Hartnell is the perfect kind of villain. He always has been.
In this one, the Pens jumped out to a 2-0 lead and then let the Flyers completely take the game over. Kind of glad this happened, though. Pens may have gotten a sense of entitlement when Crosby came back and haven't played the same kind of hockey they've played all season. It's a blessing in disguise that the Flyers introduced the Pens to playoff hockey now instead of games 1 and/or 2 in a couple weeks.
As for the ending to this game, it was beautiful. We would be singing a different tune if the Pens had sent out guys that were slashing people and trying to deliver headshots. Instead, the Pens had sent out ArronAsham, Craig Adams, and Joe Vitale: not exactly a group of guys you would call "thugs." Danny Briere forgot there was still time on the clock and didn't keep his head up. Vitale delivered probably the cleanest check we've ever seen of all time, but the Flyers didn't appreciate it. Really curious behavior by Laviolette and the Flyers. Speaking of Vitale, what a game. He's exactly what the fourth line needs.
What was the catalyst for everything, though? BraydenSchenn's crosscheck on Crosby behind the play. Really foolish. But Schenn knew the game was out of reach. He probably also knew the penalty would be nullified because he had seen Sullivan's shot go in. He may be a marked man next Sunday if the 4/5 seeds are settled heading into that game.
Here's what happened a couple weeks ago. The Flyers live in some fantasy world where opponents aren't allowed to hit the big names on their roster.
No matter which way you cut it, the Pens and Flyers look to be on a collision course to meet in the first round of the playoffs. It will be a glorious best-of-7 series. People are saying they don't want to play Philly in the first round, using the guise of "we will be banged up if we make it to the second round." These people are apparently scared of the Flyers and.or have never watched playoff hockey before. Every team will be banged up going into the second round. Bring on the Flyers all day. That looming series is why we're all hockey fans, win or lose.
Recap after the jump:
Crosby sets up Sullivan. Knuckle puck. 1-0. Amazing pace.
Crosby set up Dupuis. Big save.
Pens still pressing. Malkin sets up Neal. 2-0.
Danny Briere gets jammed up and takes down Vitale for some reason. Pens PP. Five forwards is embarrassing. Killed. Killed their own momentum.
Hits were still flying everywhere. Flyers kept coming and made it 2-1. Giveaways led to that one.
Then Philly was jumping onto the PP. Pens kill it easily.
Talbot deflects a puck in early to tie it 2-2.
Then the game settled in. No crazy scoring chances. Just some back-and-forth stuff.
Pens had some power plays. And used 5 forwards for most of them. Not really worth talking about.
Pens had yet another PP at the end of the second. 5 forwards.
The Pens finally had Letang on the top PP unit. Killed. Then Kunitz went off. Then Philly scored on that PP. 3-2.
Yeah then they scored again. 4-2.
And Cooke went off. Pens kill it.
Then it was 5-2, and the lights turned off.
Sullivan scored a goal late. 5-3.Schenncrosschecked Crosby, showing true character.