Top 2012: Flyers, Penguins put on series for the ages
It was the series nobody wanted to end.
In a postseason where top seeds fizzled out early and just four series went the distance, the Flyers and Penguins put on an unforgettable first-round performance featuring more subplots than General Hospital.
The numbers alone tell a story -- six games, 56 goals, 309 penalty minutes -- yet they don’t even begin to explain what transpired.
Game 1: Philly erased a 3-0 deficit (in Pittsburgh!) to win in overtime. That, combined with the Flyers’ regular season success at CONSOL Energy Center, prompted Philadelphia owner Ed Snider to remark that his team was in Pittsburgh’s head.
Game 2: 19-year-old Sean Couturier scored a hat trick (youngest playoff hatty since Ted Kennedy in 1945) and the Flyers erased deficits of 2-0, 3-1, 4-3 and 5-4 to take a two-game series lead.
Oh yeah, the two teams combined for 13 goals.
Game 3: Frustrations boiled over as the two sides amassed 158 penalty minutes, 38 penalties, four ejections, four 10-minute misconducts and three fights (one of which was Claude Giroux vs. Sidney Crosby.)
Arron Asham, James Neal and Craig Adams were suspended for their actions and Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma drew a $10,000 fine.
Oh yeah, the two teams combined for 12 goals.
Game 4: Down 3-0 in in the series and shorthanded due to suspensions, Pittsburgh annihilated Philly 10-3 (13 goals total, for you mathletes.)
Jordan Staal scored a hat trick and 14 of Pittsburgh’s 19 skaters recorded at least a point as the Penguins scored 10 goals in a game for the first time since 1989.
“This is like the weirdest series I have ever seen,” Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said after the game.
(Fun fact: Pittsburgh and Philly scored 45 times through Games 1-4, an NHL record for the most goals in the opening four games of a seven-game series.)
Game 5: Finally, some goaltending! Marc Andre Fleury, who’d been ventilated for 20 goals on 105 shots in the first four games, stopped 24 of 26 in a huge win, putting the Penguins right back in the series.
Game 6: This happened.
Then, seconds later, this happened:
That sequence of events pushed Giroux into superstar status (assuming he wasn’t already there) and into direct competition with Crosby.
So, having re-lived all that...how much are you missing hockey right now? Sorry. Happy holidays tho!