It’s us, that playoff-bound team 300 miles away. Can you hear us from all the way up here? We know it’s a long way down to where you guys are hanging out, so let us know if you need us to speak up. Can you believe it’s already been nearly 5 years since you got the best player on the planet?
It’s crazy to think that Crosby would let Giroux carry that baton, considering Giroux couldn’t even carry Crosby’s jock. It must be tough for you, what with having such a star and watching a scrub team like the Penguins win more playoff games last season alone than Flyers have won in the past 6 seasons combined. Now’s probably a bad time to bring up that Conn Smythe thing too, eh? It’s truly remarkable that come April, you’ll once again be on the outside looking in, all things considered.
But we’ll let you pretend; pretend your franchise is worth a damn. Pretend that last night mattered. Pretend you’re good and successful because of your past. Pretend it’s 1975. Or 1997. Or 2010. Or 2012. We know how much you like to pretend, after all.
As for us? Well, we’ll see you again in 10 days, then we’ll leave you again for 7 or so months. Hold on to last night’s meaningless 2 points as tight as you can. Hold them close. They might be the difference between finishing 9th or 10th. But more importantly, try try try not to think about us too much until October. We’ve got bigger and better things to worry about than the red-headed, bastard step-child from across the state. But because we’re so nice over on the western side, we’ll even spot you a couple extra months to prepare for 2017-18.
Good luck. You’ll need it.
Mark Streit missed the final two periods against Calgary Monday, but was healthy enough to return to the lineup. Last time these two teams met, he was on the other side of things, wearing the same failing Stadium Series threads the Flyers wore last night. Sad!
(Cullen, too, returned to the lineup.)
Despite being a tight checking first period, the Penguins didn’t do themselves any favors by putting the Flyers on the powerplay twice in the first 13+ minutes. First, Crosby went off for interference 6:38 into the game. Then, Schultz went off for tripping Nick Cousins about 7 minutes later. Historically, the Flyers powerplay has caused crippling PTSD to anyone associated with the Penguins, but the Pens were able to kill off both chances. Somewhere in between the two 5v4s, Steve Mason, historically the goaltending equivalent of a Cleveland Steamer, made some big time saves on Malkin.
Note: Steve Mason’s third biggest accomplishment was winning a fan voted bracket for a glove save on Craig fucking Adams. Literally the equivalent of building a statue for a movie character.
Pens would shit themselves on their own powerplay with 3:12 remaining when dirtball Brayden Schenn went off for slashing nice guy Phil. Philly had some shorthanded chance, held the Pens to a grand total of 0 shots with the man advantage, and got some momentum going from the kill. It led to Murray making a save that probably would have been Mason’s second biggest accomplishment.
But just a minute into the period, a series of turnovers put the Pens down a goal. First, Cole needlessly turned it over in the neutral zone. Then Schultz turned the dump in over instead of skating it out. Dale Weise, proving that people still name their children born after 1955 Dale, got his stick on a Schenn shot for Couturier to roof the rebound. 1-0
Shortly after, both teams would trade off powerplay opportunities. Only one team would reap the rewards. 2-0
Hell of a keep-in from Provorov to set up the whole sequence. It got 3 of the 4 penalty killers out of position and chasing the puck so the posterboy for statistical regression could get a clean shot to the cage. No better in the business in front of the net than Simmonds.
Two giveaways. Two goals. 4-0
Make it 66. Game.
- Pens looked like a team playing a fifth straight road game in their 4th different time zone. Taking 7 points out of a possible 10 on this road trip is nice.
- Hainsey injured in the 2nd. Did not return for the 3rd
- Murray brilliant yet again. Kept the Pens within striking distance all game long until the fatigue really started to set in in the 3rd.
- If you’re one of those people (I believe they’re called “optimists”) there’s some positive to take away from this. At 5v5, the score adjusted possession numbers tilted a bit in the Pens favor. The Sheary-Crosby-Guentzel line controlled 55% of the shot attempts while on the ice and Kunitz-Malkin-Kessel managed to go from ~38% to 48%. They just didn’t get enough from the high danger areas.
Pens head back home for a couple of days to host the Devils on St. Patty’s Day and the Panthers on Sunday before hitting the road again. Go Pens.