- Well, now you understand why I hated #PensIn7 so much.
- I’ll just recap the game here. Series recap on Monday probably. Season Eulogy shortly thereafter. Eventually an offseason outlook. However, I will be shifting more to Kings coverage at thehockeywriters.com too.
Flyers 5 Pens 1
Goals: Malkin (3) (PP), unassisted
- The Flyers blocked 40 shots. That right there is a commitment to team defense and doing everything to win a game. The Pens had that back in 2009. They had nothing near that in this series. It’s an attitude and a mindset; it has nothing to do with talent.
- Sidney Crosby and Brooks Orpik, arguably the 2 biggest leaders on this team, came up with a -3 each in this game.
- Kris Letang played almost 32 minutes in this game, including over 13 minutes in the 3rd period. He did not play those 32 minutes well.
- Some players were good in spurts: Malkin at times, Neal, Staal, but no one was good enough throughout the game to get into this slot.
|He showed more effort, but the Flyers D definitely won the battle.|
- Well, Pens season is over, and it’s not because they weren’t the more talented team. The Pens lost this series because the Flyers showed more focus, more preparation, and more discipline than the Pens. That is simply unacceptable from top to bottom in the organization, and it is a VERY important lesson to a team of young stars that clearly thought they could win through anything, even a lack of work and willpower. It is a lesson that they should have learned without this defeat though.
- Bylsma clicked the panic button almost immediately after the Flyers scored, pairing Malkin and Crosby together and changing up the lines constantly. It was a pretty good sign right then that he didn’t know what to do and the Flyers were going to win this game. The strength of having 3 amazing centers is that you have to force 3 different lines to play against them. Pairing Crosby and Malkin together and then putting Staal on the 2nd line hurt Bylsma’s depth at forward by his own doing. Also, taking apart the team’s hottest line (Cooke-Staal-Kennedy) was a bad idea to begin with after the series they had.
|This team realized their destiny quickly.|
Steve Sullivan – I have praised Sullivan all series for his great effort and work ethic, but he didn’t show up in a big way today. He gave up the puck to Giroux that led to the Flyers’ first goal 32 seconds into the game. He also committed multiple turnovers at the blue line on the powerplay and made no impact in the offensive zone. In a series where the average play was turnovers and disappointment from the Penguins, Sullivan reverted to the mean in Game 6.
Kris Letang – I have no clue what is going on with Kris Letang, but I hope he takes the offseason to relax and get back to normal. He had trouble keeping pucks in at the points and his shot choices were flat out terrible. I can recall at least 5 times where Letang shot it directly into the shins of a Flyers defender. He also lost a foot race to Max Talbot, which is very unexpected for Letang’s skating skills. Letang never really came through in this series as the Penguins needed him.
Sidney Crosby – Sidney? Captain? Where are you? Crosby was quiet all game after getting rocked by Giroux on the very first shift. He often looked tentative and lacked the grit he usually plays with. I felt this was the worst game of his series and it looked like his least passionate. Now I know Crosby cares and I’m sure he tried, but he went quiet at the wrong time for his team. Captains can’t afford to do that.
|Giroux was the clear cut winner in this battle.|
The Ugly:- The reffing was, well, inconsistent as usual, but the Pens put themselves in bad situations on their own. A Caps blog had a perfect bullet point for all your reffing qualms: “Everyone seems to want to talk about the refs rather than the hockey in this series, so this bullet is reserved for complaints about the officiating. Please choose one answer from each bracketed section and you'll have some fine boxed whine. "The [a) call; b) non-call] against [a) my team; b) their team] when [insert player name] committed [insert infraction] was [a) unconscionable; b) proof that Gary Bettman has a conspiracy against my team; c) responsible for all of the problems in Africa]. Until the NHL can get some refs that are [a) good; b) consistent; c) Vulcans], the league will always be relegated to [a) niche; b) garage; c) bush; d) Mickey Mouse] league status."”
(Credit to: Rob Parker on Jasper’s Rink: http://www.japersrink.com/2012/4/22/2967119/recap-bruins-4-capitals-3-overtime)
- Reffing aside, it was another game of bad penalties. Cooke’s interference was simply stupid as he put himself in a bad position on the blue line where Kunitz had gotten called earlier in the series. The Flyers scored on the ensuing PP to make it a 2-0 lead, which apparently was insurmountable today. Niskanen also took a stupid slashing penalty late in the game, and honestly could have gotten a few more with the way he was whacking people. The discipline and hockey IQ on this team were not impressive through this series
Marc-Andre Fleury – I am frequently the one defending Fleury, but this Game 6 reminded me so much of Game 7 vs. Montreal 2 years ago. The first goal was a tough shot, but savable for a goalie of Fleury’s caliber who can come up with big saves. He then had a couple of weak goals from pucks bouncing around the crease area and also a horrible shot from the blue line that he let in. Yeah, the shot was deflected by Michalek’s stick, but it was so far out that Fleury is capable of reacting to it in time. The defense may not have helped him, but he didn’t help himself either.
|This picture...well it says a lot.|
- I can simply say, I expected a stronger, harder, and more furious start from the Pens, but they didn’t play with any urgency until it was too late.
- I was amazed that Neal a) forearmed Jagr in the back of the head at the end of the 1st period and b) got away with it. Shining example of players not learning anything from a 1 game suspension. I expect better conduct out of him.
- The Pens wasted a wonderful opportunity by displaying an amazing amount of immaturity early in the series. The problem with going down 3-0 is that, no matter how talented you are, you need 4 perfect games to move on. The Pens had 2 wonderful games, but stringing together 4 was asking for too much. This playoff team simply did not act like the team that put up 50+ wins in the regular season, but I’ll cover that more in the series recap and season recaps later this week.
- Also, give the Flyers a lot of credit in many facets. Laviolette coached brilliantly, Giroux showed up to play his best in the biggest game of the series, and their powerplay made a joke of the Pens penalty kill. They outplayed the Pens, no matter how much we all hate it. They earned the right to move on. It’s on the Penguins for not earning that right themselves.
Pens season is over.
Flyers win the series 4-2 and move on to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.