On Sunday afternoon, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Penguins, 5-1, in a hard-fought win to clinch their first-round series.
With the Penguins being picked to win the Stanley Cup by Las Vegas, the Flyers used this as motivation and wouldn’t accept anything other than defeating the Penguins in this series. The Flyers had a 3-0 series lead going into game 4, but a 10-3 embarrassment and a 3-2 loss at the hands of a rejuvenated Marc-Andre Fleury had many Flyers fans pushing the panic button.
With game 6 coming back to Philly, I expected nothing less than a super-hype crowd; “hyped” was an understatement for how amped Flyers’ fans were. Right before the Flyers touched the ice, Ilya Bryzgalov was standing in the tunnel with his head staring down the ground for a good two minutes straight. At this moment, you knew he was in the zone and ready for game 6. This held true throughout the whole game.
After losing the opening face-off, Flyers star Claude Giroux delivered a whopping hit on Sidney Crosby in the first six seconds of the game, setting the tempo. Just about 27 seconds later, Giroux was skating up the left side of the ice when ripped a shot past Fleury. No goalie in the league could have stopped that laser.
Claude and Ilya both led the charge Sunday afternoon in the big 5-1 victory. Bryz had 30 saves on 31 shots with Evgeni Malkin finding the back of the net 8 minutes and 34 seconds into the 2nd period.
Goals were also scored by Danny Briere, Erik Gustafsson, Scott Hartnell, and Brayden Schenn. Giroux finished with 1 goal and 2 assists, leading the rest of the NHL with 14 playoff points.
The Flyers will advance to the Eastern Conference semi-finals, which are likely to begin later this week or early next week. The Orange and Black will have some much deserved time off after a lot of blood, sweat, and tears were put into that last series. Philadelphia should be finding out who they are facing by Wednesday night.
The recent play of Bryzgalov, indicating improving health, the tone-setting play of Giroux, Briere, Schenn, and Couturier along with the growth of defensemen Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn has plenty of NHL fans taking notice of the other team from Pennsylvania.