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ECQF Game 4: Penguins Break Double Digits, Still Face Elimination

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Eastern Quarterfinals, Game 4 -- Flyers lead series, 3-1
[Complete Coverage] - [Pittsburgh Reaction] - [Discussion Thread]
[Event Summary] - [PBP Log] - [TOI Log] - [Faceoff Report]
[Shift Charts] - [Head-to-Head TOI] - [Shot Differential] - [5-on-5 Faceoffs]

I'm honestly not sure what that was. It wasn't hockey. Has this been hockey this whole series? Doubtful.

The Flyers gave up a sawbuck of goals to their cross-state rivals tonight, including an absurd eight unanswered to earn their first playoff loss of the year. It was fun, then it was ridiculous, then it was surreal, then it was empty, then it was over.

Then it was bullet time.

  • Started well enough. The Flyers scored the first goal for the first time this series, which means that the team that scores first is now an inexplicable 0-4. The Flyers led 3-2 before it all fell apart.
  • Even saying it all fell apart doesn't do justice to how much it fell apart. The Penguins scored 8 goals in a row, the Flyers played laughably lazy defense, and couldn't even begin to kill a penalty. It was ugly, but so far from everything else we've seen from this team that it has to be considered more anomalous than discouraging.
  • After Ilya Bryzgalov was pulled after letting in 5 goals on 18 shots, Sergei Bobrovsky let in 5 goals on 18 shots. At least there won't be a goalie controversy, and at least Laviolette managed to shelter Bryzgalov from most of the nonsense.
  • Not just the goalies were at fault tonight, obviously. Plenty of other players deserve to be called out as well. Just because I've never heard anyone say anything bad about him before, I'll single out Matt Read. He wasn't good.
  • Before we first saw Zac Rinaldo put on a Flyer jersey, we heard all those crazy tall tales from the A.H.L. about him, and how he used to get suspended every other game for crazy things like garotting opponents with his skate laces or playing with a machete instead of a regulation stick. We really hadn't seen that Rinaldo in the N.H.L ever. But the look in his eyes when he shoved Michalek down to the ice made him finally look like the man capable of all that and more, like his meds had finally worn off. It was sort of amusing, sort of horrifying.
  • Although the slip in play from the Flyers is worrying, what should be more worrying is the improvement in the play of the Penguins' two biggest disappointments of this series, Marc-Andre Fleury and Evgeni Malkin. Fleury came into this game with a laughable >6 GAA and a <.800 save percentage, but he looked like an actual professional in the second and third. Game 5 is largely up to him, and hopefully the Flyers shooters treat him like an actual challenge for the rest of the series.
  • Neal comes back for Game 5, as does Adams. Will they be factors? Unlikely. It's hard to say in this series that either of these teams is really in need of more goal scorers...ever.
  • Arrogance wasn't the issue tonight, nor was overconfidence. Maybe this team was a little smug, though. Plenty of dirt had been thrown on the Penguins' grave in the two days between games, so you can understand why the Flyers thought they were dead and buried early in the first period. That's not a mistake this team is going to make twice. In other words....
  • No reason to panic, folks. All that happened tonight was that the Flyers fell one game short of pulling off a sweep. Would a sweep have been nice? Sure. Are there ways to win a series comfortably without sweeping? Yes.
  • This is the weird series that's four games in and doesn't feel like it's really begun. At some point real hockey will take over (almost certainly Game 5), and we'll see what happens. I don't know that "real hockey" helps the Flyers necessarily, but it certainly helps my sanity.

    Questions to Answer:

    1. What impact do Pittsburgh's lineup changes have on the game? Can the Flyers take advantage? Little, and no.
    2. Is tonight crazy like Games 1, 2 and 3 were? Super crazy. Baker's dozen yet again.
    3. Can the Flyers defense tighten up a bit? LOL.
    4. What about Ilya Bryzgalov? He looked slow, and not tight.
    5. Hey, uh ... can the Flyers score first? Yes. Not all it's cracked up to be.

    Comment of the Night:

    i had a dog get run over once, but then it won Game 5. --flyersfaninchicago.

    Still 3 down, still 13 to go. This is still happening. Go Flyers.

    (Stumped? Here you go.)

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