Better With Popcorn

Role Reversal: Flyers in Penguins' Heads


The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins faced off in a playoff game. One team lost its cool and went over the line. They seemed to come close but never had enough to get over the hump.


One team looked like it was trying to exercise its demons and yet seemed so far from actually doing it.


Normally, that team is in black and orange. However, this time the orange has been swapped out for gold.


Sunday’s 8-4 game three win for Philadelphia felt like it was played in an opposite universe. Not long ago, Daniel Carcillo was running amok and Max Talbot was shushing the Wells Fargo Center crowd.


It seems like yesterday when Captain Mike Richards was losing his cool and letting the Pittsburgh superstars get under his skin. With those teams, it seemed like they’d never get over the brink against the Penguins.


Sunday, they were far beyond the brink.


Kris Letang shushed the crowd, and the Flyers kept coming. In fact, they were partially led by Talbot himself. Captain Sidney Crosby lost his cool a couple of times against the Flyers and seemed to be initiating the war on the ice. Pittsburgh took an early lead, fell behind, battled back, and never seemed like they would get closer than a goal.


They didn’t.


Undisciplined penalties, once a hallmark of the team with the flying P crest on its sweater, instead belonged to Former Flyer Arron Asham and Chris Kunitz. Some things close to, if not completely, goonish were done by the western Pennsylvania team.




What happened, and how did the skate end up on the other foot?


Whatever it was, or is, the Flyers end up with the wins and the Penguins end up scrambling for answers. Philadelphia’s goaltending has been below average for the most part, as per the usual.


Marc Andre Fleury has been even worse.


Pittsburgh has the looks of a team chasing a ghost. And the ghost looks content on just playing its game.


It’s safe to say that these aren’t your Flyers of a year ago, or two years ago, or three. These Flyers have no obsession with Pittsburgh, no worries of being outdone. Those Flyers wouldn’t have beaten Pittsburgh in the first three games of this crazy series.


Whenever Pittsburgh used to land one in the city of Rocky’s jaw, the Flyers would flail back. This group of kids just keeps standing in the rink and lands a few of their own. 


It’s unfathomable and upside-down. Somehow, some way, Philadelphia has remained cool, calm, and collected - three things the Flyers are rarely known for - and skated off winners.


With a commanding 3-0 lead in the series, it seems like these Flyers will find a way to beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs.


Not long ago, that seemed far from possible. Not long ago, Crosby, Malkin, and the other ghosts drove the Flyers crazy.


Pittsburgh was in their heads.


This year, it’s the Flyers who are taking up residency.






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