Flyers Vs. Penguins ECQF Game 6: Philadelphia Eliminates Pittsburgh in Six With Dominating 5-1 Win
Turn out the lights, the party’s over.
Following the Philadelphia Flyers’ series clinching 5-1 win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the team did just that to the Stanley Cup hopes of the Pittsburgh Penguins, eliminating their rivals to the west in dominating fashion on Sunday afternoon. The Flyers are now the first team in the Eastern Conference to move on to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
This is the first time that the Flyers have defeated the ‘star-era’ Penguins in the playoffs, losing the previous two meetings with the team in the 2008 and 2009 postseason.
After opening the series with three consecutive come-from-behind wins, the Flyers needed a single win to eliminate the Penguins. Unfortunately, the team hit a rough patch in Games 4 and 5, which caused many to believe that the Penguins could come back in the series, making Game 6 a ‘must-win’ in the minds of some of the players.
The most vocal of which to express this opinion was Flyers superstar, Claude Giroux who stated that the team needed to end the series on Sunday.
Following the opening puck drop, Giroux immediately put his money, where his mouth was. Only seconds after the game began, Giroux leveled Penguins captain, Sidney Crosby with a punishing open-ice hit. It undoubtedly set the tone for the rest of the game.
However, he was just getting started.
Almost immediately after the play, Giroux gave the Flyers the lead just 32 seconds into the game when he beat Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury up high with a blistering wrist shot. The goal was Giroux’s sixth of the series and his 12th point over that span, which tied Danny Briere for the franchise record for points in a single series (Briere registered 12 points in the Stanley Cup Final in 2010).
Thirteen minutes later, Giroux could call the record his own.
With the Flyers on their first power play of the game, Scott Hartnell increased the lead to two when he jammed home a loose puck in between Fleury’s legs (Giroux recorded the primary assist on the play).
In the second period, the Flyers increased their lead to three with a contribution from an unlikely source. Erik Gustafsson scored his first career playoff point when he skated up the length of the ice and beat Fleury with a wrist shot from near the blue line (Giroux also recorded an assist on this play, cementing his series total at 14).
For many, the goal appeared to be the final nail in the Penguins coffin. However, the team wasn’t finished yet. Three minutes later, Evgeni Malkin cut the Flyers lead back down to two when he scored on the Penguins second power play of the game.
With the Penguins seemingly back in the contest, Daniel Briere killed their hopes less than a minute later when he registered the Flyers fourth goal of the game. The play once again seemed to be a soft goal on the behalf of Fleury.
After many had praised the goaltender for ‘finding his form,’ in Game 5, the man they call ‘Flower’ certainly wilted under the pressure of the Flyers swarming offense and put together another below-average performance, which played a prominent role in the end of his team’s season.
On the other end of the ice, Ilya Bryzgalov and his defensive unit put together a strong collective effort. The defense limited the Penguins chances and allowed Bryzgalov to clearly see shots. The result allowed Bryz to just play positional goal, which he did with ease. He finished the game with 30 saves on 31 shots faced.
Following an up-and-down series, the Flyers managed to finish out Game 6 with their most complete effort and displayed the capabilities of the team.
Considering they are the five seed, there are too many variables at play to determine who the Flyers second round opponent will be, but the only thing you need to know is that they will be there.
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