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.
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.
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.