Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Round 3 Game 3: Pens v Flyers (W 4-1)

A bit of sad news to start today's post: John Staal, the grandfather of Eric, Marc, Jordan, and Jared, passed away on Monday. Jordan did play in tonight's game, and former Penguin Mark Recchi has chartered a plane so Jordan can join his family for the funeral and not miss any of the playoffs. (The Recchin' Ball is one classy guy.) Our condolences to the entire Staal family.

I have to start out with saying the Versus announcers are almost unbearable to listen to. They are bar none the worst I've ever heard. Simply awful. They made me long to hear Paul Steigerwald's misidentifications and Bob Errey's wackiness again. What happened to Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk?! UGH. And I can't even use my XM Radio when games are on Versus because there is about a 3 or 4 second difference.

Wow. That's just gross.

The boo-birds were out in the Wachovia Center tonight, no more so than when Derian Hatcher was called for hooking Evgeni Malkin early in the first period. Flyers coach John Stevens had to be held in check by Jim Dowd because he was so upset. This would be just the beginning though - the refs were calling everything. On the ensuing Pens power play, Ryan Whitney bounced the puck (probably inadvertently) off Jason Smith and into the goal. [Pens 1, Flyers 0]

A little while later, Marian Hossa made an unbelievable move and shot the puck between the Lasse Kukkonen's legs (he was skating backwards right in front of Hossa, who was using Kukkonen as a screen). It was a lightning quick shot that Martin Biron likely never saw coming. [Pens 2, Flyers 0] The crowd became almost silent.

Okay, now you're going to have to pay attention here because, as I said, the refs were trying to call everything: Tyler Kennedy was given a delay of game penalty after he popped the puck up and over the glass. 27 seconds into TK's penalty, Daniel Briere was called for hooking. 25 seconds after that, Hossa was called for hooking. While the Flyers had the advantage on the 4-on-3, Mike Knuble threw the puck through the blue paint behind Marc-Andre Fleury. Lady Luck was on the Pens' side as the puck didn't slide into the goal. TK was then back on the ice, and then Briere came back to the ice. The Flyers didn't score on their advantage, but just as Hossa returned to the ice, Vinny Prospal centered a pass from behind the net that Pittsburgh native Penguin-killer RJ Umberger buried in the net for the even strength goal. [Pens 2, Flyers 1]

Right after Ryan Malone missed a chance, he was called for hooking (⇐ Seeing a pattern here?). The Flyers didn't score on their advantage. With less than 5 minutes left in the period, Sid and Geno made a series of passes that I can't even begin to describe. Then MAF went behind the net to play the puck. A Flyer was bearing down on him, so he attempted to get back into position, but he fell as he did so. He scrambled while the Flyers were trying to put it in, but somehow MAF managed to stretch his legs out, keep the puck out, and freeze it. (WHEW!) Sid was skating like a beast in the last minutes while he tried to add to the Pens' lead. The period ended with the Pens ahead by a goal.

The second period saw the Saint working like a champ. He did basically everything - but score. Biron made a nice save on Sid to keep the Flyers within one. Just after Jeff Carter took a good shot that Flower answered with a better save, Scottie Upshall used his leg to trip Geno. On the ensuing Pens power play, Mike Richards went on a shorthanded breakaway. Sergei Gonchar (who was unreal again tonight) made a beautiful diving poke check. Despite the fact that it was a textbook play, the fans began an "ASS-hole!!!" chant. The Pens didn't score on their advantage.

Versus then showed Braydon Coburn in one of the luxury suites. WOW, that looks awful! He required 50 stitches after taking a puck to the face early in the last game. His eye is still swollen shut, but he vows to return to the ice as soon as it opens up again. I assume he'll be sporting a cage if he's cleared to return, because that is one nasty cut. (It was hard to look at!)

The Flyers turned the puck over to Geno, who was screaming down the ice with 2 teammates. Randy Jones was the only Flyer back, and as much as it pains me to admit, he made a sweet diving block to prevent Geno's pass from getting through. (I think his teammates owe him a drink for that move!) Later the whistle blew for an offsides call, but for a split second we thought it would be for a penalty to Briere for slashing Brooks Orpik's wrist. (The Versus announcers actually suggested that Orpik was embellishing until they saw the replay. Does anyone know - are these the Flyers regular announcers? They were awfully biased.) The second period ended with the same score as the end of the first.

Flower made another near blunder when he gave he puck right to Joffrey Lupul. Ah, but who needs luck when you've got all that skill?! He quickly regained his wits and made the save. Briere later tripped over himself, but the crowd (and the announcers) wanted a penalty. The Flyers sealed their own fate when they gave the puck away to Geno, who had Petr Sykora and Bugsy close by. Geno fired a shot. Biron blocked it. Syko fired a shot off the rebound. Biron blocked it. Bugsy fired a shot - it went in!!! [Pens 3, Flyers 1] Syko, however, had to be helped off the ice after taking a big (late?) hit from Steve Downie as the goal was scored. (I'm not sure if Syko was hit before or after the whistle.)

On the very next play, TK had a break, but he was back checked well, so his shot was blocked by Biron. Staal's attempt on the rebound was blocked by Biron as well. Syko came back for his next shift, so that was a big relief. Mario Lemieux was shown in the stands looking very focused. Later, a wider shot of Le Magnifique was shown that revealed that he was sitting beside his wife, Nathalie, and behind them was Sidney's father, Troy Crosby.

Um, that doesn't look like preferential treatment to me, LOL!!!
(This picture was a great find by good Friend of The Show Michelle B.)

Mad Max Talbot lost his stick in his own zone, and we were able to hear a Pen yelling, "Maxi, Maxi, Maxi!!!" as he offered Max a new stick from the bench. At this point, the Pens brought out their trademark defensive shutdown strategy. They held the Flyers shotless until 1:12 left in the game when Biron was pulled in favor of the extra attacker. Less than 20 seconds later, Hal Gill sent a perfect tape-to-tape pass to Hossa, who then easily launched the puck into the empty net. [Pens 4, Flyers 1]

The game ended giving the Pens a 3-0 lead in the series. They are only the 4th team in NHL history to win 11 of their 1st 12 playoff games. (The last team to do so was the 1983 Edmonton Oilers.) The Saint was awarded the night's First Star honor, and with the assists from tonight's game, Sidney is now the playoff scoring leader!!! :)

Check out that sign on the left...

...I think a 3-0 series begs to differ.

One more game in Philly will be played on Thursday at 7:30pm Eastern. Then (if necessary), we're coming back to the 'Burgh! But let's hope we can avoid that. ;)

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Labels: , ,

Creative Commons License
The Sidney Crosby Show
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
(Based on all work at sidcrosby.blogspot.com.)