Pens-Flyers Game 6: In-Game Blog
Sunday, 04.22.2012 / 9:58 AM / 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Michelle Crechiolo
FLYERS 5, PENS 1
FLYERS WIN SERIES, 4-2
0:00: That'll do it. Flyers take Game 6, 5-1, and win the series, 4-2.
0:07: Schenn gets an empty-net goal with 7.9 seconds left. GOAL: SCHENN. FLYERS 5, PENS 1
1:10: Flyers are back to five men as they kill off the penalty, but Pens still have an extra attacker as Fleury stays on the bench.
3:02: It seems like the Pens capitalize when Neal shoots from the side of the net and buries his own rebound, but it's ruled goalie interference. No goal.
3:30: The Flyers still aren't giving the Pens anything. Pittsburgh hasn't really been able to create any solid scoring chances. But they're getting a great opportunity now as Gustafsson goes off for delay of game. Pens pull Fleury for the extra attacker. It'll be 6-on-4.
8:20: Jagr picks Staal's pocket in the corner of the Pens zone but is thwarted by a Fleury kick save. The Pens goalie hasn't seen much action these last few minutes as his team presses to keep their season alive.
9:53: The Flyers' penalty killers keep the Pens off the board. Philly is back at full strength.
11:54: Malkin draws a penalty in the offensive zone with a Herculean effort. He spins around Coburn and pins him against the boards, then dekes through the stick of another defender and gets a shot to the cage. Malkin is pulled down by Coburn on the play, who will go to the box. Pens to the PP.
12:17: Neal drives to the net hard, but one leg catches an edge and he stumbles as he tries to get a shot off (doesn't help that Timonen is covering him). The Pens winger is having a solid effort so far tonight.
13:30: The Pens look like they got some momentum off that big PK. They've produced a couple of decent shifts in the Flyers' end.
15:53: Pens killed that shorthanded situation off with a solid effort. They're now back to full strength.
18:15: Flyers get the Pens back on their heels from the drop of the puck, and Giroux draws a penalty in the corner when he is slashed by Niskanen. Pens to the PK.
|"If you believe it, anything is possible #Pens #stanleycup"
20:00: Puck drops to start the third. This is it. Game on.
The effort is there for the Pens. They're working their tails off. The Flyers are just executing better in all three zones. They're playing smothering defense in their own end, keeping the Pens on the perimeter and not letting them penetrate the inside; they're making short, hard passes through the neutral zone; and playing smart hockey in the offensive zone. They've built a 4-1 lead because of that, and the Pens are going to need absolutely monstrous efforts from all of their players in the last 20 minutes if they want to keep their season alive.
- Malkin (18:11) has the most ice time of the 3 big centers (Crosby, 16:07; Staal, 13:24).
- Flyers have blocked 22 attempted shots to the Pens' 11.
0:00: First 40 minutes in the books. Flyers have a tall 4-1 lead after two periods.
3:26: The two teams going back and forth these last few minutes, each side creating some good chances but none that are great. I have to give the Flyers D some credit. They are just smothering the Pens' best players whenever they try to get something going.
7:35: Flyers kill it off. The Pens did a good job getting to the front of the net, but just couldn't get a bounce to go their way.
8:43: Neal leaps past a Flyers D-man and rips a shot to the cage that deflects off Timonen and nearly fools Bryzgalov, who gets an arm on it but looks behind him to make sure it didn't get past him. Pens could use a lucky bounce right now.
9:53: Pens getting a power play here as Hartnell trips Letang. Absolutely crucial man-advantage for Pittsburgh.
10:50: And the Flyers answer just 36 heartbreaking seconds later on a mad scramble and some tough deflections off the bodies and sticks around the net. GOAL: BRIERE. FLYERS 4, PENS 1
11:26: The Flyers created a number of shorthanded opportunities and nearly capitalized, but the Pens go the other way and Malkin scores on a wrister from the slot. Huge power-play goal for Pittsburgh. GOAL: MALKIN. FLYERS 3, PENS 1
13:04: Now the Pens are doing a much better job getting to the front of the net. They're really making Bryzgalov work. Malkin just came centimeters from getting the Pens on the board when he lifted a shot over the Flyers goalie that rang off the crossbar. He drew a penalty on the play. Pens to the PP.
14:35: And the Flyers have built up a 3-0 lead. Rookie D-man Erik Gustafsson skates into the zone as his teammates get off for a change, winds up, and blasts a slapshot far side past Fleury. That looks like it may have deflected off Michalek's stick. GOAL: GUSTAFSSON. FLYERS 3, PENS 0
|"If the #Pens can shoot, I think the bears in the forest will come out. Unload on Bryz."
18:51: Geno's line strings together a strong shift in the offensive zone, but it's again more moving around the perimeter and not getting to the dirty areas enough.
20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Here we go. Game on!
The Pens did a lot of things right in that period, but there's a lot they can do better. They created a lot of offensive-zone time, but moved the puck around the perimeter too much. They need to get the puck to Bryzgalov more and make him work. The Flyers are playing some stingy defense, getting sticks and bodies in lanes and not giving their opponent much, but the Pens must find a way to penetrate that. Especially on the power play.
0:00: That'll do it for the first. Flyers take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. They have 10 shots to Pittsburgh's 9.
1:35: Two HUGE scrambles just happened, one during that Flyers PP and one right after the Pens killed it off. While they were scary to watch, the good news is that they didn't go in the back of the net. Sigh of relief.
3:48: Briere gets a pass from Schenn that puts him behind the D, and rookie Despres makes a great diving play and sweeps the puck away. Looked like a clean play, but he's going to get called for tripping. Pens on a huge PK here as the period winds down.
|"Fleury with some big saves in that sequence. Lots of time left, battle back. #Pens #Believe"
4:39: Flyers have the momentum now. They're coming on hard and forcing Fleury to come up with some big saves.
6:59: This is a tough goal to swallow. Fleury stops Giroux's initial slapshot, but it slowly trickles through his pads and although Vitale gets behind his netminder and whacks it away from the goal line, a diving Hartnell pokes it back through during a mad scramble. GOAL: HARTNELL. FLYERS 2, PENS 0
7:20: Cooke gets called for interference on Schenn and the Pens will be shorthanded with one of their best penalty killers in the box.
10:22: Giroux misses a bouncing puck on the blue line and allows the speedy Dupuis to wheel down the side of the ice. He tries faking a shot, but the Flyers clog up the lanes and the Pens can't create anything.
11:54: Giroux's goal was the only shot the Flyers have had so far this period. Pens are controlling the play and have kept the Flyers hemmed in their own zone. They're cycling well; just need to get to the dirty areas more.
15:46: Penalty expires and Flyers are back to full strength. Pens spent a lot of time passing around the perimeter and didn't get to the net enough. Solid kill by Philly, even with one player (Matt Read) losing his stick.
17:52: Staal's line has a good, solid shift in the offensive zone, and while they're working the puck, Briere high sticks Strait by the blue line. Pens get an early PP opportunity here. First unit is Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Sullivan and Letang.
|"The team that scores first has lost every game this series. #Pens"
19:28: Giroux, who sent Crosby flying with a hard check in the opening seconds of the period, gets time and space in the slot and wires a shot into the cage with pinpoint accuracy. Pens had failed to clear the puck right before that. GOAL: GIROUX. FLYERS 1, PENS 0
20:00: Puck drops to start the first in Philly. Game on!!!
Pens going with 11 forwards and 7 D for the third straight game.
Official line combos...
Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes.
Pre-game coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...
On Paul Martin’s availability:
Paul Martin will not be going for warmups, not available, lineup will remain game-time for everyone else.
On using 7 defensemen:
Given the situation we’re in, having played Brian Strait and Simon Despres, each guy gives an element that is important. Despres on the second power play, an offensive guy, Strait a more defensive defenseman. We saw (Strait) play more in the close game and both played a fair amount in Game 4.
On the line between being dominant and careless for Malkin:
We talk about we’re he’s at in his game and what he’s doing well. For our team right now, we’re on a one-game focus. Evgeni is on a one-game focus for his play as well. He needs to be at his best. Last game was probably the most emotional game for us in the series; it might seem odd after Game 3. For us, controlling our emotions and being on edge was a big part of Game 5. ‘Geno’ was a part of that. His emotions got the better of him in terms of how he was playing the game and not focusing on where it needs to be. We’re at a one-game focus for our team and that includes everyone, including Geno.
On if Malkin is aware when he crosses the line:
He’s fully aware of where we’re at, fully aware of where he’s at. He’s an intelligent guy in terms of the game. If anything, it’s something he has to let go of quickly. He knows better than most how he’s playing, where he’s at and what level he could be at. He’s a guy that has to understand it, but let it go and get back to playing at his level.
On the message to the team before Game 6:
It hasn’t changed since going into Game 4. We know where we’re at. We have one game. Our focus is right there, five minutes at a time and being at our best.
Good morning all! 12 noon is definitely an early start for a hockey game, but you know what? The earlier, the better because I can't wait any longer for this game to start. The Pens have cut what once seemed like an insurmountable 3-0 series deficit to 3-2, and a series that many thought would end in a sweep is now back in Philadelphia for Game 6.
While the Pens are pleased with what they've done in the last two games (especially Game 5) to put themselves back into contention in this series, they're not wavering from the mentality that's gotten them here.
"It’s still do-or-die for us," said center Jordan Staal, who leads the NHL with 6 goals this postseason. "It’s our mentality of playing it one game at a time, just five minutes at a time and keep chipping away. We’re hoping to go into Philly and do the same thing we did (in Game 5) and get the win."
Head coach Dan Bylsma addressed the media a short while ago and said that defenseman Paul Martin will not play in today's game. The rest of his lineup will be a game-time decision. Stay tuned to the blog for the official lines and scratches.
Since Pittsburgh is on the other side of the state in one of the league's toughest road arenas and is about to deal with an unwelcoming crowd over 20,000 strong, let's start the blog with a tribute to Pens nation. The action may have taken a break halfway through the second period of Game 5, but the fans at CONSOL Energy Center took the opportunity to show their support for their team. And they'll absolutely be doing that now no matter where they are!