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Pens-Flyers Game 3: In-Game Blog

Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 12:45 PM / 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Pens-Flyers Game 3: In-Game Blog



FLYERS 8, PENS 4

FLYERS LEAD SERIES, 3-0





Kris Letang and Kimmo Timonen received game misconducts at the 12:02 mark of the first period.
Arron Asham received a match penalty (which means he also got ejected from the game) at the 14:15 mark of the first period.





0:00: Horn sounds. Flyers take this one 8-4.

2:13: Rinaldo ejected for cross checking Kennedy in the back. Pens on a 4-minute PP. There's virtually no one left on the Pens bench.

2:46: Talbot gets his second of the game with seconds remaining on the Flyers PP. They're 4-for-7 with the man-advantage today. GOAL: TALBOT (2). FLYERS 8, PENS 4.

4:12: Flyers have 1:30 minutes left on their PP. When everything got sorted out, Philly was awarded two minutes on the man-advantage.

4:34: More extracurriculars break out between the two benches. It's going to take a while to sort these penalties out. After it seems like everything has settled down...it gets crazy again. Simmonds cross checks Neal as he heads to the box, Hartnell and Crosby start exchanging blows and that results in Adams dropping the gloves with Hartnell. Words can't even describe the bizzare level of this game.

5:20: Couturier is down after a hit from Neal and must be tended to by trainers. He's eventually able to get up and skate to the bench. He immediately goes down the runway to the locker room.

8:11: Flyers have gone into total shutdown mode. They're not giving the Pens anything right now.

11:37: A few solid defensive plays by the Pens just now. Johnson came up with a big save, while Engelland produced a stretching pokecheck on Talbot to prevent what could have been a breakaway.

15:15: Pens get a couple of good chances in the Flyers zone, but can't convert either. Quick pace and more of an up-and-down flow to this third and final period in what's been a lengthy hockey game.

19:33: Jagr displays some impressive strength by powering to the net and holding off Dupuis with one arm on his way there. Jagr is able to drop a pass to Giroux, who goes down to one knee as he blasts it into the net past Johnson. GOAL: GIROUX. FLYERS 7, PENS 4

20:00: Brent Johnson is in goal for Pittsburgh to start the third period. Puck drops. Game on.


(Getty Images)





Well, this period wasn't quite as eventful as the first...but that's a relative term when it comes to these teams. Special teams has been the name of the game so far tonight. After Neal opened the second-period scoring about halfway through by scoring his 2nd goal of the day, this one coming on the PP, Read answered with his second goal of the day - also on the PP. Then when Staal got the Pens back to within one just over a minute after Read's goal, Simmonds scored on the man-advantage with just 45 seconds left in the frame.

- Flyers are 3-for-6 with the man-advantage. Pens are 1-for-3.
- Staal, Neal, Read and Briere all have two-goal games.
- Neal has already recorded an eye-popping 8 shots.
- All of the Pens save for Park have recorded a hit on the official scoresheet.





0:00: Horn sounds. Flyers take a 6-4 lead into the second intermission.

0:45: And the Flyers convert this one as well, with 7 seconds left. Briere gets a step on the Pens D, fakes to his forehand and gets Fleury to bite - allowing him to just slip one past the outstretched pad. GOAL: SIMMONDS. FLYERS 6, PENS 4

2:38: Kunitz slashes Coburn while trying to establish net-front presence and Pens are back to PK. This is absolutely their biggest one yet.

4:20: Pens pull back within one goal on a sequence that's part hard work, part luck. Pens force a turnover in the neutral zone that sends Neal driving down the side of the ice. His shot hits a defenseman, bounces through Bryzgalov and hits the post. The puck just lays there and Staal gets there first for the slam dunk. GOAL: STAAL (2). FLYERS 5, PENS 4

5:42: Jagr threads a pass from one side of the ice to the other, which finds the stick of Matt Read. He whacks it into the open net for the PP score. GOAL: READ (2). FLYERS 5, PENS 3

6:49: Fleury just made the kind of save that made me stop breathing for a second. Simmonds got a re-direct in the slot, but Fleury stopped it and gloved the rebound.

7:30: Pens back to the PK as Kunitz goes for tripping. Huge kill for the Pens here...

     "Wheeling and Nealing #Pens"
                                                           @JVerch12

9:29: And Neal gets his revenge when he nets his second goal of the game! Malkin had dropped a pass to Neal between the hashmarks, who wastes no time teeing off a shot that flies into the back of the net. GOAL: NEAL (2). FLYERS 4, PENS 3

10:47: Grossmann clips former teammate Neal knee-on-knee and the Flyers D-man will go to the box. The two men played together back in Dallas. Neal's been absorbing a lot of after-the-whistle liberties so far this game and has been doing a good job of not retaliating. His battle level has been through the roof.

13:10: Big save by Fleury on a point-blank chance just outside the blue paint. He's been strong to start this period. The Pens will need him to be their rock if they want to get back into this game.

17:20: Pens are able to kill it off. Staal is released and Pittsburgh goes back to full strength.

18:29: Hartnell rings one off the post off a sweet feed from Simmonds!!! That was so close.

19:25: And the Pens head to the PK early as Staal goes off for hooking. Not the start they wanted. However, the Flyers are without their veteran power-play quarterback in Timonen.

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


Pregame shot from the press box





The Pens and Flyers have played only 20 minutes of hockey, but they packed a whole game's worth of emotion into that first period. Blood boiled over on both sides, resulting in a long list of penalties and, in bad news for both teams, game misconducts for top defensemen Kris Letang and Kimmo Timonen. Pittsburgh will have to play the remainder of the contest without its best blueliner. They'll also be without Asham, who also got ejected from the game. Let's see how the Pens respond in the second. It's going to be a long game. It already has been. But there's plenty of hockey left.

As my friend Jesse Spector of the Sporting News tweeted, "Six goals, 72 penalty minutes, three ejections. First period took 56 minutes."





0:00: That's the end of a very emotional, action-packed first. Flyers have a 4-2 lead.

0:45: Pens are able to kill off Asham's major. Back to full strength.

3:45: Pens are on the PK for the next three minutes. That's from Asham's match penalty. I know, it's confusing. Bear with me.

4:20: And the Flyers respond just 24 seconds later. Briere forces a turnover behind the Pens net and the puck goes right to Matt Read, who quickly releases a shot past Fleury to regain the two-goal lead for his team. GOAL: READ. FLYERS 4, PENS 2

     "How do you spell relief? N-E-A-L #pens"

                                                           @JoshHajduk

4:44: Absolutely gorgeous goal by James Neal. He leaps between defensemen Carle and Lilja, causing them to crash into each other Three Stooges style, and goes in alone on Bryzgalov - rifling a shot through his pads for the score. GOAL: NEAL. FLYERS 3, PENS 2

5:45: Brayden Schenn levels Martin with a check on the boards in the Pens zone, and Asham takes exception after the hit is made. Asham gets a 10-minute match penalty and Schenn gets two for charging. We'll go 4-on-4 for the next two minutes.

Kris Letang and Kimmo Timonen have both received five-minute majors and game misconducts. When all of the penalties are handed out and recorded, Pens end up with a two-minute power play.

     "oh me oh my, this game has exploded! #Flyers #Pens"

                                                           @IamChrisBowen

     "Wow this is absolutely INSANE #Pens #Flyers"

                                                           @E_TownOiler

7:58: This is really getting nasty. Fights break out everywhere on the ice after Crosby fights for a puck under the glove of Bryzgalov. Voracek takes some liberties with Sullivan, Crosby takes down Giroux and Letang manhandles Timonen. It's going to take a while to sort these penalties out. The players continue chirping at each other from their respective boxes.

8:15: Flyers get a 3-on-2 rush off a faceoff in their own zone. Briere gets behind the Pens D after his team enters the zone and recieves a perfect pass that he slams home. Bylsma uses his timeout after the opponent gains the two-goal lead. GOAL: BRIERE (2). FLYERS 3, PENS 1

10:30: Pens finally back to full strength as Letang is released from the box.

11:41: With 25 seconds left on the 5-on-3, Fleury can't dive across the crease fast enough to stop a Briere wrister from the top of the circle from finding the back of the net. Pens now at a 5-on-4 disadvantage for the next 1:05. GOAL: BRIERE. FLYERS 2, PENS 1

12:26: Pens will be on a 5-on-3 disadvantage for the next 1:10 minutes as Letang gets whistled for cross-checking. Pens starting with Cooke, Adams and Orpik. Laviolette uses his timeout early to draw up a play.

12:46: Flyers now to the PP for the next 1:30 minutes because Niskanen got two minors, one for cross-checking and one for roughing. Giroux got one for roughing.

13:16: Talbot evens the score with 30 seconds left on the Penguins PP. Fleury got a piece of the first shot (Giroux's) with his arm, but the rebound takes a funky bounce through his shoulder and he can't recover fast enough to keep it from going over the goal line. Immediately after the goal, two fights break out: Cooke and Carle and Giroux and Niskanen. We'll go 4-on-4 for the next 30 seconds. GOAL: TALBOT. PENS 1, FLYERS 1

14:46: Voracek high sticks Michalek and he'll go to the box. Pens to the PP. They're sticking with the same first unit they used in Game 2: Sullivan, Letang, Malkin, Neal and Kunitz.

15:30: Fleury uses his chest to make a big save in the waning seconds of the 4-on-4. The Pens will need him to come up big tonight, and he's looked sharp so far.

16:08: Jordan Staal carries all the way down the ice from his own end and sneaks a wrister short side through Bryzgalov to get Pittsburgh on the board first! There are 47 seconds left on the 4-on-4. GOAL: STAAL. PENS 1, FLYERS 0

17:21: Some extracurriculars occur in front of the Pens net between Engelland and Rinaldo after Fleury gloves a shot. Both players will go off for roughing and we'll skate 4-on-4. Afterward, "Crosby sucks!" chants rang out for at least the second time since puck drop. The captain is not a very well-liked figure in Philly...

17:29: This game is extremely tight-checking to start. Both teams not giving up a lot. As coach Bylsma said this morning, this will probably shape up to be a pretty low-scoring affair.

20:00: Puck drops to start the first in Philly. Game on! Here we go!


(Getty Images)



3:00 PM:
It's official: Matt Niskanen is in the lineup today for Pittsburgh.



Richard Park is also in. Scratches: Vitale, Tangradi, Jeffrey, Lovejoy, and Strait.

Official line combos:

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

Martin-Letang
Orpik-Michalek
Niskanen-Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury is in goal.



2:28 PM:
Let's have some fun with numbers before Game 3 begins, shall we? These stats are courtesy of Penguins manager of communications Jason Seidling, the best in the biz.

- Pittsburgh is 32-18 all-time in Game 3s – including a 20-8 mark on the road.

- The Penguins have won six-straight Game 3s dating back to the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals against Washington.

- Pittsburgh is 10-1 in its last 11 Game 3s.

- The Penguins are 8-3 all-time in Game 3 when they trail in a series 0-2.

- Since defeating the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena to capture the 2009 Stanley Cup, Pittsburgh is 7-3 in its last 10 postseason road games. During that same period, the Penguins home record is 4-9
.



1:33 PM:
Here's the rest of what Coach had to say...

On the lineup:
Matt Niskanen will be warming up. The lineup is game-time. He will be out there for warmups.

On what the deciding factor is in Niskanen playing:
It’s a strength issue. We know where he’s been at the last few days. As long as that’s there then he’ll be a possibility to play.

On the other series being low scoring:
I’ve watched a handful of the other games. There isn’t a lot out there, Washington and Boston in particular. The one thing about our series is that (Game 2) was a Friday the 13th type of game. It was an odd game. It happened really fast. I’m not sure I’ve seen two goals scored in 16 seconds on a power play. You put your head down one second and another situation arises. It’s been that way for the two games. Talking about it now, I feel like we might be in for a low-scoring affair tonight.

On who within the Pens dressing room will step up:
I’m not sure we’re looking for one person. I know right now we have 20 guys that are looking to be leaders with how we play and bouncing back from this situation. We know we’re down 2-0. We know the situation. We also know that we’re looking at winning one hockey game here, making it 2-1 after this game. I believe there are 20 guys in there that are ready to be that leader the next time they step over the boards.

On drawing from the experience of coming back 2-0 before:
You do because it’s a very emotional time of year. You win a game and everything is great. The situations where you lose a game, the emotions are low. When you go down 2-0, it’s a difficult situation. You feel like you haven’t won a game yet and they’re two games from winning the series.  You can look at a lot of situations to understand. Right now it’s about one game and making this 2-1. You can look at the ’09 (championship) and Boston Bruins last year. There are other examples of that situation. That’s the challenge. Coming out focused and galvanized as a group to get a win in Philly and make it 2-1.



--Sam Kasan



1:06 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma just said Niskanen will take warmups and his status will be a game-time decision.


(Getty Images)



12:45 PM:
Good afternoon everyone! The Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the Penguins and the Flyers has shifted to Philadelphia for Game 3, where the cross-state rivals will battle at Wells Fargo Center at 3 p.m. on NBC.

Defenseman Matt Niskanen returned to practice Saturday. Both he and coach Bylsma said the deciding factor in whether or not he'll play today is whether he'll have enough strength in the injured area to be functional and play the way he needs to play. Bylsma will address the media at 1:00 p.m.; we may know more then. Stay tuned.

--

The worst-case scenario unfolded for the Pens in the first two games of this series, as Pittsburgh lost both contests to trail 2-0 in the series and now have to play Games 3 and 4 on the opposite side of the state. Wells Fargo Center has been less than welcoming every time the Pens come to town; it's one of, if not the, most hostile road environments in the league. But the Pens are up to the challenge.

As defenseman Kris Letang said yesterday, “No matter what, in the playoffs you have to win on the road. A good rivalry like that, you get a lift from those games. It’s fun to be a part of. We’ll see the true face of our team. We’ll see our true character." So with that, let's kick off the blog with Enimen's "Not Afraid." Get pumped. It's going to be a good one.

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