NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Philadelphia|
(Sunday, April 22nd)
Final Score: Philadelphia 5, Pittsburgh 1
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Claude Giroux knocked down Sidney Crosby
in the opening seconds of the game and the Philadelphia Flyers finally knocked
the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Penguins had won each of the last two games in the Eastern Conference
quarterfinals to stave off elimination, but Giroux followed up his early hit
with a goal and an assist in the first period to propel the Flyers to a 5-1
victory in Game 6 of the series at the Wells Fargo Center.
Giroux picked up another assist on Erik Gustafsson's first playoff goal to
give Philadelphia a 3-0 lead in the second period and Danny Briere also scored
moments after Pittsburgh had appeared to pick up momentum with a goal from
The Flyers, after winning the first three games of the series, avoided a trip
back across the state to Pittsburgh for a potential Game 7 with their best
defensive effort of the set. The Penguins had scored at least three goals in
each of the first five games, but could only dent Ilya Bryzgalov once on 31
"I think winning all series, winning games, winning series, that's what it's
about in order to get to where you want to get to as a group," Flyers head
coach Peter Laviolette said. "At some point, you have to go through really
good teams, all teams are good."
Philadelphia became the first Eastern Conference team to advance in the 2012
playoffs and won't learn its second-round opponent until later this week.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 18 shots for Pittsburgh, which was eliminated in the
first round of the playoffs for a second straight season. The Pens were ousted
by Tampa Bay in seven games last spring.
"I want to congratulate the Flyers organization on the series win but, I
really can't wish them good luck though," Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said.
It didn't take long for the Flyers to set the tone Sunday, thanks to Giroux,
who finished with 14 points to set a team scoring record for one playoff
series. After burying Crosby with a check just moments after the opening
faceoff, he scored an unassisted goal a few seconds later.
Giroux intercepted a Pittsburgh clearing attempt at the blue line and snapped
a quick shot from the top of the left circle past Fleury for his sixth goal of
the series just 32 seconds into the game.
"He was possessed. I think he sent the tone, just plain and simple, as that he
just said I want to win," Briere said of Giroux.
In each of the first five games, the team that scored first went on to lose.
Not this time.
The Flyers killed off a Briere high-sticking penalty early in the first and
cashed in their first power play with 6:59 left in the opening period to build
a 2-0 edge. Giroux's one-timer from the left circle was stopped by Fleury, but
the puck fell loose underneath the netminder and Scott Hartnell dove to poke
Bryzgalov stopped all nine shots he faced in the first period and the Flyers
added a third goal at the 5:25 mark of the second when Gustafsson sent a
harmless wrist shot toward the net just after he crossed the blue line. The
puck appeared to clip the stick of a Pittsburgh defender and changed direction
slightly as it sailed past Fleury.
The Penguins tried to creep back into it on a power play just over three
minutes later. Fleury stopped a shorthanded Philadelphia chance and Malkin
went the other way, beating Bryzgalov with a shot from the right circle for
his third goal of the series at 8:34.
It took the Flyers just 34 seconds to quell any Pittsburgh momentum, as Briere
was credited with his fifth goal. He sent the puck toward the front of the net
and it caromed off the knee of Penguins defender Zybnek Michalek before
squirting through Fleury.
Pittsburgh killed off an early penalty in the third period, then had a chance
to make a game of it at the 8:06 mark when Philadelphia's Braydon Coburn went
off for hooking.
Bryzgalov turned aside a couple of Pittsburgh attempts during the power play
and the Flyers also got the benefit of an official's call late in the third
when it appeared that James Neal had scored with 3:02 remaining during a 6-
on-4 skating advantage with Fleury pulled during a power play.
Neal's shot was stopped by Bryzgalov, who was then pushed into the net. The
puck soon followed across the goal line and it was initially called a goal,
but quickly overturned.
Brayden Schenn then sealed it with an empty-netter in the closing seconds.
Giroux's 14 points eclipsed the old Flyer mark of 12 set by Bill Barber in the
1980 semifinals against Minnesota and matched by Briere in the 2010 Stanley
Cup Finals...The Flyers set a team playoff record with 12 power-play goals in
the series, surpassing the old mark of 11 accomplished against Pittsburgh in
the 1989 division finals...The teams combined for 25 first-period goals in the
series to tie an NHL record for one playoff series.
04/22 19:15:55 ET