Pittsburgh fails to sweep series with 4-2 loss in Game #4
The Flyers take Game #5 to the Igloo
Game 4 – Philadelphia Flyers 4 – Pittsburgh Penguins 2
For the first time all series, the Flyers came out and played the role of the “Broad Street Bullies” they are stereotypically supposed to be. They won almost ever battle for the puck, finished every body check and finally got into the face of Marc-Andre Fleury. This game fit the Philadelphia style with its 10 roughing penalties and 58 total penalty minutes. The final seconds saw Pens Captain Sidney Crosby showing his frustration, starting a melee with Mike Richards after Pittsburgh had already accepted the 4-2 loss.
Philadelphia came out in the first period with their guns firing in all angles, managing 17 shots on net, to Pittsburgh’s 13. The home crowd wore their traditional Halloween colors and really enraged their home team to win. Joffery Lupul scored 8:27 into the first with assists from Scott Hartnell and rookie Ryan Parent. This goal was followed by two more home sided goals, both on the power play from Danny Briere and Jeff Carter to take a shocking 3-0 lead into the second frame.
After a much quieter second period without a single goal, the third brought much more drama. Jordan Staal scored an awkward goal, chipped the puck off Biron’s back and into the net for Pittsburgh’s first of the game at the 3:16 mark assisted by Tyler Kennedy and Maxime Talbot. That exact combination popped in another goal 14:16 into the third period, making it a one goal lead for the Flyers.
Lupul finished the game with 2 goals, as he put in the empty netter with 33 seconds left in the game. The newer version of the “Broad Street Bullies” held their ground, including a last second semi-riot to hold on to the 4-2 win and keep their hopes alive in this series.
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Philly played with a lot of passion, pride and devotion to their fans, while the Penguins almost played arrogantly cocky; assuming victory. Pittsburgh was not the flashy, fast team of games before, even though they finished with 38 shots on net. It was obvious to me and everyone watching, that the winning factor of the game was the intense, relentless, powerful fore-check applied by the Flyers.
Here are the key factors in this series as stated in our 2008 Eastern Conference finals preview:
Malkin has been very invisible ever since his game #1 heroism. His 2 shots were not impressive, but he did bring scoring chances around him. Overall, Malkin did get over played by Briere who was body checking as if he was 6 foot 5, 250 pounds. His power play marker was huge for his team, but his leadership, in particular, was more valuable.
Both goalies played like playoff veterans, with Fleury’s 30 save night and Biron’s night of 36 saves. The Flyers goalie finally earned his first win in this year’s conference final, but in game #5, he must prove this was not a fluke performance.
Braydon Coburn’s head was still too swollen to play with his 50 stitches, while Kimmo Timonen’s blood clot will keep him out for awhile. Ryan Parent played great in his replacement role in game #3 and played even better in game #4, recording an assist. Randy Jones and Jaroslav Modry also stepped up to help the Flyers win. Of course, it is a lot easier to play great defensive defense, when your forwards are skating back to prevent odd man rushes.
Excellent job by Philly, but I think it is far too late. The odds are badly against Philadelphia and Dallas since the last team to comeback from a 3-0 series deficit, were the 1975 New York Islanders, over 20 years ago.
This series gets an extra day off as Game #5 heads to the Igloo in Pittsburgh, Sunday night.
Pittsburgh leads series 3-1.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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