Yesterday, we made fun of Penguins fans for failing to sell out tonight's game against the Flyers in Pittsburgh. Then again, we can't really blame them for not wanting to spend their money on hockey tickets -- their team hasn't beaten the Flyers since October 17, 2013. That's $60 bucks that could go to a new goatee trimmer or some IC Lights instead.
Anyway, since the teams play tonight for the first time in almost 300 days, let's look back at teach of the Flyers' victories in this eight-game streak against the Penguins.
Nov. 13, 2013: Flyers 2, Penguins 1
It was the third game of a Flyers win streak, the first of what would be an eight-game streak (and counting, maybe) against Pittsburgh. Ray Emery won this one for the Flyers. Nicklas Grossmann was responsible for the goal against. Sean Couturier pissed off Evgeni Malkin in this one, too, as is standard.
March 15, 2014: Flyers 4, Penguins 0
March 16, 2014: Flyers 4, Penguins 3
From our recap of the Flyers' second win against Pittsburgh in two days:
It's pretty fun to watch the Penguins scramble to figure things out. By mid-way through the third period, Dan Bylsma had tried four different skaters on Sidney Crosby's left wing. I know they are still a dominant team in the league, but watching them struggle in any way gives me a welcome dose of schadenfreude.
April 12, 2014: Flyers 4, Penguins 3 (OT)
This was the one where Jayson Megna injured Steve Mason with a hot load of BS:
That hit could have been the chief reason the Flyers didn't win their playoff series with the New York Rangers. He missed the first three games of that series due to the injury caused here, forcing Ray Emery into the net for the start of the series. Emery twice gave up four goals, including a bad showing 16 save effort in Game 3 on home ice.
Mason returned in Game 4 and was solid all the way through Game 7, putting up multiple 30+ save efforts. It wasn't enough to win the series, but had Mason been in from the start, things may have gone differently.
Had the Flyers won that Game 7, they would have played the Pens in Round 2. (New York wound up beating them, too.) I guess you can call that a win, Pittsburgh, since playing Philly would have been yet another utter embarrassment for you.
whew i'm getting exhausted this is a lot of writing
October 22, 2014: Flyers 5, Penguins 3
Two pretty goals, and one flawless Chris Kunitz dive.
January 20, 2015: Flyers 3, Penguins 2 (OT)
This was the most fun game of this eight-game stretch.
Surely you remember it well: Zac Rinaldo threw a BS hit against Kris Letang, which was really bad. Pittsburgh became absolutely unhinged later in the game though, and we saw enforcer Zach Sill pick a fight with MICHAEL RAFFL, and other enforcer Bobby Farnham pick a fight with PIERRE-EDOUARD BELLEMARE. That worked out well for the goons.
Bellemare just clocked Farnham. pic.twitter.com/M4vv02rkgx— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 21, 2015
Pittsburgh Penguins fans can talk all they want about the evil Flyers, how they're the worst franchise in sports (!) and how they degrade the game, lowering their opponents down to a lowly step with 'em.
But only one team in Pennsylvania is currently carrying three goons / pests on their roster. Only one team in Pennsylvania spent Tuesday night sending their fighters after two guys who have never fought before. Only one team in Pennsylvania is leading the league in penalty minutes per game.
I think you can make a real case that the Flyers essentially goaded the Penguins into playing a style that limited their strengths, and that Pittsburgh fell for it.
Thanks for that, Penguins.
April 1, 2015: Flyers 4, Penguins 1
April 5, 2015: Flyers 4, Penguins 1
But it is painfully obvious by now to anyone who's watched these two teams over the last couple of years that the Flyers don't need their best effort, or really need to do much of anything, to beat the Penguins.
All it takes is one little stupid thing -- in this case, we'll call it Penguins Trade Deadline Rental Daniel Winnik cross-checking Sean Couturier towards the end of the first period, leading to a Flyers power play goal -- and you'd forget that they owned the entire first period. It just takes one little lucky bounce -- such as, say, Brayden Schenn having a puck pop off from his stick on the ice over everyone and into the net for the eventual game-winner -- for things to really start shifting. It takes just one little slip-up -- I don't know, maybe Evgeni Malkin hitting the post on a wide-open net with a chance to tie the game in the third period -- and suddenly all 40 players on the ice and benches know exactly how the game is going to end, and start playing like it.
It's not something I can totally explain, given (if we're being honest here) the discrepancy in talent between these two teams. But at this point, with today's 4-1 victory being the Flyers eighth straight win against our in-state rivals, it's something that we all see as sort of an inevitability whenever these two teams get together. It leads fans in the stands -- ones who are as ready for this miserable season to end as anyone -- to, 100 percent correctly, chant "you can't beat us" at their rival who sits 13 points above them in the standings. And it's lots of fun.
It is lots of fun. More tonight.