PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers and Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins go toe-to-toe prior to fighting during the first period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 15, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
For the second straight game, the Flyers dropped eight goals on the Penguins. That part was awesome. But unlike last game, Game 3 overfloweth with Pittsburgh bullshit that could leave its stench for the rest of the Flyers' playoff campaign.
Straight to the bullets.
Since the first goal in this series has meant absolutely nothing, of course the Penguins got it. It was the weakest goal Ilya Bryzgalov gave up thus far, but no one thought it would mean anything.
What was surprising was how little shortlived the lead was. Whereas the Flyers have normally saved their comebacks for later stages of games in this series, Max Talbot scored a super terrible goal to level the game at 1-1. It was a shorthanded goal, of course, because the Pittsburgh power play is a complete joke.
Elfin superstar Danny Briere then scored twice to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead, which really did seem to effectively ice the whole series. Unfortunately there was a lot of time left on the clock for nonsense to take over.
Everything spiraled out of control on the shift after Briere's second goal, which saw completely absurd fight pairings develop like Sidney Crosby-Claude Giroux and Kris Letang-Kimmo Timonen. The latter two got ejected, setting a tone of anarchy that would sadly rule the rest of the day. In some ways it was awesome, in that whole sort of "whoa, this shit is out of control, yo!" way, but you want things to stay in control when you are utterly dominating a series against a team that is no longer a relevant part of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Pittsburgh sucks, in case you didn't get my point already. Arron Asham, my favoritest Penguin, pulled off the dirtiest play since a few days ago when he knocked down Brayden Schenn after a clean hit, then punched him in the head after Canada's answer to Eli Manning was already on the ice. Asham got a match penalty immediately, and should be suspended for the remainder of the series. No place for that whatsoever.
The second period was mostly pretty calm, to the extent that a playoff period with four goals can ever be called calm. But that's what passes for normal in this series. It's gonna be weird if the Flyers play the Bruins or Caps in the next round, because those teams can't score to save their lives, and the Flyers score so much that it hardly merits getting excited over anymore.
Hockey prevailed for most of the third period as well, until James Neal got all sadpantsed about realizing that his season was almost over, and started targeting the heads of Flyers who have had concussions this year. After largely getting away with a headhunter on Sean Couturier (meaning that he didn't get deservedly ejected), Neal got a hard hit on Claude Giroux's head as well, which left Giroux dizzy and looking out of sorts the rest of the game. After Talbot scored to make it 8-4, he skated by the Flyers bench to high-five everybody and Giroux notably stayed seated, unable to stand. That Giroux has something wrong with him right now neurologically is almost beyond dispute. Here's hoping the Flyers quack medical staff is sage enough to at least realize that its not worth risking him again this series.
I just hope Game 4 is uneventful. How's 'bout a low-hitting 3-1 Flyers win? I'd like that. I also would like to be reminded that this team knows how to play defense, because at the moment I'm really not convinced. But they're winning, which is nice. This should be the first time in a while that the Flyers make the second round for three consecutive years, which is no small feat given the parity in this league right now. The 2010-12 streak would follow previous streaks from 1995-97 and an amazing mega-streak that went from 1973-81.
Sidney Crosby should lose a lot of respect around the league for how he handled himself today. Shut your mouth and go home, son.
There was a lot of bullshit in this game, for sure, and that's what I'll remember it for. But there was also a lot of fun. The Flyers just scored eight goals on the Penguins for the second consecutive playoff game. Think about that long and hard and try not to smile.
Remember in the last episode of BSH Radio when I said that the x-factor in this series would be Marc-Andre Fleury? I'm smart. Flower has been awful and that has made all the difference. He was finally pulled before the third, after giving up his 12th goal in the last four periods. If you saw that Dan Bylsma press conference after Game 2, you know how incoherent he's been lately. That he left Fleury in so long is evidence that it's carrying over into his in-game management as well.
A lot of Penguins better not be allowed to suit up for Game 4. Asham and Neal for sure, and I won't complain about a third if Brendan Shanahan is in the mood. Flyers might have to expect to lose Zac Rinaldo for a game as collateral disciplinary damage, just so the NHL can keep up a facade like this was not one team's fault way more than another's. Which it obviously was.
So there's two days off between this game and the next. Hopefully things calm down, because the Flyers can't afford the (brain) bruising that this Penguins team seems determined to give them while they still can. Can't we all just get along? Or can't they just forfeit?
Had over 3,000 comments in our three threads for today's game. Well done, BSH.
Questions with Answers
Pittsburgh defense has been awful, starting with Kris Letang. Can they buckle down at all? Eight goals allowed again, so, uh, no. Letang didn't make it out of the first period
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