The Flyers beat the Penguins today 6-3 and took sole-possession of second place in the East and now trail the New York Rangers by only two points with about a hundred games in hand.
B&P’s Take: Honestly the best game of the year for the Flyers. They played a strong, solid 60 minutes and Marty Biron made key saves when he needed to keep the team going. The power play was awesome, notching four goals. The Pittsburgh defense didn't look all that good, while the Flyers did an excellent job on the defensive end. In fact, the Penguins didn't have a shot on goal for I believe almost the first eight minutes of the third period, and the Flyers owned the entire second period with strong pressure in the Pittsburgh end practically the whole time. Just a solid game top-to-bottom and all around.
B&P’s Three Stars
- Mike Knuble
- Simon Gagne
- Martin Biron
Turning Point of the Game: I'm going to go with the Flyers third goal. The Flyers had a 2-0 lead when Jordan Staal put one by Marty, and the Flyers third goal, scored by Mike Richards halfway through the second period. It really took the wind out of the Pittsburgh sails and allowed the Flyers to coast to victory.
Questions With Answers: I asked five questions in the gameday post. Here they are, reprinted, with their answers. All credit for this idea goes to Hockey Wilderness.
1. Who fights first? And why? While there were a few scrums earlier, the first fight of the game didn't come until the third period. Eric Godard put his stick between the legs of Scott Hartnell on a faceoff, which seems a little ridiculous considering Godard is a heavyweight and Hartnell is far from it. Hartnell got a bit of a sucker punch real quick from Godard, but give Hartnell credit for shaking it off and then dropping the gloves. Godard then dropped Hartnell quickly, but he'd get the instigator penalty and Joffrey Lupul scored on the ensuing power play.
2. Will the defense be able to contain Crosby and Malkin? If they do, will the Penguins supplementary scorers, such as Sykora and Dupuis, take control? Jordan Staal, Eric Godard, and Ruslan Fedotenko scored for the Penguins today. Malkin had one assist, while Crosby was most visible today through the crowd's chanting.
3. Will the Flyers use the momentum from Thursday night’s comeback win to their advantage, or do they even have momentum coming into Saturday given Pittsburgh’s romp over the Islanders? Yes! It all started on a big save by Biron on an Evgeni Malkin shot about 30 seconds in, and then the Flyers kept the pressure. The refs tried to keep the game tight in the first by calling a barrage of penalties, and the Flyers took advantage by scoring two power play goals in the first period. Perhaps the best first period of the season by the Flyers.
4. Can the Flyers play a complete 60 minutes of strong, like-the-third-period-on-Thursday hockey, or will they snooze through the first 40 minutes again? YES! Some of us thought it might never happen, as they were able to squeeze out wins without strong, complete games against weaker teams. But that's not possible against the Penguins, and it looked like the Flyers knew it.
Best game of the season. I love this team.