Big Lead Sports Bar




I'm still trying to figure out what was the more surprising development from last night's local sports action: the decisive fashion in which the Penguins disposed of the Philadelphia Flyers or the fact that more than 20,000 showed up for a weeknight Pirate game opposite the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

I'll go with the Pirate attendance, only because it could be at least a little expected that the Flyers would revert to an undisciplined style of hockey in an emotional Game One at Mellon Arena. The Flyers' "Goon Mentality", as Herb Brooks called it, would rear its ugly head often, most prominently at the end of the game, when 21 minutes of penalties were levied against Philadelphia in the last 20 seconds. But unlike their counterparts from the other side of the state, the Penguins played smart, took advantage of opportunities, and left the building with a 1-0 series lead.

Nothing could illustrate the previous sentence better than the first five minutes of the game, in which the Pens quickly turned a Flyers penalty into a Sidney Crosby power-play goal and a 1-0 lead. After that, it was all Penguins, piling on in the next 55 minutes with goals from Tyler Kennedy, Evgeni Malkin, and Mark Eaton, who was all over the place, in a good way.

Beyond the usual Crosby/Malkin praise, Jordan Staal was singled out as the game's top star, assisting on Kennedy's goal, winning 11 of 14 faceoffs, and playing dominant defense. Marc-Andre Fleury was solid in goal, certainly better than the shaky Martin Biron; and Matt Cooke played the Jarkko Ruutu agitator role perfectly, although he did have a nose full of cotton and blood for his efforts.

The Pens eventually gave into the temptation of fighting a Flyer when Bill Guerin took on Braydon Coburn with seven seconds left in the game, but by that point, the game was in hand and the action was more of a "we're not gonna take it" message. Of course, the Flyers would quickly show that they would use every last second to take a cheap shot at anyone dressed in Penguins gear, as Daniel Carcillo hit Max Talbot in the back of the head in the closing seconds. You stay classy, Philadelphia. (Sidenote: Bob Errey hit one out of the park in a discussion with Paul Steigerwald about Carcillo late in the third. Steigy: "Wayne Gretzky once thought Carcillo could score 30 goals a season." Errey: "In what league?")

Game over, and congrats to Disco Dan Bylsma on his first playoff win. See you Friday night at 7 PM. A win send the Flyers back home to nurse their wounds and search for answers on how to get out of a 2-0 hole against the reigning conference champions. Good luck with that.

*Oh yeah, and those 20,000 Pirate fans left disappointed anyway. 4-1 Astros. Mike Hampton was in 1999 form. Adam LaRoche seems to have figured out his April blues, but now we can worry about his brother, who's 0-for-the season.

Fleury sharp; Kennedy gets winner as Penguins rocket past Flyers in opener [PG]
Flyers-Penguins Boxscore [ESPN]

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BurressWithButterflywings said...

That was a great way to start a series, we are just going to have to convert more on the PP seeing that they are going to be so stupid and take penalties like that.

I am going to start calling Andy LaRoche "Bluto" for his .000

Anonymous said...

I'm constantly amazed by the play of Scotty Hartnell. He's actually a very good player, but it's mind boggling that he resorts to dirty plays so often. That's always reserved for the guys who can't play, usually because there's no subtraction of skill when they end up in the box. Sixteen minutes in the box and 18 minutes on the ice. I'll take that every game as long as he's not hurting anyone.

Rege said...

That win is extra sweet for me. Living in Harrisburg, Flyer fans all over my office are whining like kids...

Penn.DOT(DadOf2) said...

What a dominating win for the Pens. It looked like Philly just showed up for a fight, instead of a hockey game. I agree with earlier posts, lets hurt them on the PP a little more. Overall, a good start to the next 2 months of hockey.

As for the Pirates, the up and down continues. Hope remains alive that they can find a way to string together a few wins.

Steve said...

Andy LaRoche's career batting averages:

2007 - .226 (LA)
2008 - .203 (LA)
2008 - .152 (Pitt)
2009 - .000 (Pitt)

Can someone tell me why my left nut couldn't get a spot at 3rd base with this team?

As for the Flyers; I actually started to forget why I hated these pricks so much in the past and they kindly reminded me last nite. I hope at least one of them ends up in a pool of his own blood and tears before this series is over.

Real McCoy said...

I am going to start calling Andy LaRoche "Bluto" for his .000

That is beautiful. Although Andy is not fat, his play suggests he may be either drunk or stupid.

I wonder what the MLB record is for starting a season hitless.

Steve said...

"I wonder what the MLB record is for starting a season hitless."

I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if his brother set it.