by Tony on 02/21/09 at 07:44 PM ET
In the scoresheet, it’ll just show a Sidney Crosby goal at 17:15 of the third period. But anybody who watched this hockey game will tell you it was anything but normal.
Crosby’s deflection of a Pascal Dupuis pass, coming after Martin Biron had to release the puck about 20 feet out of his crease, ended up being the game-winner for the Penguins in their 5-4 win this afternoon in Philly over the Flyers.
It was your typical Pens-Flyers bruhaha, filled with plenty of big hits and swinging sticks. But at least this time, as compared to previous meetings this year, the Penguins matched the aggression the Flyers were throwing around, and quite frankly were the better team today. The Penguins are now 4-1 this year vs. the Flyers.
The Penguins dictated most of the play in the first period, but Marty Biron had an excellent period, stopping quite a few good scoring opportunities. That included 1:49 of a 5-on-3 powerplay for the Pens that was unsuccessful. As a result of that, combined with a good cycling shift by the Flyers, it was Philly that got on the board first midway through the period. After several unsuccessful attempts by the Pens to get the puck out of their zone, the Flyers put a few pucks on net. Finally, Joffrey Lupul, who always seems to play well against the Pens, grabbed a loose puck in front of Marc-Andre Fleury and threw a backhander that Fleury couldn’t stop to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
IHCDB started the second period with Crosby and Evgeni Malkin together on the first line and it paid immediate dividends. Malkin brought the puck in the Flyers’ zone on a 3-on-2 break and fed the puck to Ruslan Fedotenko. Fedotenko left the puck for Crosby, who was directly behind him. Perhaps shielding Biron for a second, Crosby quickly fired a snap wrister that rang off the post and into the net to tie the game at one only 21 seconds into the period.
The Pens padded their lead about seven minutes into the period on the powerplay. Ryan Whitney fed Sergei Gonchar at the center point for a one-timer that was deflected not once but twice. Petr Sykora got the first stick on the puck, then Malkin’s to put it past Biron to make it 2-1 Pens.
That lead increased to 3-1 on another 3-on-2 break. Crosby brought the puck into the Flyers’ zone and fed it to Pascal Dupuis. Dupuis then quickly made a cross-ice pass to Fedotenko, who fired a one-timer from the right slot that rang off the post and into the net at the 12:09 mark.
However, as could be expected, the Flyers weren’t close to being finished. While the Flyers were short-handed, Mike Richards intercepted a terrible cross-ice pass by Ryan Whitney, skated in alone on Fleury, and backhanded a shot through his five-hole for the short-handed marker to cut the Pens’ lead to 3-2.
It only took a few minutes for the Flyers to tie it up. On another extended Flyers possession, Braydon Coburn took a cross-ice pass from Matt Carle and fired a one-timer from the right point that Fleury couldn’t stop to make it 3-3 with 13:23 remaining in the game.
But just when the Flyers seemed to grab all of the momentum, the Penguins retook the lead. A great individual effort by Pascal Dupuis behind the Flyers’ goal allowed him to keep possession of the puck and feed Crosby. Crosby then made a backhanded feed to Fedotenko in front of the net, who fired a wrister past Biron to make it 4-3 Pens.
Philly came right back a few minutes later and took advantage of some bad Penguins luck. On the faceoff in the Penguins’ zone, Gonchar immediately broke his stick. Max Talbot gave his stick to Gonchar, which allowed Simon Gagne to feed the puck to Richards, who Talbot was defending. Richards then fed the puck to Mike Knuble who was in front of the net to one-time it past Fleury to tie the game back up at four.
It stayed that way until there was under three minutes remaining. Whitney made a long pass to Dupuis at the Flyers’ blueline. Dupuis didn’t have complete control of the puck, so Biron came out to meet him. Biron temporarily grabbed the puck, but in his haste not to get called for covering the puck out of his crease, dropped the puck behind him. Dupuis grabbed the loose puck and backhanded it to the Flyers’ goal, where Crosby was able to chip the puck just before Matt Carle could clear the puck and into the net for the 5-4 game-winner.
- Much like some Flyers fans towards Crosby, I continue to hate Mike Richards, but just ‘cause he’s such a great two-way player.
- The Pens ended up 1-for-4 on the powerplay.
- Kris Letang was a healthy scratch again, along with Bill Thomas.
- The entire first line of Crosby, Dupuis and Fedotenko were +3. Sykora was -3.
- Crosby won 13 of 20 faceoffs.
Another day, another huge game tomorrow for the Pens in D.C. against Alex Ovechkin and the Caps at 12:30.
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