Pens-Flyers Game 5: In-Game Blog
Friday, 04.20.2012 / 6:30 PM / 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Michelle Crechiolo
PENS 3, FLYERS 2
FLYERS LEAD SERIES 3-2
0:00: Despite a heart-attack inducing final few minutes, the Pens stave off the Flyers' final attack and stay alive in this series with a 3-2 Game 5 win!!!
1:15: Flyers have an offensive zone faceoff and Laviolette uses his timeout to draw up a play as he's going to pull Bryzgalov for the extra attacker.
3:50: This is a back-and-forth, up-and-down affair that's got to be keeping Pens fans everywhere on the edges of their seat.
7:12: After the Pens clear the zone, Staal gets a great chance on a no-look, turn-around shot, but the puck sails just wide of the open net!
8:42: Though van Riemsdyk wreaks some havoc around the crease area, the Flower isn't fazed. He manages to make a flashy windmill-like glove save despite the intrudence in his office.
9:47: Hartnell gets a pass from behind the net and gets a point-blank shot from just outside the blue paint. Somehow, some way, Fleury manages to stop him. Fleury is playing out of his mind right now.
10:23: Fleury was absolutely UN. BE. LIEVABLE on that penalty kill. After the Voracek chance I blogged about in my last entry, this is what happened: Giroux got a chance -- stopped by Flower. Jagr got a chance -- stopped by Flower. Briere was WIDE OPEN on the backdoor and Fleury not only stopped him on his first try, but on his second crack as well.
11:26: Voracek is all alone on the circle and has what seems like an eternity to shoot it -- and Flower denies him.
12:23: Biggest penalty kill of the series happening right now. Kennedy goes for slashing. Pens shorthanded.
12:50: Most of this period has been controlled by the Pens, but when the Flyers create a good chance of their own Fleury is there to stop it and cover it up. This is the Flower we know and love.
15:54: And now it's Bryzgalov who produces a big save when his team needs it most. Neal carries down the ice and rips a shot from the circle that Bryzgalov does the splits to snatch out of the air. Huge stop for the Flyers.
18:32: Niskanen's shot nearly gets deflected past Bryzgalov but skitters just wide of the net! The Staal line just had a monster shift. The crowd cheers accordingly as the tired group goes to the bench for a change.
|"20 more miles to go....#pens"
20:00: Puck drops to start the third. The Pens' season is on the line. They have 20 minutes to extend it. Here we go!
Though the Pens had a decent first period, they upped their game to another level in the second. The desperation level shone through as the players won puck battles and foot races all over the ice. Fleury has gotten into a groove and he's coming up with the big saves when his team needs them most. The Pens must keep this going in the third. Their season depends on it.
- I've been really impressed with Staal and Kennedy. They each have a goal and assist so far.
- Staal's goal was his league-leading sixth of the playoffs, equaling his postseason career high set through 20 games in 2008.
- Orpik leads the Pens with 17:24 minutes and 5 blocked shots.
|"Props to Fleury! He's the backbone of this game. #pensin7 #pens @GoPensHockey"
0:00: Pens take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Goals from Kennedy, Staal and Sullivan.
|"Flower continuing to make saves. Becoming a positive difference maker in this series #pens"
0:40: And the Pens kill this one off with a vengeance! I'd say that's their best kill all series. Fleury had to be their best PKer, and he was. His best moment came when he flashed the pad on Wayne Simmonds just 24 seconds in.
2:40: Malkin is called for interference and the Pens will go on a crucial penalty kill in the final minutes of this period.
6:01: Bylsma putting Crosby and Malkin on the ice together for a shift, joined by Chris Kunitz. He said the other day he would be looking for more situations to put 87 and 71 on the ice together.
|"I really think the Penguins could have sold out Heinz Field tonight. #Pens"
9:21: The crowd is absolutely deafening right now. The fans are really stepping it up right now. I can't hear myself think and I love it!!! Keep it going!
10:17: The Pens have had a lot of offensive zone time these past few minutes, and they get rewarded with a goal. Kennedy gets the puck at the circle and absolutely snipes one into the far corner of the net. At the start of every practice, TK shoots a whole bag of pucks from that area. Glad to see his work pay off. GOAL: KENNEDY. PENS 3, FLYERS 2
11:40: Wow -- Geno's line just created a number of incredible scoring chances on their last shift. I don't know how one of those didn't go in. They're buzzing.
|"Oh, I almost forgot... #ItsStaalGood #Pens"
13:45: In the depths of his own zone, Letang winds up and sends a long pass up the ice to Kennedy at the red line. He directs it perfectly to Staal, who's off on a 2-on-1 rush with Tangradi. Staalsy wires a wrister into the twine past Bryzgalov! He now leads the entire NHL in playoff tallies with 6. GOAL: STAAL. PENS 2, FLYERS 2
14:37: Sullivan gets a good chance in the slot off an Eric Tangradi rebound, but the Flyers collapse four players around Bryzgalov and Sully's shot can't penetrate the wall of orange.
16:59: Pens aren't able to create much with that man-advantage. Flyers thwart it and go back to full strength.
19:07: Giroux drives down the side of the ice and gets behind the Pens D. Fleury psyches him out with a fake pokecheck, so Giroux drops a pass to a trailing Jagr and 'Flower' gets his pad on the point-blank shot! The puck goes the other way and Pens draw a penalty on Lilja. To the PP we go!
20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Game on! Here we go!
The teams have been talking about the oddities and absurdities of this series and how they wanted to return to tighter, more playoff-like hockey. They've made good on that this period. Overall, the clubs played a controlled 20 minutes that wasn't defined by an outpouring of goals. However, the Pens did find themselves in penalty trouble -- and they paid dearly for it. The Flyers converted both a 5-on-4 and a 5-on-3 advantage to have the lead entering the first intermission. Looks like special teams will again be a big factor as it has been all series, as the Pens also converted one of their two PP chances.
0:00: That'll do it for the first. Flyers hold a 2-1 lead.
0:37: Pens kill off the rest of Addsy's penalty and go back to full strength.
2:25: The Flyers slowly and meticulously move the puck around the perimeter before it finds Briere at the backdoor. He sauces a pass over Orpik's stick to Hartnell, who lifts it top shelf for the 5-on-3 score. The goal negates the last 8 seconds of Malkin's penalty. There is now 1:50 left on Adams'. GOAL: HARTNELL. FLYERS 2, PENS 1
2:35: Pens will be down 2 men for the next 18 seconds as Adams joins Malkin in the box for slashing. This has been the most nerve-racking PK ever.
4:17: Pens head back to the penalty kill as Malkin is called for roughing.
5:09: And the Pens convert their power-play chance! Neal drops to Letang at the middle of the point, who slides a pass to a wide-open Sullivan at the backdoor. He doesn't miss the open net. GOAL: SULLIVAN. PENS 1, FLYERS 1
5:45: Fleury with a couple of huge saves on a Flyers shorthanded 3-on-1 rush. He stops the initial shot and produces an instinctive pad save on the rebound chance.
6:47: Pens are back on the man-advantage as Coburn goes for interference! First unit is again Letang, Sullivan, Crosby, Malkin and Kunitz.
8:15: Carle's wrister from the circle sneaks through traffic and past Fleury with two seconds left on the PK. It had been a solid kill up to that point. Here's a comforting piece of information, Pens fans: the team that's scored the first goal in each of the previous 4 games of this series has lost the game. GOAL: CARLE. FLYERS 1, PENS 0
10:13: Now it's Philly's turn to head to the power play as Engelland gets a pair for roughing. Huge kill here for the Pens. First four players out are Staal, Dupuis, Orpik and Michalek.
11:05: Fantastic job by Jordan Staal just now on his D-zone coverage, outmuscling a Flyers player on the wall and winning a battle to clear the zone.
12:07: Flyers kill it off and go back to full strength.
12:33: Most of the first unit stayed on the ice for the majority of that power play. Neal came out in the second wave and now Staal and Kennedy are seeing some time on the man-advantage.
14:11: And the Pens are on the power play! Simmonds is off for tripping. Pens starting with Letang, Sullivan, Malkin, Crosby and Kunitz as their 5-man unit.
15:30: The Malkin line produces some nifty passes to gain the Flyers zone, but a sliding block breaks up the play. Pens looking calm, cool and collected with the puck to start.
18:00: Flyers get a pseudo 2-on-1 chance that cumulates in Briere ripping a shot from inside the circle, but Fleury flashes the pad and denies him with a kick save! Crowd is entirely behind their goaltender tonight. Numerous roaring chants of "FLEURY! FLEURY!" have already rung out around the area.
19:27: Pens gain control off the puck drop, but when the Flyers get it back and go the other way, Coburn rings a shot off the post! Luckily it tings away harmlessly into the corner.
20:00: It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Puck drops to start the first. Game on!!!
If your adrenaline isn't pumping yet, check out the pumper video played in-game prior to puck drop...
Pens are again dressing 11 forwards and 7 D for tonight's contest.
Marc-Andre Fleury is in goal.
Note: James van Riemsdyk is in the lineup for Philly. Zac Rinaldo is scratched. Ilya Bryzgalov is in goal.
After getting down 3-0 in their best-of-seven opening-round series with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pens went into the hostile Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday and avoided elimination with a completely defiant and dominant 10-3 victory in Game 4 to force a Game 5 here in Pittsburgh tonight.
The Pens aren't looking at the bigger picture. They can't. All they can do is focus is winning the 60 minutes of hockey that await them tonight. It’s no longer a series. It’s just one game. They are going to be desperate and focused on winning it in order to keep their season alive, and need the support of the home crowd behind them to keep the momemtum on their side.
This morning, coach Dan Bylsma and captain Sidney Crosby made a call to arms for Pens fans everywhere:
Let's not disappoint them, guys. They need you more than ever tonight.
Both coaches provided some updates this morning on their lineups. Coach Bylsma said defenseman Paul Martin will not play tonight. We'll have to wait and see whether Bylsma opts to dress seven defensemen and 11 forwards like he did for Game 4. Coach Peter Laviolette confirmed that Erik Gustafsson is in for injured blueliner Nicklas Grossmann. For all the game-day updates (and interviews and videos and pics and more), check out the Pens Report.
Let's kick off tonight's blog with the Bee Gees' 'Stayin' Alive.' That's all the Pens need to do tonight. Live to fight another day. Here we go!