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What an effort by the Flyers tonight. 1 minute into the game their best defenseman goes down with a puck to the face. The other 5 remaining defensemen played hard. They held the top offense around to 0 even strength goals until the costly mistake by 4th line winger Steve Downie costs the Flyers dearly. He had full control of the puck and fumbled it at the blue line, setting up a quick counter by the Pens for the lead goal with 10 minutes left. They added an empty net goal to ice the game 4-2.

Referee Comments
Overall I thought this pair of referees did an AWFUL job again. Why does every announcer and fan know that the instigator never gets called, yet the refs miss this routinely. Here is a listing of the top 5 bad calls from just tonight's game:
1. Knuble for cross checking - are you kidding me? The guy didn't even lose his balance on the hit.
2. Hatcher for hooking on Malkin. That was ridiculous as well. It was good straight up man on man defense. Let them play!
3. Briere getting elbowed or forarmed by Malkin. No call! This is not hockey, it is a cheap shot and should always be called.
4. Briere getting called for goalie interference when he was ridden directly into the goalie by the defender.
5. Ruttu for the same thing as Briere (without the defender) and not getting called until he flopped after Biron hits him for no call. Face it NHL - if the guy is guilty of diving then the other player did not commit a foul. Just call the dive and end all this soccer style flopping around the rink!

The NHL should be ashamed of the performance and consistency of referees in this years playoffs. They completely missed the blatant cheap shot by Osgood last night with the buttend attack. I would like to know what they actually are watching out there. On the replay of the Briere Goalie Interference, you can see the referee watching the Pens defender (Orpik I think) skate Briere into the goalie and then he points at Briere. Then at the other end Ruutu skates into Biron without an escort (and you can see the referee watching) but no call. Be consistent guys. Call it the same way all night long.

Game Notes
I along with everyone else in the world knows that the puck was in the net on Crosby's 2nd "goal". There was just no camera angle that could overturn the call made on the ice. That is a tough break because it was probably a goal for like 2/10 of a second total before Biron swept it from the net.

Richards and Carter played great again but I think that Stevens needs to breakup Prospal and Briere. They seem to have lost all chemistry together. I say to put Umberger with Briere and Hartnell and move Prospal to Richard's wing. Prospal looks horrible and very slow right now. Maybe with a pure shooter like Lupul and a blood and guts guy like Richards he can get going again. Umberger will create more space for Danny also.

The move to add Downie backfired. I was ok with him playing, but why is he out there with less than 10 minutes left in a tie game? Double shift one of the other guys in his place there. Or I thought that Stevens should have used Kapenen tonight in a defense position. His speed is just what the team needed back there. When Jones or Kuukonen were on tonight, they were able to skate the puck away, but once the pair ended with 2 of Hatcher, Smith or Modry, the pair was too slow and allowed the Pens alot of puck control. Also the use of only 5 caused too many minutes for Hatcher and Smith. They played hard, but slow guys look slower as they play too many minutes.

I am surprised to see first hand how dirty Malkin is. The forearm to the jaw of Briere just adds to the slew foot in the Rangers series. Not sure why he doesn't get called for this kind of stuff.

Someone from the Pens must work on Crosby's skates. He obviously has no edges on them, since he falls every time he is touched. Fight to stay on your skates more Sid! Having the reputation as a diver is bad for the game's image. You are talented and strong enough to draw penalties without falling constantly. Now Pens fans, don't start on the stuff that the guy doesn't dive. Take off the black and gold glasses and watch the game, he falls down maybe the easiest of any player in the league right now. That is not how the best player in the game should play. Yes I said he is the best player in the league. Watch a guy like Mike Richards. He won't go down unless he is dragged down. He draws plenty of penalties by playing this way. I know Sid is tough, he took the Hatcher high stick in his rookie season and came back without 3 teeth to score the game winner later. That is how the best player should perform, not flopping looking for powerplay chances all night long.

You have to give Therien credit for his line matchups in the first two games. He did a good job on negating Briere and mixing in the 4th line to free Malkin and/or Crosby for a favorable matchup on the following shift.

Overall the Pens deserved to win both games. They outplayed Philly and controlled the puck. The Flyers defense was better in game 2, but still spent way too much time in their own zone, chasing. The Flyers offense has to control the puck and cycle at the other end to take the pressure off more.
Filed Under:   Flyers   Penguins   Playoffs  
May 11, 2008 11:32 PM ET | Delete
I agree on almost all points.
May 12, 2008 12:39 AM ET | Delete
Let's be honest here...the officiating is NOT the reason why the series is as it stands. And Crosby is not falling all over the place on purpose. You guys can't let go of the "Crosby is a diver" thing no matter what anybody says. On the one call that I saw (I missed some of the third), Crosby was grabbed by someone's free hand...and they called a penalty. He didn't fall down...he kept his feet moving and was trying to play the puck. Unless I missed some terrible penalty call involving Crosby in the 3rd...and by looking at box score I did not, then complaining about Crosby is just silly. Crosby's skating/getting calls really had nothing to do with the outcome of the game.
May 12, 2008 12:40 AM ET | Delete
I thought Crosby played his best, most legitimate game of the playoffs tonight, actually.
May 12, 2008 12:53 AM ET | Delete
The call on Briere was ridiculous. Hatcher finally got called for gang-tackling players pre-lockout style... he deserves a lot of credit for his play, but that was a penalty. The reffing has been horrendous, that's for sure, it makes me not enjoy he games, but it's been bad both ways. Combine the refs with Greg Millen's color on CBC and I can barely stand to watch. Crosby and Richards were amazing tonight... unreal young talents. Loss of Coburn really hurt the Flyers.
May 12, 2008 1:41 AM ET | Delete
the refs were awful and the flyers have no more right to complain than the pens do. the non-call on malkin was bad but they made up with not calling the two runs on malkin by richards and downie. The disallowed crosby goal. i understand the argument on why it wasn't called a goal but since when do we throw common sense out of the window. it was clearly over, its like saying we can't see the line so no goal. oh well, pens still won. At least it wasn't as bad as the finnish goal against the US. wow how do you not catch a puck going threw the side of the net. there has been a couple other goals lately that have been blown calls. who is reviewing these? Mr. Magoo? a monkey maybe?
May 12, 2008 8:53 AM ET | Delete
acc - it's true. If you can't see the line then it is no goal. While everyone certainly believes it was in you cannot overturn a call on the ice without conclusive proof. The puck was flip flopping from flat to standing up and twisting all over as it entered the net. Was there ever a moment when a spot of white existed between the goal line and the puck? While we all believe it did, there's just no proof. For all we know it never fully crossed the line; the edge of the puck just touching the edge of the line. In a game where the puck as to be completely over the line for a goal to count you have to be able to conclusively and definitively show the puck across the line. It sucks for the Pens and their fans but that rule applies fairly for everyone across the board. Perhaps if they had a wide angle camera embedded in the goal line you'd get your definitive answer.
May 12, 2008 8:53 AM ET | Delete
Actually I disagree on the officiating not costing any games now. I thought that the call on Knuble was not a penalty. 4 Seconds later, Crosby scores. I thought the call on Hatcher for standing up Malkin was not a penalty, 9 seconds later, Hossa scores. Bad calls can and do cost games.
May 12, 2008 8:59 AM ET | Delete
On the reverse of this whole goal/no goal issue: had the official ON the ice called it a goal, the inconclusive replay would have resulted in the play standing as a goal because the evidence is just as inconclusive to overturn it. An inconclusive review cannot overrule the call on the ice. Well, in theory. We've all seen calls altered and poorly made and often wonder what the reviewers are looking at.
May 12, 2008 9:01 AM ET | Delete
Phigment, you are right, though. Bad officiating does cost teams games. I don't chalk this poorly called game as some conspiracy against Philadelphia but you are absolutely right in pointing out those two calls. Both were bad calls.
May 12, 2008 11:59 AM ET | Delete
No. There is no conspiracy as the calls are bad both ways. I think the use of two referees has led to this strange feeling as to how games are called. What is a penalty at one end is not a penalty at the other end. Or worse yet the guy close to the call decides it was ok and the guy 180 feet away calls it. Go back to one referee and get the consistency back in the game.As far as the goal issue. Why can there not be technology that shows when the puck is in the net regardless. I saw a tv story about 2 years back that had the posts light up once the entire puck in any configuration was across the line. I think that if the goal was called a goal on the ice last night it would have been upheld by replay. So why have replay if it could not overturn the ruling on the ice either way?
May 12, 2008 12:01 PM ET | Delete
For all we know it never fully crossed the line; the edge of the puck just touching the edge of the line. In a game where the puck as to be completely over the line for a goal to count you have to be able to conclusively and definitively show the puck across the line. It sucks for the Pens and their fans but that rule applies fairly for everyone across the board ---- while I AGREE about the rule...there is NO QUESTION the puck crossed the line...based on where the leading edge of the puck was, it would have had to suddenly become twices as large for it not to have been completely over the line! :)...but...that aside...I wonder how they would have called it if the ref had signaled GOAL instead of NO goal? Would they have overturned the call because they could not see any white space?
May 12, 2008 12:43 PM ET | Delete
Bad ref-ing goes both ways. Stop your Philly whining. Where was the whine in the Washington series when Philly got the benefit of most calls? C'mon, Flyers win when they play solid team defense; they lose when they don't. That's the consistent thing with the Flyers this year. Whining about poor ref-ing just comes across as princessy sour grapes -- and the Flyers are better than that!
May 12, 2008 2:32 PM ET | Delete
RD...it was stated bad calls go both ways...so are we whining...as any hockey fan you should not be happy with the way games are being called. Get off the whining...it's old...it was only being pointed out...and the bad calls are from both ends...and it's happening to all the teams in the playoffs...
May 12, 2008 3:51 PM ET | Delete
No whining is allowed in hockey. I say go back to one referee and that will increase the consistency of the calls in the game.
May 12, 2008 4:52 PM ET | Delete
one referee isn't a bad idea. that should definitely improve consistency. at least in theory.
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