Reliving the 2012 playoffs: GAME ONE

With a lockout looming, no other course to take other than to torture ourselves.

Recap originally posted Thursday, April 12th.



Brutal. Via @broadstreethockey
One of the best parts about the regular season was the lack of historic meltdowns.  Nothing sticks out, at least in our heads, in terms of the Pens blowing a huge lead and going on to lose the game.  That all went out the window in the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Penguins blew Game One in dramatic fashion after storming out to a 3-0 lead. Nothing worse than the post-game digestion of this.  Don't even want to know the last time the Pens blew a 3-goal lead in a playoff game.
This is pretty much the worst way the series could've started for the Pens.  For the remainder of this series, no deficit will seem too large for Philly and no lead will feel too safe for the Pens.  This Flyers comeback reminded us of the Pens' Game One comeback against the Rangers in 2008.
The Pens fought back from a 3-0 deficit and set the tone for the entire series. Also, in 1991-92, the Pens set the tone in the SCF by storming back from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits against the Hawks in Game One.
But back to 2012.  The irrationality and overreaction that comes with this loss is fine. We all say we understand what the playoffs are about, but we really don't until something like this happens. Seeing the Pens jump out to that 3-0 lead tricked us. Seeing the Flyers storm back then reminded us how difficult it is to invest yourself in the NHL playoffs. Wake-up call we suppose.
Pens are in a hole, but the plan is this: Win Friday, split in Philly, and buckle down for a Game 5.
Until then…
Recap after Read More.  Lots of stuff.
CEC was electric. Big-time MAF chants open up the game.
Flyers were trying to weather the storm early.  Pens were hitting everything.

The Gutless Line got shit going, forcing the Flyers to ice the puck. Disco throws Crosby's unit out there.  Crosby goal.

Bryz was rattled.
Next shift, there was some bizarre whistle.  Hartnell getting jammed up.
Such a villain.

Pens just wouldn't stop coming.  Every line was getting pressure.  The Flyers finally got some puck movement going and got too excited.  The result was Staal and Kennedy getting a staggered 2-on-1.  Great pass by Staal.  Great goal by TK.  2-0.

Laviolette had to use his timeout.  

Probably should have used it before the opening faceoff to get a haircut.

Game had a more balanced flow after that.  And that is when the first cracks in the Pens' D began to surface.

Paul Martin leads the rush on a play:
As soon as Martin pinches like this, his defensive partner's sphincter should squeeze shut.  In this instance, Martin's partner was Michalek.
It wasn't a bad play by Martin…until he lost the puck. The D chips it away, and it goes right to a Flyer skating behind Dupes, Brayden Schenn. Schenn gets it, looks up, and sees a wide-open Double J:
What in the world was Michalek thinking here? One of many, many mistakes by the Pens D. The Flyers' quick counterattack on this was terrifying.
MAF made that save on Double J. But there is only so much he can do.

Malkin tried to some unrealistic move. Flyers kept him in check big-time.
MAF had to answer a couple more bells after that.  Briere had a golden chance after another turnover. 

Some fringe holding calls on both sides were being let go.

The Pens could've used another goal before the intermission, and they got it.  Crosby had a beautiful pass off the glass to Sullivan.  Who does that.  Sully was able to knock it out front.  Dupuis bats it in. 3-0.

Couldn't have asked for a better first period.
Orpik lifted Double J's stick somewhere to save a goal.

Thing you will remember about this period:

Pens played their best period in a long time. Dominated every aspect of the game.

The Flyers were a different team in the second. Whatever Lavvy told them during intermission, it worked.  What sucked was that the Pens were a completely different team, as well.

Giroux went off for boarding Orpik.  Pens PP couldn't really get a chance.  Killed. A goal on that powerplay probably buries the Flyers. Instead, the kill gave them some more juice.

Then the Flyers had a couple quick chances.  Big save by MAF on a Hartnell one-timer.  The Flyers were coming.

Danny Briere gets away with being offside and is able to put one over MAF.  3-1.

-thanks to Cole R.-



Terrible blown call, but if you think that is the reason the Pens lost, God help everyone.

Game dipped into a lull for a bit.  Then Zac Rinaldo took an idiotic penalty behind the play.  Pens got some better chances on that PP.  Killed again.

Game dipped back into some back-and-forth stuff.  Biggest moment came when Asham led a 2-on-1 with Adams.  He takes the shot there 9 times out of 10.  He passed it that time.

Bryzgalov was coming up with huge stops all period.  No highlight-reel shit.  Just saves he had to make.


Thing you will remember about this period:

Flyers stole the momentum back.

The third didn't feel right from the onset. You had to figure the Flyers were going to get a powerplay at some point.

But instead it was Double J going off for holding up Crosby.  Crosby definitely helped get the call.  Jagr's wheelchair isn't fast enough to keep up with Crosby, though. Again the powerplay did nothing.  It haunted the Pens last year against Tampa Bay.  The seed of doubt has already been planted this spring.

Staal hit the post at some point.

Gif via @BroadstreetHockey

MAF had to make a huge save on Lilja.
Briere went offside, and CONSOL gave out a mock cheer.

Then Briere decided it was time to score again.

WTF 3-2.

Then Orpik leveled Briere behind the Pens' net. But it was just a taaaaad late.  He went off for interference.  PP for Flyers.

They didn't fool around. Goal. Tied. 3-3. Brayden Schenn with a beauty.

Pens' D lost all confidence. Paul Martin turned in the worst performance by a man at his job since that Italian boat captain.

Things you'll remember about this period:

You could feel the game slipping away. Pens mounted almost no offensive momentum.

Curious move to not start Malkin or Crosby in OT. Strange. Have to ask yourself, would 66 have ever not started an OT? Flyers started their top line. Pens started Tyler Kennedy.

Flyers made it quick at least. Voracekville. 4-3.

stunnnneeeddd jeeeessus

Guy in Mario patch jersey is in a dark, dark place.

No clue what Letang was doing.



  • Pens didn't load up with Crosby and Malkin at all.
  • Crosby, Kunitz, Neal, Malkin — One has to sit so Sullivan can play the point with Letang.  With the current PP setup, it doesn't even look like any of the players know where they should be.
  • Ridin' and dyin' with MAF.  Big Game 2 coming up obviously.
  • The powerplay was the death of the Penguins' post season last year. It is off to a flaccid 0 for 3.
  • Again, if you are in the "blame the refs" crowd, the Pens had three powerplays before the Flyers had their only one.
  • Asham may have gotten hurt.
  • Do it all over again on Friday.
  • Pics from Getty city.