice on a 2-on-3. Staal draws two white jerseys to him, which allows him to flip a pass to TK (who has Jagr chasing him). Kennedy doesn't miss. Laviolette uses his timeout to settle his team down. GOAL: KENNEDY. PENS 2, FLYERS 0

12:59: Note: a short while ago Hartnell slashed Orpik near the Pens bench trying to start a post-whistle altercation. Orpik smartly declined to engage in any scrums, instead opting to head right to the bench. Good move, Brooksy.

15:19: No more warm receptions for Talbot this time. It's the playoffs now. As the former Pen is showed on the videoboard talking to the refs, the crowd erupts in boos.

16:17: Crosby sends a pass to the point and is hit by Coburn after, but leaps to his feet and rushes to the net. He picks up a rebound and backhands it over Bryzgalov's shoulder for the score! GOAL: CROSBY. PENS 1, FLYERS 0

17:40: And another thunderous check! This time by Dupuis on Bourdon in the corner of Philly's zone. Great job by the Pens to finish their checks.

18:25: Big hit by Kunitz behind the Flyers net, followed up with a big check from Neal on Grossmann. Pens need to set the tone early in terms of physicality.

19:40: Staal's line is matched up with Giroux's line to start.

20:00: It's a WHITEOUT here at CONSOL Energy Center and the rally towels are waving in support of the Pens!!! Absolutely electric atmosphere during the pregame ceremonies/anthem. Puck drops to start Game 1. Here we go!


(Getty Images)



7:15 PM:
IT'S OFFICIAL - Ben Lovejoy is back in the lineup for Game 1!

That means Brian Strait will be a scratch, along with Matt Niskanen, Eric Tangradi, Dustin Jeffrey and Richard Park.

Pens' official line combos...

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

Orpik-Michalek
Martin-Letang
Engelland-Lovejoy

Marc-Andre Fleury starts in goal.




7:02 PM:
Pens defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who missed the last six regular-season games with a knee injury, is on the ice for pregame warmups. We talked to him earlier today about the possibility of playing tonight; read his comments here or watch them below.





6:30 PM:
I don't particularly enjoy the days leading up to the postseason because I'm so anxious for it to start, but one aspect I do enjoy is how the arena and the surrounding area gets playoff ready.

















6:20 PM:
Since we've known for quite some time that Pittsburgh would be facing Philly in the first round, we've been able to compile plenty of stories on the Flyers leading up to tonight. Here's everything produced by pittsburghpenguins.com if you want a little pregame reading...

And don't forget: all of our coverage (written, video and otherwise) of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs will be archived at Playoff Central.





6:15 PM:
Good evening everyone. We're so close to the moment we've been waiting for for what seems like an eternity (OK, it's technically only been about a week). In just a short while the puck will drop to kick off the 2012 postseason with one of the NHL's greatest rivalries. It's one of the most highly anticipated series in a long time.

As coach Dan Bylsma said this morning...



Couldn't say it better ourselves, coach. There's nothing more to say. Pittsburgh vs. Philly. Let's get it started.

(Note: to get briefed on all of the game-day updates out of Pittsburgh before puck drop, visit today's edition of the Pens Report).

--

A lot of teams around the league have a special song they play after each win. Pittsburgh's is Flo Rida's "Good Feeling," last year on HBO's 24/7 Pens/Caps we saw Washington's was DJ Pauly D's "Beat Dat Beat," and anyone who watched this year's version of 24/7 with the Flyers and Rangers saw that Philly uses Mac Miller's "Knock Knock" following each victory. They even made playoff shirts to wear under their equipment referencing the song.

What's kind of funny about that is Mac Miller is actually a Pittsburgh native. Not sure if he's a Pens fan or not, but regardless, he's from this side of the state. So let's give him a little love. Here's the instrumental version (with the chorus) of his song "Party on Fifth Ave," which, coincidentally, is where CONSOL Energy Center is located. Get pumped.

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