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Flyers End Penguins Season with Decisive Game Six Victory

A loss in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals would not have been the last chance for the Philadelphia Flyers to advance to the next round, but it would have been an uphill climb against a talented Pittsburgh Penguins club if they allowed them to tie the series.

Implementing team defense for the first time this series, the Flyers gave a complete sixty-minute effort on their way to a decisive 5-1 victory against their cross-state rivals.

Claude Giroux set the tone of the game early by standing up Sidney Crosby within five seconds of puck drop and scoring 27 seconds later. While Giroux’s line with Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell caused all sorts of havoc for the Penguins’ defense during the game, it was Giroux who finished the game with an unbelievable 24:48 of ice time and the series with a record fourteen points in six games.

Hartnell scored on the powerplay to widen the lead early in the first, sliding into the crease as the puck floated loose between goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s pads. The Penguins would finish the game with two more powerplays than Philadelphia, but the officiating was top notch following some questionable non-calls earlier in the series.

The turning point of the game was rookie defenseman Erik Gustafsson scoring a wrister from just above the blue-line at the 5:25 mark of the second period. What should have been a routine stop for Fleury sailed right past him along with the Penguins’ resolve. Gustafsson finished 3rd in ice time among Flyers defensemen, as Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn ate up significant minutes for the second straight game.

Evgeni Malkin put the Penguins on the board with a powerplay goal in the second period. Matt Read and Andreas Lilja gave the Hart Trophy winner too much ice to work with and he beat Ilya Bryzgalov cleanly.

The nail in the coffin came just 34 seconds later, as Danny Briere took a sharp angle shot on Fleury that, once again, sat loose between his pads. Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik attempted to fish it out, but inadvertently pushed it in.

Not wanting to sit on a three goal lead (which would be unheard of in any other series), coach Peter Laviolette relied heavily on his best defensive forwards. Sean Couturier, Eric Wellwood, Max Talbot and Jake Voracek were each double shifted through the second half of the game while Matt Read, James van Riemsdyk, and Wayne Simmonds saw their ice time reduced.

James Neal scored on a late powerplay in the third period, but the officials waved it off on the grounds that Neal pushed Bryzgalov in the net while the puck was in his glove. Brayden Schenn scored the empty net goal to end the game for good.

As solid as Bryzgalov was in net, a lot of credit has to go to the team in front for limiting the scoring chances. The Flyers blocked 40 shots (!) against Pittsburgh compared to their 14 blocked shots. Including blocked and miss shots, the Penguins ultimately attempted 88 shots compared to the Flyers’ 47.

The time off this week should help give some much needed rest to the players without taking them away from the rink for too long. The team, having put together such a complete, all-around game today has given them a template to build off of in the next round.

A few more series need to wrap up before the next opponent will be decided, but for now, the Flyers own bragging rights against the Penguins until the next time they meet in the play-offs.

UPDATE:  Natalia Bragilevskaya, reporter for Sovetsky Sport (who usually translates for Sergei Bobrovsky during interviews), quoted Evgeni Malkin on twitter: “Philadelphia and St. Louis will meet in the Finals.” Hell of an endorsement from Malkin, no?

For the latest Flyers news and updates, you can follow me on twitter (@JoshJanet).

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Posted by on Apr 22 2012. Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL, Player Rankings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

20 Comments for “Flyers End Penguins Season with Decisive Game Six Victory”

  1. Giroux was on point from the first drop of the puck. Proved to be the best player in the series and that includes Crosby and “cheap shot” Malkin. So much for the one and done predictions, Flyers blew their load and Penguins got their swagger back theories. Just sit back and enjoy playoff hockey without trying to be the “first to post it.” Hopefully they get Grossmann and Mezaros back soon and can make a real run into the spring and bring us right into Eagles training camp.

  2. Nice win. Also pretty good 4 th line we have, 60 plus goals with those guys….jvr, read, and Simmonds. If mezaros and grossman get healthy look out

  3. Great all-around game by the Flyers, they saved their best overall performance for the most inportant game of the Series.. Congrats to them as they move forward and with the Rangers and Bruins have tough battles of their own, the door is wide open for a Stanley Cup if they can play the disciplined and smart hockey that they played today…

  4. Giroux might be the best player in the NHL they really have a good shot to win the Stanley Cup!!!!

  5. Especially if the Rangers lose in round 1 it there for the taking!!!

  6. Hey Paul, I don’t mean to start any trouble. Didn’t you say the Flyers wouldn’t make it past the second round and then change it to the first round once we were playing the Penguins? You know football my friend, however, hockey is not your strong suit. They Flyers, right now, are the best team in the East. We showed we can come back from 3 goals down. We showed we can go goal for goal with the best offense in the league. We showed we can get blown out one game, and turn in the best defensive effort of the season the next. We win at home, and we win on the road. We have the best PP and a top notch PK. We have 2 fabulous scoring lines. A shut down checking line that can pitch in and a 4rth line that brings energy every shift. We are finally getting healthy. This is the team to beat in the East and as I said, right now, the team to beat overall. Not trying to get a head of myself, but, if everyone said Pitt would win the cup before the playoffs started and they would end us in 5 to 6 games; doesn’t that make us the team to beat?

  7. No Claude Giroux might be, he is the best player in the NHL today, period. I stated that he was a few times now, seems that everyone has started to take notice which is great. Hes better than Crosby, Malkin and all the rest. I also said that if the flyers win this series they will win the Stanley Cup. And i stand by that. I think the Fly guys win it all this year.

    Deasr- Good job calling paul out on that. He seems to think we forget when he makes predictions then back tracks and is dead wrong all around haha… Enjoyed your other points too.

  8. I am happy the Flyers won, but do remember that both Teams Defenses were terrible for 5 of the 6 games this Series.. Let’s see who they do against a strong defensive team with better Defenseman and Goalie play then we just witnessed in the Penquins Series.. It’s one series and if the Rangers/Bruins both lose their Seires, than it’s anyone’s Eastern COnfernce to grab..The bottome line is if the Flyers can play like they did today which wassmart, disciplined Hockey and get solid D and Goalie, then they can play with anyone… But remember today was a great all-around effort and this is what’s it’s going to take to keep adncing from here on out, the Series and games will get tougher and tougher as they always do the further you advance..

  9. for the Record, I remmeber stating back in Ocitober that the Flyers were Claude Giroux’s Team and that he should be the Captain instead of often injured Chris Pronger who was going to be a 40-50 game player at the most to begin with this year and many of you laughed saying he was too young and that Flyers screwed up by naming Mike Richards the Captain the last couple of years and I stated that Giroux was not the same immature and self-centered player that Richards was and that Giroux was mature beyond his years..I am happy for th Flyers and the Fans, Keep it going, but please stop by saying since the Flyers beat the Pens that they are in some way a shoe in for the Stanley Cup FInals for it doesn’t work that way.. It takes 3 difficult Series WIns to get there and teh FLyers completed the 1st Step..

  10. Good article, JJ.
    Giroux was a man possessed, & on a mission from the drop of the puck. As soon as he hit Cindy, he took his manhood & he played with his tail between his lady parts, for the rest of the game. That line was virtually doing things at will, for most of the game. JJ, as I stated after the last game, “if they lose game 6, they are going to lose the series.” Thank God it didn’t come to that. Now we gotta hope that the Bruins (1-4) & Rangers (0-6) get knocked out of their next games, because we don’t match up very good against either of them. Give me Florida (3-1), NJ (3-3), or Washington (4-0). We match up a lot better with Washington & then Florida, preferably.
    GO FLY BOYS!!! GO NFL DRAFT!!! BRING IT!!!

  11. Everz, Meszaros is done for the year, so he ain’t coming back & Grossman has a concussion, so who knows with him. The good thing is Pittsburgh is probably the best Offensive team that we would have had to meet in the Eastern Conference, so that’s a plus. Washington is winning, but they have benched Ovechkin twice in the series & we match up good with them, IMHO. I definitely don’t fear Florida either. The Devils are DF first, & NYR & Bruins are nightmare scenarios, & I don’t want to face them. They need to get knocked off, so we get Home-ice advantage for the next 2 series. That would be SWEET!

  12. Paul, in noway, shape, or form, do I want to give Giroux the Captaincy. Every-time we rush a kid into the title, it doesn’t work out. It needs to go to a good veteran, ala- Timonen, or Talbot. In a few years yes, but not now. Dude is just starting to come into his own, let him grow into the title. He started yesterday, with the monster hit on Lady parts, & the goal to start the game. No to the Captaincy. Give it to Kimmo, or Weber, when we bring him here in the off-season. LOL, that’s for you JJ!!

  13. Paulman predicted early exit for flyers, then when wrong, which is usual, follows up with his ” great win for the (insert any of the home teams he routinely picks to fail, especially phillies), paulman has no passion other than to be right on the idiot board of gcobb

  14. and it won’t be the last time I am wrong Jakedog who I predict will spill hot coffee down his Flyers Jersey today while on the way to the office..

  15. I wouldn’t mind seeing G get the “C” after the season. Richards admitted that he didn’t want the “C” that fast. He was a a very good leader on the ice but off of it had a lot to learn. They have taken the right approach with G. He lived with Danny for a couple years and learned how to handle all the pressure on and off the ice. G is ready for the “C”. But, the Flyers aren’t ready to strip it from a man who got severely injured playing for their team. This team doesn’t need any added pressure. And who ever said Mezz was done is not correct. Their is a good chance that he will be back this round and definitely the ECF if we were to make it. Grossmann was being held out. I have a feeling if we had lost yesterday, you would have seen him in the line up Tuesday. Luckily we have almost a week to rest and heal. Plus, my silly 2 cents, Danny B is worth every penny on and off the ice. He may not put up stellar numbers every regular season. But his play in the post season, his leadership on and off the ice and just his demeanor as a representative of the Flyer’s organization is reason enough to keep him til the end of his contract.

  16. Great win, but it only gets tougher from here. No one can run and gun with the flyers but defensive teams like the NYR will be tough. Can they beat them yes, let’s remember bryzgalov is capable of playing like a top 3 goalie, and he will. Rumor is he plays lights out in months that begin with m. Remember the month of march? Got to love our 4th line….jvr,read, and Simmonds. Get this defense healthy and we are in for a good run.

  17. I agree Desar and was thinking for next Season (about Giroux & Captaincy)..

  18. I really think that we all need to be the biggest Senators fans right now. And really Cap’s fans as well. Those are the teams that we don’t want to see. Alhough, if the Flyers play like they did yesterday, then they will be hard to beat. We will have to see how the scoring goes, because none of the remaining teams have Fleury in the net.

    There is a big difference between Giroux and Richards, so I have no problem with him getting the C next year. Although I could also see Timmonen, Hartnell, Danny B, Talbot. There is no shortage of leadership on this team. If Pronger doesn’t come back, and they go balls out and sign Weber, then I don’t want him as the Captain. He can have an A, but you have to earn the C on this team. Not by prior rep, but by how you play here. At least, with this current crop of players.

  19. Good article JJ. Agree with DCar that I’d hold off to name Giroux captain, even though he displays some characteristics of good captain already. Though I Laviolette knows his players much better than Stevenson ever did!! Timmo unfortunately will not be around much longer as he’s looking to retire and spend time with family. Talbot is good, but really not sure how much “impact” he has in locker room, and same with Hartnell. Coburn is then longest-tenured but he’s not captain material. Homer has to get a TOP d-man, Pronger-type (or two) in here for next season to take load off Grossmann who’s paying a price expected to do so much “heavy work”.
    Eliminating Pens and being one of teams who started playoffs early will work to their benefit in healing. And Lavy can get together a plan and work with these kids brought up onto roster so they can help out if necessary.
    I’d not state Flyers are the best in East until they prove it; top defensive teams with tough goalies (Boston and Rangers) made them eat crow meat all season and there are some awfully strong teams with hot goalies arising in the West if they should happen to reach finals… Kings with Quick, Preds with Rinne and Blues… all of whom shut out or whooped Flyers at Wells-Fargo this season.

  20. Iggles, none of these teams shut us out or whooped us. Kings beat us in OT. We beat Nashville(I was there) and Blues got us like 4 to 2 or something. We can hang and beat any of those teams in a 7 game series. Blues would be the hardest IMO. Getting there will be tougher than the SCF I think.

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