Flyers dump Penguins
The Philadelphia Flyers, spurred on by a loud hometown Wachovia Center crowd, took down the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 on Sunday in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final matchup.
Claude Giroux, Danny Briere and Simon Gagne all had two-point games for Philadelphia, and 13 Flyers got onto the scoresheet. Goalie Martin Biron made 26 saves for the win.
Pittsburgh now leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.
"It was a huge game. We didn't want to go down 3-0 because that's a tough task," Briere said. "We have to enjoy it for a few minutes here."
Flyer forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards finally found the back of the net, scoring the first and second Philly goals to set the tone for the rest of the game.
Carter, who finished second in goals in the NHL regular season, and Richards were both held goalless in the first two games of the series.
Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin had a great night in a losing cause, scoring two of the three Penguin goals. Captain Sidney Crosby had two assists.
Though the score was 6-3 Philly, the shots were fairly even, as the Flyers only out-shot the Penguins 30-29.
Pittsburgh was 1-for-7 on the power play, and the Flyers were 1-for-6.
Philadelphia has overcome a 2-0 series deficit only twice, but one of those times was back in 2000 against the Penguins.
"It was more than another game for us today, coming back home in the hole that we were in," Biron said.
"You saw the desperation that carried on through the game. The emotion was definitely there and that's the way we've been successful all year."
The Flyers faithful were almost all decked out in orange and were loud from the opening faceoff.
The fans had something to cheer about very early. Philly forward Carter danced through the Penguin zone and made a beautiful toe-drag with the puck, freezing defenceman Sergei Gonchar and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury before he backhanded one into the net at 2:59 of the first period.
It was 2-0 Flyers just minutes later, thanks to a power play goal at 5:14. Philadelphia forward Mike Richards threw a puck from the corner out in front of the Pittsburgh net, which was deflected into the goal by a Penguin defender.
Philly scored on its first two shots of the game.
Massive hit from Kunitz
It looked like Pittsburgh forward Chris Kunitz wasn't too happy with the Flyers' fast start, as he landed one of the most punishing hits so far in the Stanley Cup playoffs seconds after Philly's second goal.
Kunitz caught Kimmo Timonen with his head down while the Finn was coming around the Philadelphia goal, and Kunitz levelled him with an open-ice hit. The collision nearly flipped Timonen right over on his head, but to his credit he bounced back up and didn't miss a shift.
The end result of an intense first period? Two fights and 32 total penalty minutes.
Things then turned sour very quickly for Philly.
Pittsburgh's Malkin cut the Flyer lead in half with 12 seconds left in the first. Penguins winger Maxime Talbot fired the puck from the corner out to the Russian sniper, who put it through Martin Biron's legs before the Philadelphia goaltender knew what had happened.
And just 13 seconds into the second, Rob Scuderi one-timed a pass from Crosby past Biron.
All of a sudden, the wild Wachovia Center crowd was silent and it was a brand new game.
"We knew they would come out charging in the first period and that's what they did," Crosby said. "I would have liked to weather it a bit, but we still got ourselves back in the game."
But the crowd roared again when Giroux scored at 4:32 of the second period to regain the Flyer lead.
Philly forward Darroll Powe took a shot on the rush, and Pittsburgh goalie Fleury left a juicy rebound for Daniel Briere to snatch up. He slid the puck across the crease to Giroux, who slid it into the empty cage.
A shorthanded goal put Philadelphia up 4-2, and again it was Giroux who was at the centre of the action. He held off two Penguin defenders in the Pittsburgh zone before passing the puck across to Gagne, who put one by Fleury for his third goal of the post-season.
It could've been 6-2 or 7-2 after the second, as the Flyers hit the post three times in the frame.
In any event, Philly salted the game away at 3:42 of the third, as Jared Ross scored to make it 5-2.
Pittsburgh's Malkin scored his second of the game and fourth of the playoffs at 8:30, and Gagne added an empty-netter at 18:24 for his second of the game.